FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Assembly and Joining | Articles

Reimagining the C-clamp

December 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The C-clamp is easy to take for granted. It’s an unchanging, almost timeless part of the typical workbench. It works well enough—but for one structural analyst, it didn’t.

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Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabrication in a small shop: The hidden blessing of having no space

December 5, 2016 | By Tim Heston

As shop metrics go, sales per square foot is elegantly simple. One New England fab shop has a sales-per-sq.-ft. metric that’s twice the industry average. Its success shows how having so little space can be a blessing in disguise.

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Shop Management | Articles

2017 metal fabrication forecast: Voyage into the unknown

November 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Before the election, industry watchers predicted more of the same slow growth the economy has seen for years. After the election, stock markets unexpectedly soared on the backs of companies that may benefit from a Trump presidency. One thing is for sure: The American political sphere heads into the unknown.

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Shop Management | Articles

Structural fabrication, the next generation

November 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Structural fabrication is on the cusp of some big changes, and the entry-level employee of today will grow in a field that’s becoming increasingly digitized.

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Blog Posts

FABTECH® 2016: Closing the loop

November 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

When it came to new technology, FABTECH didn't disappoint. But this year, one theme dominated: closing the loop--or improving the entire process, from the initial quote to the final shipment.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Metal fabrication and the metals markets prepare for a Trump presidency

November 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The presidency usually doesn't have much immediate, direct impact on the economy, despite the campaign rhetoric we hear. But is this time different?

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Shop Management | Articles

Job security in manufacturing: Why all the negativity?

November 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The labor market is tight. Wages are going up. In metal fabrication, small companies are paying just as well if not better than bigger firms, according to a recent survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International®. Considering all this, why all the negativity? High uncertainty about the future may have something to do with it.

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Shop Management | Articles

Structural fabricator has trial-by-fire leadership succession

November 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bass Mechanical, a mechanical contractor and structural fabricator in southeast Pennsylvania, has transformed during the past two years. The company founder died unexpectedly, and his 27-year-old son, who at one point did not plan to enter the family business, is setting the stage for long-term growth.

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Punching and Other Holemaking | Articles

Flexible metal fabrication, however you slice it

October 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

MF&B Restaurant Systems Inc., a pizza oven manufacturer in Dunbar, Pa., increases its fabrication flexibility by shortening punch tool changeovers, making good use of form tools, and making product design choices.

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Safety | Articles

Safety and ergonomics strategy at Heatcraft: Do it safely, or not at all

October 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration, a division of Lennox International, has a culture in which safety is baked into the organization’s technology, processes, and mindset. If a project can’t be done safely, it isn’t worth doing at all.

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Finishing | Articles

Blast cleaning large fabrications efficiently

October 24, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Two blast room products aim to minimize the non-value-added time in manual blast cleaning.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Engagement, modern manufacturing, and why we work

October 20, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Variety is the spice of life, and it also may be the seed from which employee engagement can grow

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Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabrication investment strategy: Keep buggering on

October 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

This year’s “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from the FMA shows an industry that’s facing tight competition, but also one that is pushing on, investing, and making efficient use of resources.

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Bending | Articles

Operator talent: The heart of the plate and angle rolling business

October 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Plate and angle rolling remains extremely dependent on operator skill. According to a U.S. roll shop roundtable discussion held at a Davi angle rolling event in Italy, that skill really is what sets a custom rolling operation apart.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Celebrating simplicity and flexibility on Manufacturing Day

October 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It's Manufacturing Day, when we celebrate where this industry has been, what it is, and, especially, where it is going.

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