FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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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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