FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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

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...

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Fabricator switches saw blade, improves throughput - TheFabricator.com

Fabricator switches saw blade, improves throughput

December 2, 2013

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When fabricator SF Tube Inc. noticed a falling productivity in its welding department, it discovered poorly cut tube that required an added step, end facing, before welding. The band saw blade was the culprit, which led to one change, a different brand, but ultimately a handful of improvements in productivity.

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Souping up old draw benches - TheFabricator.com

Souping up old draw benches

October 24, 2013

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Superior Tube Co. Inc., Collegeville, Pa., a fabricator that draws tubing for small-diameter applications, recently set about to improve material flow through its plant. Realizing that moving 60- and 70-year-old draw benches likely would damage the motors and motor controllers, which were the original equipment, the company developed a plan to upgrade the hardware at the same time. The result is a quantum leap in motor efficiency and monitoring capability.

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A new perspective on the debt

October 17, 2013

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The good news is that Congress finally drafted a spending bill that a majority agreed to (but not too enthusiastically); the bad news is twofold. First, some in government seem even more out-of-touch than ever. To quote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev: "This is not a time for...

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day

October 9, 2013

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The many John Q. Publics who think that manufacturing in the U.S. is dying—or worse, who think it’s already dead—got a chance to see what they’ve been missing on Oct. 4, when more than 800 manufacturers throughout the U.S. opened their doors for tours. The main goal of Manufacturing Day is...

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Attractive sculptures, day or night - TheFabricator.com

Attractive sculptures, day or night

October 7, 2013

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Solar Sculptures™, which comprises an artist, a public spaces planner, and an electrical engineer, designs sculptures that use motion sensors and LEDs to come alive at night.

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Nero fiddled, Congress quibbles

September 30, 2013

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On a July evening in 64 A.D., a fire erupted in Rome and is said to have burned for days, eventually destroying three districts and severely damaging seven more (out of a total of 14 districts). Legend has it that the reigning emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, played the fiddle...

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Good news in sticker shock

September 10, 2013

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If you spend a lot of time looking at economic data, you’re already aware that 2013 hasn’t provided much to get excited about. It has provided glimmers of hope, but nothing to set the world on fire. The unemployment rate has been moving downward, but slowly. Since January it slid from 7.9...

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Know the chemistry, know the process, know the test - TheFabricator.com

Know the chemistry, know the process, know the test

September 6, 2013

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For tube and pipe producers, testing the product on the mill is necessary, but not necessarily optimal. The line speed might be too slow, the mill might have some maintenance issues, and other factors can interfere with online testing. For these reasons, many supplement the online test with an offline test.

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Corrosion-resistant fabrication project enhances nuclear power station’s cooling system - TheFabricator.com

Corrosion-resistant fabrication project enhances nuclear power station’s cooling system

September 6, 2013

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Nuclear power plants use a lot of water to cool the reactors, and when the water intake unit occasionally pulls in a sea lion or a shark, environmentalists go nuts. Dimic Steel Tech bid on a contract to build two huge grates for Southern California Edison to keep marine life out of the water intakes, and had to learn a bit about welding corrosion-resistant steel along the way.

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