June 12, 2007
Senior Editor Eric Lundin visited Industrial Hard Chrome, a chrome plater that provides chrome-plated components for hydraulically powered equipment such as graders and backhoes. He traces the company's development from a plater that provided its services to the paper and pulp industry four decades ago to a plater and OEM with its own product line today.
April 10, 2007
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.
April 10, 2007
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.
January 9, 2007
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.
December 12, 2006
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.
November 7, 2006
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.
November 7, 2006
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.
October 10, 2006
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.
September 12, 2006
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.
July 11, 2006
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.
June 13, 2006
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.
June 13, 2006
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.
June 13, 2006
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.
April 11, 2006
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.
February 7, 2006
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.