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.
April 13, 2015 | By Tim Heston
If truth comes from the shop floor, everyone should hear it.
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.
April 1, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Burlington, Ky.-based Skilcraft LLC has changed a lot in the past decade. It has moved away from the traditional job shop model toward comprehensive contract fabrication. And it got there by scrutinizing every step of the manufacturing process, from quoting to shipping.
March 31, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Economic indicators have been boring. This may change. The data slipped a bit this month, though it's too soon to say if it's a trend. Regardless, business owners are happy with boring.
March 25, 2015 | By Tim Heston
In recent years Ashcroft’s Connecticut plant has changed significantly. It’s an operation transitioning from batch-style production to lean part flow, and a new, flexible welding cell has helped the manufacturer prepare for future improvements.
March 24, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Technology is the engine of metal fabrication, but people are behind the wheel. And how they drive really matters.
March 10, 2015 | By Tim Heston
How does a fabricator build a culture that adopts, embraces, and sustains lean manufacturing? An environment that encourages idea generation may be a good start.
February 24, 2015 | By Tim Heston
The labor disupute at the West Coast ports is an odd, complex, ironic cog in the global supply chain.
February 19, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Investors worry about how the drop in oil prices will affect the energy boom. The people on the front lines—including the fabricators and pipe welders—don’t seem to be terribly worried. Some even welcome a slight slowdown, because it will give everyone time to catch up.
February 18, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.
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.
February 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston
Competing fabricators can invest in the same technology and software, but they can't employ the same people.
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.
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.