FMA Communications Inc.

Eric Lundin

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

How much should a gallon of gasoline cost?

May 5, 2011

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The unthinkable has happened: Gasoline prices have crossed the $5.00-per-gallon threshold. Forget the official data. The Energy Information Administration says that the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.96, but that’s not accurate for two reasons. First, it...

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Top 10 most stressful jobs

April 26, 2011

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Careercast.com, a job search Web site, recently posted the results of a couple of surveys regarding stressful jobs. Two thoughts occurred to me immediately: The 91.2 percent of people who have jobs right now are just happy to have a steady paycheck, and the 8.8 percent who don’t are experiencing...

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bending

Yearning for learning

April 26, 2011

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When James Castoro founded Custom Aluminum Products in 1960, the company’s premise was simple and concise: It produced aluminum products, mainly storm windows and storm doors. It was a good time to be in the business—the baby boom was in full swing, and the U.S. population was...

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GTAW

GTAW electrode selection and preparation

April 25, 2011

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Selecting the right tungsten electrode, and preparing it to match the welding process, aren't just good ideas to maximize welder productivity. They are necessary to prevent weld defects and all the time necessary for troubleshooting and rework.

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The housing market hasn’t hit bottom yet

March 31, 2011

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A headline at CNN’s money page caught my eye recently: “Why house prices will keep falling.” The article cited the Case-Shiller U.S. House Price Index, which showed a 3.1 percent decline from January 2010 to January 2011. The gist of the index, developed by Karl Case and Robert Shiller, is...

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Plasma cutter

Tube, pipe cutting equipment - Part II

March 10, 2011

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Lasers have been in use for industrial purposes for decades, and their capabilities continue to develop. Many machines these days can cut sheet and tubular sections, and fabricators are finding that the laser’s programmability really broadens their capabilities.

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Days of rage at the pump, in Libya, and in Saudi Arabia

March 9, 2011

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Judging by the political developments in Libya and the current price of petroleum, you’d think that Libya was some sort of heavyweight exporter. Last fall West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was trading at less than $85 per barrel on the spot market. Protests in Libya started in February, and...

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Fabricated spiral staircase

Old-school fabricator takes it one step at a time

February 25, 2011

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Shortly after the company was founded as a welding and repair shop in 1949, Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs found a niche in building spiral staircases. Founder Bill Osborn bought some equipment and made some of his own. Some of Osborn’s original ideas and equipment are still in use at the company 60 years later.

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Electric motorcycles? Yes please!

February 14, 2011

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In my previous blog entry, I made some comparisons between several gasoline-powered and alternative-fuel vehicles: Two passenger cars (a Toyota Prius® and a Toyota Camry®), two exotic sports cars (a Tesla Roadster Sport and a Lotus Evora), and two motorcycles (a model S from Zero Motorcycles and...

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Electric motorcycles? No thanks.

January 31, 2011

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Everyone knows that liquids, mainly gasoline and diesel, have been the main fuels for vehicles for decades. Although steam and electricity competed with gasoline at the turn of the last century, gasoline won that battle and ruled the automotive industry ever since. However, the oil shocks of the...

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Tube, pipe cutting equipment-Part 1 - TheFabricator.com

Tube, pipe cutting equipment - Part I

January 24, 2011

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Tube and pipe cutting advancements include saws that are programmable to cope with varying cross sections and a variety of material hardnesses; a rotary axis for waterjet cutting; and automation.

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Fabricating tube, learning lessons in Americaís Dairyland - TheFabricator.com

Fabricating tube, learning lessons in America's Dairyland

January 21, 2011

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J & D Tube Benders Inc., founded as a partnership to produce a single part number in 1971, today generates $16 million in annual revenues and is on the cusp of the third generation of family ownership. The key to its longevity is learning valuable lessons throughout the past four decades, finding opportunities during expansions and downturns.

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OSHA is self-funded: Fact or fiction?

January 13, 2011

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If you work in manufacturing, you’ve probably heard that some government agencies, notably OSHA and the EPA, have been mandated to become self-funding. I heard this in a discussion at a recent conference, and it seems reasonable. The government debt is $14 trillion, so why wouldn’t the...

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Spiraling out of control

December 8, 2010

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Last week I took a trip to Genoa City, Wis., and felt like I had spent a couple hours in 1955 or so. I paid a visit to Ralph Wells, owner of Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs, a company that specializes in spiral staircases. Founded in 1949 as a welding and repair shop, it expanded its repertoire to...

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Snow mean feat - TheFabricator.com

Snow mean feat

December 2, 2010

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Snowshoes have been used for thousands of years, but only recently have modern manufactured materials come into the picture. These days lengths of bent and welded tube, usually aluminum, make up the frame. Although the market is crowded, Jake Thamm and Tamara Laug thought they could build a better snowshoe and founded a new company in 1997.

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