FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Materials Handling | Articles

The Erector set meets the material handling cart

November 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Three friends grew up in Sweden playing with LEGO®s and Erector sets. The creations they could make were endless, but their assembly method was pretty much standardized. Why, they asked, couldn’t a similar concept apply to material handling carts in a factory?

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Shop Management | Articles

Piecing together the continuous improvement puzzle

November 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Various improvement initiatives related to 5S, part flow, communication, management structure, and planning led to a stark change at Miller Welding & Machine Co., a contract fabricator in western Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, everything just clicked.

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Laser Welding | Articles

Welding small, and growing

November 7, 2014 | By Tim Heston

MicroArc Welding specializes in putting tiny welds on tiny parts. It’s all manual. It requires a careful touch that few people have. For MicroArc, an eight-person weld shop outside Boston, this tiny niche has led to big opportunity.

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Shop Management | Articles

What is good company culture, exactly?

November 6, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Good culture may boil down to giving people an opportunity to contribute beyond their traditional job description, and rewarding them for it.

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Punching and Other Holemaking | Articles

Going beyond commodity sheet metal perforation

November 5, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Accurate Perforating doesn’t just make holes anymore. It provides entire perforated and fabricated sheet metal components. The 200-employee Chicago manufacturer has done a lot to stand out in a consolidated sector.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The future of the medium-sized metal fabricator

November 5, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Small shops will be there for the small jobs; large shops are investing in equipment to compete; but what about the shop in the middle?

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Materials Handling | Articles

Reinventing the caster wheel

October 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

It sounds funny, but casters really are the wheels that assist in the smooth part flow that lean manufacturing demands.

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Shop Management | Articles

The human side of selling a business

October 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Cancer greatly altered the ownership sitatuation for GH Metal Solutions in 2005, but several years of hard work to put the company on a new growth path helped the fabricator to find just rhe right owner.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

White House shines spotlight on manufacturing

October 27, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The White House released a list of manufacturing initiatives today that involve various government agencies. A few programs in the release really stand out.

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Shop Management | Articles

Uncovering waste with an all-encompassing metric

October 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing critical-path time, MCT, is a broad metric that encompasses the entire enterprise. The shorter an organization's MCT, the more adaptable and successful it can be.

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Laser Cutting | Articles

Plasma cutting or laser cutting? How about both?

October 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Not all parts need the tight-tolernace edge that laser cutting provides; now a fabricator canhave the fine touch of laser cutting and the poweful force of plasma cutting for thicker materials in one machine.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles

Giving a welding robot some eyes

October 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Vision systems for a welding application usually are reserved for critical jobs associated with high costs of failure. New technology developments, however, may be introducing this technology to a new audience.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Cut, bend, weld, paint, assemble—box—and ship

October 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators didn't join the profession because they love packaging and shipping. A custom-box-making machine may be just the thing to allow them to focus on the fun stuff.

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Shop Management | Articles

Fabricating thin with photochemical etching

October 20, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Faspro Technologies identified a manufacturing need inthe alte 1990s that could be met with the use of photochemical etching technology. It has since built a successful business serving the electronics industry.

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Automation and Robotics | Blog Posts

The information age of automation

October 14, 2014 | By Tim Heston

These days automation and efficiency are givens. Today, more executives are talking about something that, in the high-product-mix world of metal fabrication, can be incredibly complex. They're talking about information.

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