FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
Ironworker basics: Cut it clean - TheFabricator.com

Ironworker basics: Cut it clean

December 3, 2012

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How does an operator avoid distortion and burrs? For the ironworker’s common cutting stations--the punch, angle cutter, notcher, and plate shear--it boils down to matching the job at hand with some basic variables.

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Thankful for the people of metal fabrication

November 19, 2012

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This Thursday my family will continue a long, albeit corny tradition. We go around the table and tell people what we’re thankful for. It’s a refreshing respite from all the dreary news--about China, the European mess, the Fiscal Cliff, and all the uncertainty and dysfunction from our nation’s...

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At FABTECH 2012: Two people manufacturing will need

November 12, 2012

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What a crowd in Las Vegas. Official attendance numbers, which are audited, aren't released yet, but early estimates are that today may have been one of FABTECH's most well-attended opening days. Vendors I spoke with were happy with the crowds, and attendees said their shops were busy. Some have...

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Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification - TheFabricator.com

Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification

November 9, 2012

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Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, Lawrence, Kan., offers a reasonable look at taxes and what they mean to business planners.

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Beyond mere convenience - TheFabricator.com

Beyond mere convenience

November 9, 2012

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As this Q&A with Plante Moran's Jeff Mengel reveals, an innovative approach to a customer relationship can lead to a very successful supply chain partnership.

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Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing

November 9, 2012

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association 2012 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey is out, and it proves a lucrative career awaits those fabricators willing to put in the work to hone their skills.

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Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator - TheFabricator.com

Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator

November 9, 2012

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Managing a shop full of a great number of incredibly diverse, short-run, nonrepeat orders can be a complicated undertaking. Fedtech, a St. Paul, Minn., fabricator, stays on top of all the activity by giving customers a single point of contact. Upon receipt of an order, one person shepherds the job through production—from cradle to grave.

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How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart - TheFabricator.com

How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart

November 9, 2012

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Estes Design and Manufacturing, Indianapolis, finds that laser welding produces a joint that is cosmetically appealing to customers. “We’re looking for an appearance that matches almost exactly the outside of a formed corner,” said Jay Reddick, the company's laser welding development manager.

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Capital spending forecast up again - TheFabricator.com

Capital spending forecast up again

November 9, 2012

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According to the 2013 Capital Spending Forecast, to published by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, projected spending for U.S. metal fabricators climbed 4 percent over last year. The total amount is just shy of readers' projected spending before the recession.

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The virtue of spiders

November 5, 2012

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Length: 4:00

At Micron Metalworks in Ham Lake, Minn., Steve Jaeger has a vital job description. He's a spider—water spider in lean-manufacturing speak. Without Jaeger or other spiders like him on the floor, throughput would plummet.

Why the little things matter - TheFabricator.com

Why the little things matter

November 2, 2012

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The issue for Laser Access employees wasn't getting the equipment running, it was the time they spent away from the machine, hunting for the right tools and material. That's why the Michigan shop took steps to keep the necessary tools nearby and neatly organized.

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Busy or slow, manufacturer never stops improving

October 28, 2012

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If tragedy has a silver lining, it is that it brings everything else into stark clarity. Those who suffer usually either wallow or emerge triumphant. Chesterfield, Mo.-based Cambridge Engineering did the latter. As Vice President of Manufacturing Michael Mueller put it, “We had a new spirit, and...

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Direct-diode lasers enter the sheet metal cutting arena

October 22, 2012

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CO2 gas lasers still dominate sheet metal cutting, but they aren’t the only game in town anymore. Solid-state lasers like the fiber and disk varieties--which use diode lasers to pump, or excite, the lasing medium--continue to have considerable market success. And now fabricators may have a new...

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The rebirth of a metal fabrication business - TheFabricator.com

The rebirth of a metal fabrication business

October 19, 2012

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In September 2011, thanks to changing weather patterns and unintended consequences of water management, GT Fabrication was flooded yet again. The family business has been through this before. Why stay in the game? Because the metal fabrication community was there to help.

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Fab reporter notebook: In lean manufacturing we trust

October 16, 2012

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Yesterday I spoke with a production manager (on background) with a not-so-uncommon challenge. He had been brushing up on the basics of continuous improvement, including lean manufacturing methodologies adapted for the high-mix, low-volume environment. All the talk of efficient part flow, shorter...

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