FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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

Asking all the right questions

April 21, 2014

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Texas is known for two or three commodities, namely cattle, oil, and barbecue, but the state has plenty of manufacturing, too. It’s a good environment for a fabricator and an entrepreneur with the imagination to come up with new products and build prototypes, regardless of the industry or market. Devin Gerland, found of JackRabbit Manufacturing, is one such entrepreneur.

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Vehicle seat manufacturer rolls with the changes

April 14, 2014

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Freedman Seating Co., founded in the late 19th century, originally manufactured seat cushions for horse-drawn buggies. As gasoline engines displaced animal power, Freedman adapted and today uses the latest technologies, such as CNC tube benders and a laser cutting machine, to stay current with trends in transportation.

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Roll former cuts prototyping time

March 31, 2014

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Prototyping a roll formed profile doesn’t have to be done in the conventional way, with hardened tooling and short runs made from long strips of material (or coil). American Roll Form uses butt-welded strips of steel, fed into a roll former outfitted with soft tooling, to prototype roll-formed sections. It uses a few other strategies that substantially reduce prototyping cost and lead-time.

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Maximizing service, minimizing risk

March 14, 2014

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O’Neal Steel, founded in 1921 in Birmingham, Ala., originally was a fabrication shop, and the founder later added metal distribution to the company’s repertoire. Over the decades the business model changed, fabrication disappearing altogether at one point. Eventually the company resurrected its fabrication arm, but one thing has been a constant: The company’s small-town, close-knit, neighborly culture.

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Machine bends and cuts tube in one process

March 14, 2014

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A typical bending machine process is feed-bend-feed-bend, or maybe feed-bend-feed- rotate-bend, until the feedstock is used up. However, this isn’t the end of the fabrication process, which includes a subsequent cutting step. The cut often means waste, especially for short-length parts, and the problem is compounded when the volume is high or the material is expensive. Read about how one bender manufacturer changed the process to feed-bend-separate-feed-rotate-bend-separate.

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TUBE expo exhibitors agree that signs bode well for the coming year

March 3, 2014

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It’s no secret that Düsseldorf’s biennial tube and pipe expo, TUBE®, is a good way to gauge the industry’s health. The expo is 3 percent larger in 2014 than it was in 2012, and the exhibitors interviewed for this article expect good things from the industry in the coming year. These in-depth perspectives also revealed that upheaval in the U.S. energy industry is leading to changes that will have repercussions for decades.

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Lean manufacturing

Where lean manufacturing meets quality control

February 24, 2014

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Lean manufacturing may have once been little more than a buzzword, but it is way of life for many in the metal fabrication industry. Meanwhile, the pursuit of quality is as critical as ever. Conference facilitators and participants discussed how these can go hand-in-hand at the 2013 EDTR roundtable event, Lean Manufacturing and the Quality Imperative, Sept. 15-17, Silverton, Ore. The outcome was a series of stories and tips that any fabricator could use to run leaner and maintain a quality product.

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Inclusions caught with PAUT

February 17, 2014

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Tube and pipe producers are familiar with ultrasonic testing (UT) which, as the name implies, uses high-frequency sound waves to find discontinuities in tube and pipe. While conventional UT is effective for testing raw materials with simple shapes—round tubing, rectangular billet, and rectangular plate—complex shapes such as castings and assemblies need something more. Phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) gets the job done.

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St. Valentine’s Day, then and now

February 14, 2014

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February 14 is here again, and although the origin of St. Valentine’s Day is a little weird, it’s hard not to miss the staying power of this celebration. Originally a pagan fertility rite celebrated in ancient Rome, Lupercalia was later co-opted by the church as Christianity took hold, and... Continue Reading

The emergence of Saudi America

February 10, 2014

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Although oil extraction around the world has grown by 50 percent in the last 30 years, it was basically flat in North America until 2008. Higher oil prices have made tar sands oil economically viable, and new extraction techniques have been a boon to U.S. producers. Interviews with a variety of vendors in the forming and fabricating industry reveal the many trends that are driving changes in the equipment and supplies used in the petroleum business.

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Roy Mackey

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014

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Metal sculptor Roy Mackey took a long, circuitous route to become an artist, and occupies an unusual niche. With no specific art classes or vocational education in his background, he learned metalworking bit by bit, and spends quite a bit of his time making sculptures that are realistic, but too unusual to represent real objects.

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small diameter tubing

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014

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After 60 years in business, Superior Tube Co. Inc. found itself at a crossroads. The recession of the early 2000s had taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing, and many companies feared the growing threat from newly industrializing, low-wage countries. The company’s management came up with a strategy to update its manufacturing practices, upgrade its equipment, and prepare its workforce for the challenges associated with global competition. The result, compressing about 15 years’ worth of changes into just two years, has propelled the company forward and earned it the 2014 TPJ Industry Award.

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Technology Spotlight: Quick-release hose clamp seals 360 degrees

January 13, 2014

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Need to connect a flexible hose to a rigid metal nipple? The worm gear clamp has been the standard for decades, but they aren’t ideal for the soft, thin-wall tubing used in aircraft environmental control systems.

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Stainless steel gates blend security, aesthetics - TheFabricator.com

Stainless steel gates blend security, aesthetics

December 6, 2013

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When a well-known architect was hired to design student housing complex at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), she teamed up with Lisa Schirmer and a fabricator to develop a fence-and-gate system that would look good, invoke local flora, and provide security for the residents. The result is part fence, part art.

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Protesting the minimum wage

December 5, 2013

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Strikes and protests rippled across the U.S. on Dec. 5 as many minimum-wage workers demanded higher pay. Close on the heels of demonstrations by Wal-Mart workers on Black Friday, the protests center on the viability of making a living at $7.25 per hour. A common demand is a big jump in the minimum... Continue Reading