FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

A growing pie for the next generation

April 15, 2014

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How can fabricators attract the best and brightest? According to speakers at The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, it's about growing the business through progressive management and open communication.

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How scalable is contract metal fabrication?

April 14, 2014

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Most of contract metal fabrication serves a local and regional customer base, and that’s one reason small- and medium-sized customer fab shops dominate this business. Aside from upper-tier automotive stampers and similar companies, typical annual revenue ranges in custom fabrication range from $8... Continue Reading

Quality assurance gets an upgrade at Eaton Fabricating

April 14, 2014

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Eaton Fabricating Co. Inc., Grafton, Ohio, revamped its front office and shop floor operation to ensure parts emerge from machines right the first time. The key is that management gives operators time to perform quality assurance checks at every stage in manufacturing.

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A foundation for 5S

April 7, 2014

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Macksteel Warehouse, a service center and job shop serving area OEMs, has undergone significant transformations in recent years, including the way employees sweep the floor.

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How fabrication complements stamping

April 3, 2014

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Length: 3:50

Senior Editor Tim Heston talks with Alex Robertson, business development manager at Fisher-Barton South Carolina about how the business uses both fabrication and stamping to serve the mid-volume market. For more on Fisher Barton South Carolina’s operation, click here.

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Laser cutting on the level

April 3, 2014

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A laser cutting machine doesn’t care how hard or soft a metal is, but the material’s flatness matters immensely. That’s why so many service centers are investing in leveling processes that aim to equalize stresses, ensuring sheet metal stays flat after being cut.

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Apprenticeship, North Carolina-style

March 31, 2014

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Max Daetwyler Corp., a Huntersville, N.C.-based contract manufacturer, has evolved significantly to serve the changing business needs in the custom machinery arena. Its approach to employee skill development has evolved as well, with a growing regional partnership founded on the concepts behind European-style apprenticeships.

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A new business model, a new structure—a new business

March 26, 2014

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It’s easy for metal fab shop owners and managers to fall into the habit of complaining about the lack of skilled talent in the marketplace. Executives at of General Sheet Metal Works, South Bend, Ind., recognized that their employees had plenty of knowledge and skill. The fabricator just didn’t have a strong structure to channel that knowledge and build a better company.

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The odd industrial barometer of capacity utilization

March 17, 2014

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Today the Federal Reserve released its capacity utilization stats for February. The number stands at 76.4 percent—up a few tenths from February 2013, way up from a low of 64.0 in 2009, but not quite as high as experienced during the best years of the 1990s, when utilization hovered in the... Continue Reading

How a heavy fabricator reinvented itself

March 17, 2014

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BEPeterson, Avon, Mass., used to be a weld shop. Most of the work was seasonal, which isn’t really a solid foundation for growth. The fabricator changed that with a commitment to diversification. Today the company has three unique business units: power utility, medical, and pressure vessels.

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Better brushes, better technique, better cleaning

March 14, 2014

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Most fabricators don’t think much about deburring or finishing a metal surface, but they should considering how much time is spent on the activity. The first step is to understand how a wire brush actually cleans and deburrs.

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Why the stigma attached to factory work?

March 14, 2014

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People should spend less time pushing every student toward college and spend more time realizing what people are actually doing on a shop floor of progressive fabricating shops. They aren’t “laborers,” but skilled machine operators and technicians—typically without a traditional four-year degree. Any stigma that exists about today’s factory worker is no longer relevant.

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Sustainable growth in the sunny Southwest

March 13, 2014

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You might have noticed the employees of CAID Industries Inc., Tucson, Ariz., walking around FABTECH 2013 with bright yellow shirts indicating that the fabricator was hiring. The company is looking for the right talent to help turn the $40-million-a-year business into something much larger.

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About growing the economic pie

March 3, 2014

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Much of modern political debate has centered on who gets the biggest piece of the pie—the money pie, that is. Liberals say the rich have gotten too much of that pie, and perhaps some pieces should be redistributed to the rest of us. Conservatives argue that wealth redistribution runs counter to... Continue Reading

millennials

How millennials will make a difference

February 28, 2014

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Millenials have gotten a bad reputation. But the best of them may find a metal fabrication career extremely rewarding.

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