FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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Metal fabrication meets a seller’s market

February 18, 2015

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Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.

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Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015

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Bob Moehlman has welded pipe for more than 50 years, including 30 years at Superior Pipe Fabricators, a Los Angeles-based shop he helped launch in 1984. The shop’s success hasn’t come by using the latest and greatest pipe welding technology, but instead through teaching—showing the inexperienced employees the ropes, developing their talent, and giving them a career.

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People: A fabricator’s greatest competitive advantage

February 4, 2015

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Competing fabricators can invest in the same technology and software, but they can't employ the same people.

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Intelligent part identification: Keeping track of it all

February 4, 2015

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Modern forming technology has made kit-based part flow much easier. But when you’re dealing with a dynamically nested sheet, with kits of different parts, pieces can get lost in the mix. Fabricators can tackle this problem with intelligent nesting and part identification.

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An exit strategy for the metal fabrication job shop owner

February 3, 2015

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In their book Cashing Out of Your Business, authors Kathleen Richardson-Mauro and Jane M. Johnson tackle not just the nuts and bolts of selling an enterprise—revenue concentration, profitability, health of the market—but also the personal elements. When an owner sells a business, his or her life changes in a dramatic way.

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Quality springs forward with 3-D printing

January 29, 2015

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Newcomb Spring Corp. makes its quality assurance more efficient by upgrading its inspection equipment and investing in 3-D printing. The company’s move shows how advanced inspection and additive manufacturing work together.

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Manufacturing jobs pay well, right?

January 28, 2015

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Manufacturing wages vary widely, and like anything in life, the wage story isn't simple or straightforward.

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Done-in-one meets structural fabrication

January 23, 2015

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New system introduces full automation to structural fabrication, including cutting, beam and plate handling, and welding.

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Proactive maintenance, predictable performance in metal fabrication

January 23, 2015

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At Midland Metal Products, all machines have asset tags on them. So do calipers and tape measures—and even brooms—and it’s all tracked in a computerized maintenance management system. Tracking asset downtime has made life on the shop floor much more predictable.

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Metal fabricators spend big to build capacity

January 22, 2015

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Overall projected capital spending growth has slowed from the dramatic rebound seen postrecession, but the growth continues, especially in capacity-building equipment.

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Free education and political football

January 19, 2015

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Making community college free is a bold move, but it shouldn't be used as a political tool. Unfortunately, that's the reality.

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The one collar of the knowledge worker

January 15, 2015

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Technological devices are changing the world, but in a very human way. It may not be about what technology can do. Instead, it may be about how technology changes our lives.

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Flying high at FABTECH

January 8, 2015

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More than 30,000 visited the FABTECH 2014, a show that had several dominant themes: skilled labor, intuitive manufacturing technology, and supply chain collaboration.

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