FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston


FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

Shop Management | Blog Posts

It’s not your father’s manufacturing, but …

January 17, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing's image is not just about how plants look, but also about what plant employees do.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

What makes estimating effective in metal fabrication?

January 9, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Good estimating involves more than just numbers crunching. A good estimator needs to communicate and collaborate with various people, from the owner to the machine operator. That person also needs the right organizational structure and technology in place to be effective.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

The future of work in metal fabrication

January 9, 2017 | By Tim Heston

The future of work in metal fabrication may be less about a specific task and more about uncovering better ways to satisfy customer demand and get the job done.

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Laser Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Shaping the laser beam for the best cut

January 4, 2017 | By Tim Heston

The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has developed a system that quickly oscillates the beam in specific patterns as it cuts, welds, or otherwise processes material. These patterns have the effect of “shaping” a laser beam, allowing the technician to tailor the beam’s shape to fit the application.

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Blog Posts

Trust and turnarounds in manufacturing

December 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Lack of communication and trust may lie at the heart of a lot of problems at a lot of companies, in manufacturing and elsewhere.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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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