Michael Bishop

Contributing Writer



bending pressbrake greiner

A giant among machines

October 8, 2009

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Greiner specializes in structural steel and heavy plate fabrication. It does work for power plants and the mining industry. In the 33 years the company has been in business, it has done structural steel jobs in an industry where the work always seems to be getting larger and heavier. It recently installed a 40-ft.-long press brake that weighs more than 800,000 lbs.

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reusing waterjet cutting abrasive

Reusing waterjet cutting abrasive

June 29, 2009

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For shops that cut using a waterjet machine, the abrasive in the pressurized stream of water, which allows the system to cut away metal, is a significant capital investment. Because of recent technology developments, a fabricator now can recycle the abrasive material and use it several times. But before a shop invests in this type of equipment, it should first consider the types of abrasive material that are available, as well as how the recycling technology works.

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carbide drill lines prevention

Technologies help to make shops structurally sound

May 19, 2009

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Tough economic conditions have hit the construction industry as hard as they have many other industries. These problems in commercial construction are affecting structural steel fabricators. New technologies are especially benefiting four important structural steel fabricating processes by reducing labor costs. These represent some of the bigger developments in recent years.

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S100 with Tiller Attachment

Bobcat pounces on cost-saving opportunities

February 12, 2009

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Bobcat determined that the nesting software on its laser cutting systems didn't maximize the capabilities of the machines. After the company decided to purchase new nesting software, programmers outlined what capabilities they wanted. The company purchased ProNest® from MTC Software, Lockport, N.Y. The company has gained positive returns from the new software, which enables more control of process specifications.

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Manufacturing Transportation Equipment

New dimension, familiar direction

February 10, 2009

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H.W. Metals offers punching, shearing, arc welding, machining, oxyfuel cutting, and standard and high-definition plasma cutting. The company found that there was more and more work it couldn't do for its customers because some jobs required laser-cut parts. The company decided to purchase a laser to expand capabilities in its current markets by offering an alternative to plasma cutting. In October, the company installed a Prima Maximo laser cutting system, which will allow the company to provide more capabilities to existing customers.

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Don't rule out plasma for cutting aluminum - TheFabricator.com

Don't rule out plasma for cutting aluminum

January 27, 2009

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In any discussion about how to cut metal, plasma cutting is right up there with laser and waterjet. The technology gets a bad rap, though, when the discussion turns to cutting aluminum. There are five preconceptions that many fabricators have about turning to plasma to cut aluminum. But according to three experts, new plasma cutting systems produce good results on aluminum.

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Composite Joining

Don't get stuck wondering about composites

November 25, 2008

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Automakers and other manufacturers are interested in utilizing composites more in their manufacturing operations. Composites come with their own set of challenges, and one of the most important challenges is how to join the engineered material to a metal correctly using an adhesive. When joining materials, adhesives evenly distribute loads and reduce labor time.

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Pallet changer, tower, or shelving system with that laser?

October 14, 2008

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When fabricators decide to automate material handling in their laser cutting operations, they have several choices to make. The decision on whether to automate—and what kind of system makes the most sense—will depend on the shop's capabilities, its production capacity, and available floor space. The options cover the full spectrum, from basic systems that simply unload one pallet and bring in another to large racking systems that maintain a full inventory of raw material and cut parts and can transfer those parts to other machines in the shop.

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When does a punch/laser make sense? - TheFabricator.com

When does a punch/laser make sense?

August 26, 2008

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Hawkeye Industries Inc., Tupelo, Miss., was getting more and more orders for parts that required both punching and laser cutting. To meet the growing demand, the company purchased a combination punch/laser machine. Some shops are more suited than others to this technology—combination machines can increase profits for some companies, and costs for others. Shop owners should keep five key things in mind when evaluating and purchasing a combination punch/laser machine.

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Welding torch fire hazard

Preventing torch fires in welding and cutting operations

July 15, 2008

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Welding and cutting, which accounts for 1 percent of structure fires and 4 percent of nonhousehold property damage, is the most dangerous type of hot work, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Companies that weld and cut should take specific steps to increase safety and minimize the risk of torch fires. Hot work, by its nature, has a lot of hazards. Companies and their hot-work operators can protect their safety and their facilities by keeping combustibles away from welding and cutting operations; using new safety features; staying aware of conditions; and knowing and following instructions provided on the precautionary labels and in OSHA, ANSI, and NFPA standards.

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Aida Stamping Press

Driven to integrate

May 13, 2008

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Changes come often in the steel industry--a business that sticks around long enough might eventually bear little resemblance to the version established at its inception. This is the case for Parkview Metal Products, Lake Zurich, Ill. The company opened in 1950 as a tool and die shop in Chicago, later moving and shifting its focus to automotive, electronic, and grill components. The company believes its culture is changing for the better and plans to continue developing its 5S initiatives, increasing its on-time delivery, and reducing its scrap rate.

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McDonald's Arches

Curving out a niche

April 15, 2008

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In celebration of its 50th anniversary in April 2005, McDonald's® opened a 24,000-sq.-ft. restaurant in Chicago. The restaurant's most eye-catching feature is a pair of parabolic arches that stand 60 ft. high. Constructed from 20-in. by 12-in. tubes, the arches were curved by Chicago Metal Rolled Products, an OEM component subcontractor. Operating within a tight time frame, CMRP helped the structural steel fabricator and erector, Tefft Bridge & Iron LLC, by bending the tubes in multiple locations on longer sections to reduce the number of weld splices needed.

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orbital welding

Welding more with less

February 12, 2008

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With the gap between new projects and available welders only expected to widen, welding companies have to make up the difference by utilizing machines that can compensate for the labor shortage and maximize the productivity of available welders. New developments in orbital welding technology are helping companies address these tasks. Today orbital welding equipment incorporates production monitoring and analysis capabilities and is designed to be simpler to use. In continuing to advance the technology, welding equipment suppliers probably will take more of an integrated approach, tackling projects using automation and machines that combine preparation and welding operations into a comprehensive tool.

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Offline bending software

2 strategies for optimizing bending operations

January 15, 2008

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Fabricators typically encounter bottlenecks during setup and production in their press brake bending operations—obstacles that lead to downtime and fewer operators actually processing material. Representatives from Amada, LVD Strippit, Bystronic Inc. addressed these issues in a recent presentation. The two largest problems? Performing non-value-added steps and having to compensate for material variations. Fortunately, some new technologies and two key strategies can help fabricators optimize their press brake operations in these areas.

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