FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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FMA Communications Inc.
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Rockford, IL 61107

Testing and Measuring | Articles

TUBE® expo exhibitors demonstrate the latest equipment for monitoring dimensions

June 9, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Arc Welding | Articles

Inverter helps manufacturer achieve improved arc starts, arc control

June 2, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Shop Management | Articles

Asking all the right questions

April 21, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Tube and Pipe Production | Articles

Vehicle seat manufacturer rolls with the changes

April 14, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Roll Forming | Articles

Roll former cuts prototyping time

March 31, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Shop Management | Articles

Maximizing service, minimizing risk

March 14, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Articles

Machine bends and cuts tube in one process

March 14, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Shop Management | Articles

TUBE expo exhibitors agree that signs bode well for the coming year

March 3, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

It’s no secret that Düsseldorf’s biennial tube and pipe expo, TUBE®, is a good way to gauge the industry’s health. The expo is 3 percent larger in 2014 than it was in 2012, and the exhibitors interviewed for this article expect good things from the industry in the coming year. These in-depth perspectives also revealed that upheaval in the U.S. energy industry is leading to changes that will have repercussions for decades.

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Lean manufacturing

Shop Management | Articles

Where lean manufacturing meets quality control

February 24, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

Lean manufacturing may have once been little more than a buzzword, but it is way of life for many in the metal fabrication industry. Meanwhile, the pursuit of quality is as critical as ever. Conference facilitators and participants discussed how these can go hand-in-hand at the 2013 EDTR roundtable event, Lean Manufacturing and the Quality Imperative, Sept. 15-17, Silverton, Ore. The outcome was a series of stories and tips that any fabricator could use to run leaner and maintain a quality product.

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Testing and Measuring | Articles

Inclusions caught with PAUT

February 17, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

Tube and pipe producers are familiar with ultrasonic testing (UT) which, as the name implies, uses high-frequency sound waves to find discontinuities in tube and pipe. While conventional UT is effective for testing raw materials with simple shapes—round tubing, rectangular billet, and rectangular plate—complex shapes such as castings and assemblies need something more. Phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) gets the job done.

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Finishing | Blog Posts

St. Valentine’s Day, then and now

February 14, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

February 14 is here again, and although the origin of St. Valentine’s Day is a little weird, it’s hard not to miss the staying power of this celebration. Originally a pagan fertility rite celebrated in ancient Rome, Lupercalia was later co-opted by the church as Christianity took hold, and...

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Arc Welding | Articles

The emergence of Saudi America

February 10, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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

Shop Management | Articles

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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

Shop Management | Articles

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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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Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Articles

Technology Spotlight: Quick-release hose clamp seals 360 degrees

January 13, 2014 | By Eric Lundin

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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