FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Cheese, metal fabrication, and the future skilled worker

May 21, 2015

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Over the past two decades, Millerbernd Systems has evolved into a complex entity--part fabricator, part automation systems provider. It also launched a local education initiative to ensure talent remains in the pipeline.

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Metal fabrication ripe for consolidation, or not?

May 11, 2015

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Will the custom metal fabrication business become more consolidated in the years to come? It's hard today, but more than likely, it will depend on the fabricator's customer base.

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Trust, respect, and the skilled trades

May 11, 2015

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In 7 Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons, James Sidney Harvey describes aspects of the skilled trades that you usually don’t learn in a classroom

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Flow, quality, and operational excellence in manufacturing

May 7, 2015

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A fabricator can’t achieve operational excellence without good flow, and good flow isn’t possible without good quality. Kevin Duggan, founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence, describes how quality assurance intertwines with every process in a business.

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You can’t commoditize human connections

April 30, 2015

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Ken Schmidt helped turn Harley-Davidson around, not by improving product quality, but by connecting to the people who bought motorcycles. That same connection can form the backbone of a fabricator’s success.

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Getting to the root of pipe welding automation

April 29, 2015

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Automating the root pass in pipe spool fabrication has always been a challenge, and making weld preparations more consistent just hasn’t been economically practical. In this market, advanced vision systems and adaptive welding have helped overcome these challenges.

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Truth on the shop floor

April 13, 2015

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If truth comes from the shop floor, everyone should hear it.

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Quality shines bright at MACO

April 7, 2015

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The recession nearly killed MACO Incorporated, a fabricator and machine shop in rural western North Carolina. But it survived thanks to some introspection and a new focus on quality certification.

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Continuous improvement, from the first quote to the final shipment

April 1, 2015

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Burlington, Ky.-based Skilcraft LLC has changed a lot in the past decade. It has moved away from the traditional job shop model toward comprehensive contract fabrication. And it got there by scrutinizing every step of the manufacturing process, from quoting to shipping.

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Boring manufacturing data acts up a bit

March 31, 2015

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Economic indicators have been boring. This may change. The data slipped a bit this month, though it's too soon to say if it's a trend. Regardless, business owners are happy with boring.

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Gauging welding’s success

March 25, 2015

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In recent years Ashcroft’s Connecticut plant has changed significantly. It’s an operation transitioning from batch-style production to lean part flow, and a new, flexible welding cell has helped the manufacturer prepare for future improvements.

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People make the difference at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit

March 24, 2015

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Technology is the engine of metal fabrication, but people are behind the wheel. And how they drive really matters.

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How do you define good company culture anyway?

March 10, 2015

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How does a fabricator build a culture that adopts, embraces, and sustains lean manufacturing? An environment that encourages idea generation may be a good start.

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Automation, health, safety, and longshoremen

February 24, 2015

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The labor disupute at the West Coast ports is an odd, complex, ironic cog in the global supply chain.

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Odessa, oil, and the welding arc

February 19, 2015

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Investors worry about how the drop in oil prices will affect the energy boom. The people on the front lines—including the fabricators and pipe welders—don’t seem to be terribly worried. Some even welcome a slight slowdown, because it will give everyone time to catch up.

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