FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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

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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Want a firsthand look at manufacturing in China?

September 13, 2005

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China has been in the news extensively during the past couple of years, and developments in 2005 have intensified the focus on the world's most populous country. Chinese companies Hair and China National Offshore Oil Co. put in bids on U.S. companies (Maytag and Unocal); meanwhile, the People's Bank of China unhooked the yuan from the dollar in favor of linking the yuan to a basket of foreign currencies. This is the perfect time to embark on a tour to get a better understanding of the country's manfacturing capabilities, so FMA, TPA, and Thermatool Corp. teamued up to organize the tube- and pipe-oriented tour of the country.

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To buy or not to buy?

July 11, 2005

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Metalen Verhoestraete, a metal service center in Roeselare, Belgium, needed a laser, but not just any laser would do. Because many of the company's clients had 3- and 4-meter lasers, Metalen sought a laser that had a much longer bed so it would not compete with its customers.

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Is this Round 2?

May 10, 2005

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Forty years ago Ford and Ferrari were engaged in a fight-to-the-finish struggle to take top racing honors. Ford used its GT40 to snap Ferrari's six-time winning streak at the 24 Hours of LeMans, one of racing's most prestigious events. In 2003 the rivalry was back as Ford unveiled the high-performance GT, a niche car rich in aluminum and developed with the help of modern technologies such as superplastic forming (a.k.a. hot stamping) and friction stir welding.

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A growing force in Washington, D.C.

October 12, 2004

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If you take a thorough look at federal bureaus and agencies, you'll see quite an array of departments intended to promote a variety of industries and business-related activities. Many of them have been around for decades, and some are more than a century old. The United States Department of...

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Is your bend good enough?

July 13, 2004

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Bending tube or pipe so the finished product conforms to one of two bending standards can help to reduce rejects and improve relations between fabricators and their customers. The standards can facilitate the use of bending terms, and promote an understanding of bending tolerances and acceptable defects before starting a bending project.

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Competing in the global arena

March 25, 2004

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Less than 40 seconds to go. The home team is down by 2 points. Tension grows as the clock counts down. The players and referees dart back and forth, and the action never slows. This isn't some staid, gentlemanly game like chess or golf. This is a full-contact sport, a sport in which the difference...

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