FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

The 2016 FAB 40: Planning their next move

June 22, 2016

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It’s been quite a run. Over the past four years many FAB 40 companies have reported big revenue gains. In 2015, not so much, at least on average. Sales at some big companies either held steady or declined somewhat, mainly thanks to weak markets that by now every fabricator knows about: oil and...

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Metal fabrication and the buying experience

June 17, 2016

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SixAxis, a fabricator of safety platforms, portable stairs, and other industrial products, developed its own software with quoting, customer relationship management, and product configuration features. According to sources, software changed the customer buying experience, which in turn helped the company quintuple in size over six years.

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A metal fabricator you can’t pigeonhole

June 15, 2016

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IMS Engineered Products’ revenue has increased by 45 percent during the past five years. How? The fabricator is part of a larger organization, IMS Companies, with diverse revenue streams coming from gear manufacturing, stamping, electrical harness assembly, and more. But IMS’s story of growth really boils down to a straightforward strategy: quick response.

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Lean, large, and keeping pace

June 15, 2016

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Ironform Corp. formed in 2013 after Wynnchurch Capital purchased two large metal fabricators. But Ironform’s story is more about scaling up metal fabrication through acquisition. It’s about adapting the principles of lean manufacturing to custom metal fabrication—on a large scale.

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Scaling up metal fabrication: In support of the front line

June 15, 2016

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General Sheet Metal Works has experienced double-digit growth in recent years. For a $70 million operation, that’s saying something. And yet, the company has few growing pains to speak of—thanks to a new business structure that has made scaling up much easier.

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One metal manufacturer, one name, many services

June 3, 2016

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Merrill Technologies Group, Saginaw, Mich., has implemented a strategy that managers hope will double the size of the company over the next five years.

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A big leap into big tube cutting

June 2, 2016

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If Richards Sheet Metal Works had taken the conventional path, it would have invested in a new flat-sheet cutting laser, especially considering its 5-kW workhorse was more than a decade old. But Richards isn’t a conventional metal fabricator. Today it has one of the largest tube cutting lasers in the country.

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Industrial dust collection goes modular

May 24, 2016

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Large-scale dust and fume collection can be somewhat inflexible. A fabricator moving, adding, or removing a few work centers can throw off the airflow balance and make the entire system less effective. A new technology aims to change this.

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Can this product be made?

May 23, 2016

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Waiting for a callback to discuss a major design change is one thing; but waiting hours just to see if a hole can be moved a little farther from the bend radius—that’s something else. One industry project, iFAB, aims to make design for manufacturability far more efficient.

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Fabricators are in the information business

May 19, 2016

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Fabricators aren't selling just parts anymore. They're selling their ability to partner and communicate with customers.

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The morality of metal fabrication

May 16, 2016

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Metal fabricators are driven to compete, but they also want to do the right thing.

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Manufacturing wages and the front-line worker

May 12, 2016

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Manufacturers have serious turnover when it comes to front-line workers. And then there's the issue of pay.

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2016 FAB 40 preview: Preparing for a bigger market pie

May 11, 2016

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Revenue growth from 2014 to 2015 was essentially flat, depending on the fabricator's customer mix, but most are predicting busier times ahead.

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Metal fabrication on the move

May 9, 2016

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Koester Metals Inc. conquered its growing pains after the recession. It moved to a new facility to follow demand, improved and formalized training, and invested in new technology.

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Reporting to OSHA after a severe injury

May 2, 2016

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During their presentation at the FMA Annual Meeting, attorney David Jones, along with Doug Raff, owner of Paragon Industrial Controls, showed a lot about what a fabricator can expect during an OSHA inspection after reporting a major injury. They gave insights as to how companies can best navigate the OSHA inspection and citation process.

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