FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Blog Posts

Do we have a college bubble?

June 16, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The housing and higher education markets are eerily familiar.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Technology Spotlight: Negative pressure yields positive results in resistance welding

June 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A system helps resistance welding lines save water as tip changeouts become more frequent. The technology uses negative pressure, similar to placing your thumb on top of a straw and lifting it out of a glass of water.

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Shop Management | Articles

Better ideas, better growth at Texas metal fabricator

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Special Products & Mfg. Inc., a custom fabricator in Rockwall, Texas, has transformed its culture. A decade ago it was a command-and-control environment. Today, ideas from front-line workers drive improvement.

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Shop Management | Articles

Going vertical: Distributor expands into stamping, metal fabrication, and assembly

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Millenia Products Group launched as a distributor in 2001, but from the very start it had plans for vertical integration down the supply chain. Today it offers distribution, stamping, roll forming, fabrication, and full assembly services—all in one organization.

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Shop Management | Articles

The 2015 FAB 40: The largest custom metal fabricators grow even bigger

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The 2015 FAB 40 shows a growing industry, with some of the largest shops posting the biggest revenue gains over last year. Will such growth lead to more industry consolidation? For some industrial sectors, probably, but for other areas of metal fabrication, probably not.

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Bending | Articles

Precision sheet metal bending, bump by bump

June 1, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Bump bending remains more art than science, especially for large and thick workpieces, but using the right tools and setup procedures help make this challenging brake operation much more efficient.

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Shop Management | Articles

Driving change, not fork trucks

May 28, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Quality Industries has changed a lot in two years, and in another two years it will change even more. A new management team is putting a new emphasis on engineering and continuous improvement.

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Shop Management | Articles

Cheese, metal fabrication, and the future skilled worker

May 21, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Over the past two decades, Millerbernd Systems has evolved into a complex entity--part fabricator, part automation systems provider. It also launched a local education initiative to ensure talent remains in the pipeline.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Metal fabrication ripe for consolidation, or not?

May 11, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Will the custom metal fabrication business become more consolidated in the years to come? It's hard today, but more than likely, it will depend on the fabricator's customer base.

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Shop Management | Articles

Trust, respect, and the skilled trades

May 11, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In 7 Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons, James Sidney Harvey describes aspects of the skilled trades that you usually don’t learn in a classroom

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Shop Management | Articles

Flow, quality, and operational excellence in manufacturing

May 7, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A fabricator can’t achieve operational excellence without good flow, and good flow isn’t possible without good quality. Kevin Duggan, founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence, describes how quality assurance intertwines with every process in a business.

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Shop Management | Articles

You can’t commoditize human connections

April 30, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Ken Schmidt helped turn Harley-Davidson around, not by improving product quality, but by connecting to the people who bought motorcycles. That same connection can form the backbone of a fabricator’s success.

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Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Articles

Getting to the root of pipe welding automation

April 29, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Automating the root pass in pipe spool fabrication has always been a challenge, and making weld preparations more consistent just hasn’t been economically practical. In this market, advanced vision systems and adaptive welding have helped overcome these challenges.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Truth on the shop floor

April 13, 2015 | By Tim Heston

If truth comes from the shop floor, everyone should hear it.

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Shop Management | Articles

Quality shines bright at MACO

April 7, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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