August 4, 2014
For Monty Kollath, a degree in commercial art and a career in automotive repair work provided a nice living and positioned him well for a little moonlighting as a metal artist. However, Kollath had one more factor in his favor—his job in the auto repair field provides an endless supply of cast-off items suitable for metal sculpture.
July 31, 2014
When Bob Burns, owner of Aero Bending Co., Palmdale, Calif., moved his company to a new and bigger location, he considered adding to the company’s fleet of benders. However, a number of bending machine operators often lined up to measure bent components, creating a bottleneck. Changing to an optical inspection system cleared this bottleneck.
July 21, 2014
When Dave Milo set out to build a portable hardbanding unit, the former trucking company owner knew little about welding and nothing about hardbanding. After updating the hardbanding unit design a few times with consulting help from Lincoln Electric, Milo thinks he’s ready to change direction. Rather than providing hardbanding services, his goal is to sell hardbanding machines.
July 10, 2014
BSS Industrial, a plumbing and heating products distributor, was accustomed to using slings affixed to its fork lifts to lift tube bundles from truck beds. The drawback was that on occasion the load would swing, creating a tipping risk for the lift truck. Lift truck manufacturer Combilift developed a truck with standard-length forks for placing and picking inventory, and a longer set of forks for lifting tube bundles from the delivery vehicle’s bed.
July 7, 2014
It's not often that a tool as simple as a hand-held circular saw wins an award for its design, but it happened when Exact Pipe Tools Inc. submitted three models to Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, one of the oldest design institutes in Europe. The saw clamps to the pipe, so users are safer and cuts are straighter.
June 30, 2014
A niche tube producer that formerly used GTAW exclusively, Esta Rohr began changing over to laser welding in 2005. The change is now complete, with substantial changes. The company has reduced its number tube production lines from five to three, but its output has increased tremendously. Meanwhile, laser welding has allowed it to cut some costs, helping its products compete against others.
June 18, 2014
Dominique Martinez, founder of Rustic Steel Creations, does a little of everything—using found objects and new metals, making functional items like handrails and decorative items (artistic sculptures), making items for sale and working under contract, working for profit and donating pieces for fundraisers—and in doing so, has built his company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.
June 16, 2014
Native Texan and farmer Aggie Devin Gerland earned a degree in agricultural engineering and took a succession of engineering positions in and around Bryan, Texas. Now an entrepreneur with his own fabrication shop, Gerland is putting his farming and ranching experience to work, developing his own line of farm implements.
June 9, 2014
The manufacturing standards for manufacturing and fabricating tube and pipe are continuously on the rise as OEMs demand tighter tolerances and ever-greater dimensional consistency. Keeping up with these trends is a matter of keeping up with the technologies available to monitor processes and measure tubular products.
June 2, 2014
The welders at JATCO Environmental Inc., a manufacturer of steam-to-liquids condensers for natural gas extraction, had a problem with striking and maintaining a good arc. When the company switched from a rectifier-based unit to an inverter-based unit, the welders found that the arc starts and weld characteristics were greatly improved.
April 21, 2014
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.
April 14, 2014
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.
March 31, 2014
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.
March 14, 2014
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.
March 14, 2014
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.