FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Articles

Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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Shop Management | Blog Posts

People: A fabricator’s greatest competitive advantage

February 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Competing fabricators can invest in the same technology and software, but they can't employ the same people.

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Materials Handling | Articles

Intelligent part identification: Keeping track of it all

February 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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Shop Management | Articles

An exit strategy for the metal fabrication job shop owner

February 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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Testing and Measuring | Articles

Quality springs forward with 3-D printing

January 29, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Manufacturing jobs pay well, right?

January 28, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing wages vary widely, and like anything in life, the wage story isn't simple or straightforward.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles

Done-in-one meets structural fabrication

January 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

New system introduces full automation to structural fabrication, including cutting, beam and plate handling, and welding.

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Testing and Measuring | Articles

Proactive maintenance, predictable performance in metal fabrication

January 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

At Midland Metal Products, all machines have asset tags on them. So do calipers and tape measures—and even brooms—and it’s all tracked in a computerized maintenance management system. Tracking asset downtime has made life on the shop floor much more predictable.

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Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabricators spend big to build capacity

January 22, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Overall projected capital spending growth has slowed from the dramatic rebound seen postrecession, but the growth continues, especially in capacity-building equipment.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Free education and political football

January 19, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Making community college free is a bold move, but it shouldn't be used as a political tool. Unfortunately, that's the reality.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The one collar of the knowledge worker

January 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Technological devices are changing the world, but in a very human way. It may not be about what technology can do. Instead, it may be about how technology changes our lives.

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Shop Management | Articles

Flying high at FABTECH

January 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

More than 30,000 visited the FABTECH 2014, a show that had several dominant themes: skilled labor, intuitive manufacturing technology, and supply chain collaboration.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

A new year and a better image for manufacturing

December 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

As 2015 approaches, manufacturing's image is in pretty good shape, all things considered.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The patio furniture reshoring test

December 15, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Businesses are reshoring when it makes sense to do so. This includes items requiring quick-response, such as seasonal items that hinge on less predictable demand factors, like the weather.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles

One metal fabricator, two value streams

December 12, 2014 | By Tim Heston

For decades Nu-Way Industries operated with a conventional management structure. In recent years, managers at the Des Plaines, Ill., fabricator discovered that the two kinds of orders the company processed, engineered to order and make to stock, really called for two distinct value streams, each operating under a different business model.

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