FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

Laser Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Technology Spotlight: Reading the laser cutting beam—there’s an app for that

February 1, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Precitec’s cutting head senses trouble in real time, and communicates via Bluetooth directly to an operator’s phone or tablet.

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Roll Forming | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Following the roll forming road map

February 1, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Many people call roll forming a black art, but David Rostocil isn’t one of them. If an operator is given the print, follows documented operating procedures, and maintains good records—and has consistent material thickness and properties to work with—the process becomes a science, one that over time can be tweaked and perfected.

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Bending | Articles | The FABRICATOR

A new way to automate sheet metal bending

January 30, 2017 | By Tim Heston

At Minneapolis-based Atlas Manufacturing, a collaborative robot has taken over the mundane task of forming long runs of simple parts.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Managing the three legs of the custom metal fabrication stool

January 27, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Technology has become the ticket to entry for metal fabrication. But when a fabricator buys a new machine, it doesn’t stay secret for long. So what really sets a company apart from its competitors? Past speakers at FMA events give some insights.

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Laser Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Back to basics: The subtle science of burr-free laser cutting

January 25, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Attaining a burr-free cut is about setting up the laser beam parameters and gas flow dynamics to work together to ensure the right amount of molten metal evacuates the kerf at the right time and in the right way.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

A case study in lean manufacturing: Opening the door to single-piece flow

January 25, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Total Door Systems, Waterford, Mich., has successfully adopted single-piece part flow to engineer- to-order commercial door manufacturing. In its old building, the company held up to six weeks of work-in-process. It moved into a new building in 2010, and today the manufacturer holds only one day’s worth of WIP—and can respond to customers within days, instead of weeks.

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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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