FMA Communications Inc.

Dan Davis

Editor in Chief
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107

Shop Management | Blog Posts

Fabricating next-generation workers

April 11, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Many fabricators are sitting on the sidelines when it comes to training their current stable of employees and creating a new generation of workers. In the end, that's bad for business.

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Laser Cutting | Articles

Life with a fiber laser

April 7, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Accrotool Inc., New Kensington, Pa., had a 1,500-W laser cutting machine from 2001 that needed to be replaced. A fiber laser was deemed the perfect choice for the shop’s cutting chores. However, to be successful, the company’s management discovered that a new mindset was needed to accompany the new technology.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Political roadblocks

April 4, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Business leaders don't like unpredictability because it makes planning difficult. That's why they increasingly are calling on Congressional leaders to work together to chart some sort of course for the future.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The need for speed to market

March 28, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Turnaround time matters for the fabrication shops of NASCAR teams as they try to get the latest mechanical improvements to the car down to the track as soon as possible. That "need for speed" is something all metal fabricators can identify with. Often new manufacturing technology can provide that much-needed boost.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The benefits of off-site training

March 20, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Allowing employees to go off-site for training purposes improves the learning environment and shows everyone that the company wants to invest in the individual.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Paying a heavy price for purchasing only on price

March 13, 2014 | By Dan Davis

As fabricators become more selective about jobs they accept, OEMs need to rethink purchasing procedures.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Better organization of assembly templates

March 3, 2014 | By Dan Davis

KSM Industries Inc., Germantown, Wis., found success building rack mounts for power equipment, but as the business grew, the number of templates did as well. The company needed a better organization plan other than putting the templates on pallets, hoping to find them when they were needed again.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

As unionization shrinks, so does the pipeline for talent

February 21, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Last week autoworkers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted down a proposal to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Fifty-three percent said “no” to the idea, even though Volkswagen did not actively oppose or support the vote. While the automaker may have tried...

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Not your typical supply chain assistance

February 14, 2014 | By Dan Davis

David Tilstone, president, National Tooling & Machining Association, is pretty certain precision metalworking shops across the U.S. need help. According to a 2013 NTMA survey of its membership, just over 70 percent have a job opening that they are having difficulty filling. At least a third have...

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Realistic talk about jobs

February 6, 2014 | By Dan Davis

During President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in late January, he made a point to focus on the development of more advanced manufacturing institutes, also called “hubs.” The idea is that these hubs would focus on advanced manufacturing technologies and possible commercialization...

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

What gets you excited about metal fabricating

February 3, 2014 | By Dan Davis

As I was watching the weather last night, the meteorologist mentioned that Chicagoland had already experienced the third most subzero-degree days in one winter, according to records that go back more than 140 years. That’s pretty depressing, considering that it’s not even February. So as the...

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precision sheet metal

Shop Management | Articles

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014 | By Dan Davis

How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Charles Caristan

Shop Management | Articles

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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truck bodies

Shop Management | Articles

Controlling its own fabricating future

January 27, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Altec, a manufacturer of truck bodies and related products, tried the outsourcing route me to stay on top of expanding fabricating jobs, but the headaches were too great to maintain such an arrangement. The company decided to take metal fabricating back in-house by setting up a new facility in Burnsville, N.C., and with the addition of some key equipment, it hasn't looked back.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

More than button-pushers wanted

January 24, 2014 | By Dan Davis

As metal fabricators claim they are unable to find young workers interested in working in metal fabricating for entry-level wages, the machine tool makers have responded by trying to take the “shop knowledge” that is commonly locked in the head of a few experienced shop floor workers and moving...

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