FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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

A new spin on metal forming

April 10, 2007

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Glenn Metalcraft Inc. started out as a tool and die shop in Minneapolis in 1947. Today it is an $8-million-a-year contract manufacturer that has created a niche in spin-forming circular and conical components up to 0.750 in. thick. Glenn has found a high-volume niche, producing wheels, brakes, and other components, using a process that traditionally was used almost exclusively for prototype and low-volume work.

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Image of tube cutting laser

Turning a machine shop into a fabrication shop

April 10, 2007

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Senior Editor Eric Lundin traces the history of a machine shop-turned-fabricator. Founded in 1984 as Target Boring, the company changed from a machining shop to a fabrication shop when, in 1994, it purchased its first sheet and plate laser cutting system. Now named Target Laser & Machining Inc., it boasts three lasers for sheet and plate (two 2-D machines and one multiaxis machine) and one for cutting tube.

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Miller plasma cutter

From Pens to Plasma Cutters

January 9, 2007

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What happens when an editor gets to weld? Let Senior Editor Eric Lundin share his first-hand experience. Visitors could try their hands at a variety of welding and cutting processes at Miller Electric's semitruck parked in Hall B at the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Atlanta , Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

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Bauer check fixtures

Think you have a challenging bend? Bring it on

December 12, 2006

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Take a look at Bauer Welding & Metal Fabricators Inc., a company that thrives on difficult bending applications. It stays away from the hypercompetitive portion of the bending industry—4D to 5D bends in medium-wall-thickness tubing, applications that don't require a mandrel—and gravitates toward tight-radius or variable-radius bends in several planes, parts that require several processes such as bending and flaring, and components that needed flattening and welding.

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The future of energy: stability or volatility?

November 7, 2006

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Senior Editor Eric Lundin looks at changes in supply and demand for energy, and how they have affected the prices for crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity. He also digests a few predictions to see what fabricators can expect for future energy prices.

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VICON Elite Plasma

Better cuts with plasma

November 7, 2006

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One job led Keller & Son Industrial Contractors Inc., Spartanburg, S.C., to buy a new plasma cutting table in 2001. The need for extra capacity required it to purchase another in 2006. Now the company feels it is in the perfect position to take on all types of metal fabricating jobs.

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Aluminum pipe pioneer streamlines tube mill welding

October 10, 2006

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When Hastings Irrigation Pipe Co., a manufacturer of aluminum pipe, needed to replace its decades-old welding power supplies, it looked for units that could weld a variety of thicknesses at fast welding speeds. What it found were power supplies that allowed the company to run its mills faster and save money in several ways.

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Long loads, narrow aisles, easy access

September 12, 2006

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Since starting with just one warehouse in 1989, J G Kelly Supplies has grown along with Ireland's booming construction industry. Limiting factors such as the warehouse's doorway width, narrow aisles, and 90-degree turns meant the company had to rely on manual labor to handle the long, cumbersome items in its inventory. A standard forklift was out of the question. The company eventually purchased a multidirectional side-loading lift truck from Combilift for moving inventory in this challenging environment.

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Tube and pipe bending trends

July 11, 2006

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Interviews with several tube-bending equipment-makers reveal that tube bending is becoming more complex every day, for a number of reasons. Manufacturers try to decrease material usage and go to stronger, difficult-to-bend materials with thinner walls; many manufactured items are smaller than ever before; and bends have to be smoother, especially in exhaust systems. Meanwhile, fabricators are split into two camps: High-volume OEM that are increasingly dependent on advanced controls and flexible workcells, and job shops that still get by on less sophisticated, manually operated equipment.

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Fabricator puts the brake on bend inconsistency

June 13, 2006

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Well-known for agriculture, Nebraska also has a strong manufacturing base. OEMs include Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Eaton, Thermo King, Claas, and Case New Holland. Standard Iron & Wire, a Minnesota-based fabricator, opened a manufacturing facility in Grand Island, Neb., to take advantage of this fertile manufacturing environment. Chief among its concerns was finding a press brake that would produce accurate, consistent parts. It purchased two LVD press brakes with the company's adaptive bending technology.

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Warm forming titanium parts

June 13, 2006

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Senior Editor Eric Lundin visited a fabricator that specializes in aircraft components, M-DOT Aerospace, to learn how the company uses warm-forming of titanium to manufacture a cradle for an auxiliary power unit, or APU. Understanding titanium's characteristics is the key in forming this durable, corrosion-resistant, tough material.

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Not a one-stock shop

June 13, 2006

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After years of working in fabricating and machining, Shawn McFadden struck out on his own to start a fabrication shop, which later evolved into a custom motorcycle shop. He doesn’t use the latest CNC machines with digital readouts and other state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. He uses manually controlled machines and ingenuity.

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Stamper, prototyper, assembler, or fabricator

April 11, 2006

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Newspapers and business magazines are filled with stories about offshoring, layoffs, and plant closings. Quasar Industries, a prototyping and low-volume production shop near Detroit, has bucked this trend and recently increased its manufacturing capability when it purchased a new building. A diverse fabricator, the company provides tooling development and also does stamping, laser cutting and welding, robotic welding, tube fabrication, and machining. The company's client base includes the automotive, appliance, and aerospace industries, among others. But all the equipment it has and processes it performs don't make it successful. Its success is a result of its employees' expertise and its corporate culture.

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Selecting equipment for maximum productivity

February 7, 2006

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H. Meeuwsen B.V., a fabricator in Yerseke, Netherlands, found that purchasing a laser that could handle parts up to 12 m long greatly enhanced its capabilities. It augmented this purchase with a tandem press brake. One side of the brake has an 8-m capacity; the other has a 4-m capacity. This gives the company the ability to bend 12-m parts, if necessary, or to run the two brakes simultaneously for smaller items. Subsequent growth in customer demand led the company to consider purchasing a second laser. A careful analysis revealed that the company could do just fine with a smaller laser, so it purchased a laser with a 3-m capacity.

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Wading through the world of welding

January 10, 2006

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Two big tradeshows, Schweissen & Schneiden (Essen, Germany) and the FABTECH® International/AWS Welding Show (Chicago) highlighted several of the trends that have emerged in the welding industry during the last couple of years. Senior Editor Eric Lundin reviews many of the recent developments in arc and laser welding, and the growing use of another joining technology, adhesive bonding.

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