FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Managing metal fabrication through the generations

February 10, 2016

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Although the study of generations is an inexact social science, it may help company leaders empathize, minimize conflict, and get everyone on the same page.

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Lean manufacturing prepares lawn care OEM for the future

February 10, 2016

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After rapid growth, a commercial lawn care OEM prepares for the future with better part flow, better production controls, better communication, and better planning. The company’s continuous improvement initiative is well on its way.

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26 Commerce Road and the life of the small manufacturer

February 4, 2016

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A small industrial building just off the highway in northeast Pennsylvania has seen a few businesses come and go. Their stories tell a lot about what it’s like to be a small manufacturer in the U.S.

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Voices that matter, in Iowa and the metal fabrication shop floor

February 2, 2016

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Having your voice matter may be at the core of good culture. This may apply as much to Iowa voters as it does to people on the fab shop floor.

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Structural tube fabrication: Getting a solid connection for HSS

February 1, 2016

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One architectural fabricator has developed a connection and fabrication system for the modular construction of hollow structural sections, or HSS. Such connections show just how efficient modular construction can be.

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Brushing up sheet metal assembly

February 1, 2016

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Scratching a cosmetically critical part during assembly can be costly. This is where choosing the right material for the assembly table surface can be critical. It’s here that the table brush may be able to help.

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Perspective on 2016: Metal fabricators stand ready to swing

January 19, 2016

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For U.S. manufacturers, 2016 is full of uncertainty. But shops with diversified customer bases and healthy balance sheets stand ready to swing.

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Building improvement at JCB: A case study in lean manufacturing

January 6, 2016

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The part flow at JCB’s Savannah plant has changed significantly over the past six years. The company redesigned a major product line to meet customer demand while also making part flow much easier to manage.

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A “digital thread” runs through FABTECH, North America’s largest metal fabrication show

January 6, 2016

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FABTECH broke records again in 2015, drawing more attendees and exhibitors than ever. One theme this year seemed to pervade the event. It relates to what keynote speaker Karen Kerr, director of advanced manufacturing at GE Ventures, called a “digital thread” through the manufacturing supply chain.

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Differentiation in manufacturing: Cadence hits its unique stride

January 4, 2016

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Cadence, Inc. in Staunton, Va., launched with a proprietary technology. But if the company had relied solely on that technology for growth, it wouldn’t be the $100 million, 500-employee, six-location industrial and medical device contract manufacturer it is today.

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One metal fabrication shop takes on B2C

January 4, 2016

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Launched in 2015, Florida-based MetalsCut4U offers low-volume metal cutting and bending to the consumer market. To make it happen, the company simplifies ordering and automates quoting.

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Fab shop customer mix: Hitting the right spot

December 22, 2015

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Interest rates are rising, oil prices are falling, and energy and agriculture equipment sectors continue to struggle. What's next for fabricators in 2016? The news isn't all bad, really, depending on a shop's mix of services, technology, talent, and customers.

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Managing a multi-generation fab shop

December 16, 2015

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Finding good people remains the No. 1 challenge in metal fabrication, but it's certainly not an insurmountable challenge.

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Workforce challenges: Can’t we all just get along?

December 15, 2015

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Talk to managers in metal fabrication and they’ll probably tell you they have trouble finding “good” people. In fact, they usually don’t say “skilled” people. So what’s the difference?

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How a plate rolling rookie becomes a guru

December 3, 2015

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How does a plate rolling rookie become a guru? According to Ken Pecho, project engineer at Chicago Metal Rolled Products, it requires good communication. So how do you really define good communication? For plate rolling (and many other shop skills), you can break it down into three critical components: collaboration, observation, and patience.

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