FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Blog Posts

Manufacturing Day, and the joy of making things

October 3, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing Day celebrates continuous improvement, excellence, and, perhaps most important, the tinkerer in us all.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Skilled labor crisis, or a crisis of character?

October 1, 2014 | By Tim Heston

We call it a "skilled labor crisis," but is it really about skill? Skills can be taught. The real challenge may be much broader.

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Safety | Articles

Why safety is personal at Michigan metal fabricator

September 29, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Sue Rollins takes safety personally, and for good reason. The quality assurance manager and safety coordinator at Genzink Steel, Holland Mich., has a life history greatly affected by workplace hazards. To be effective and to convey her message, she makes quality and safety personal.

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Shop Management | Articles

Having the right information at the right time

September 29, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Advanced Metal Components has endured tragedy and evolved into a major employer in rural Swainsboro, Ga. Part of it comes from having the right technology, but most of the company’s evolution has involved a perception change about inventory management.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

How to reduce subjectivity in continuous improvement

September 16, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing critical-path time, or MCT, puts a new perspective on activity across the enterprise. A job is either being worked on, or it's not. Period.

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Metals/Materials | Blog Posts

A shop floor that needs both the old and new

September 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Faspro Technologies has both the old and new: automated lasers and press brakes alongside rows of small manual presses. In a sense, the Arlington Heights, Ill., shop paints an accurate picture of modern manufacturing in the United States.

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Shop Management | Articles

Why similar fabricators can have very different financial results

August 28, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Contract metal fabricators may have similar assets and offer similar services, but have very different financial results. The differences may come from differing customer mixes, but it also comes from the fact that many shops have highly concentrated sources of revenue. Lose one big account, and financial results seriously suffer.

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Shop Management | Podcasts

Producing a little bit of everything, every day

August 19, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Legrand’s West Hartford, Conn., plant produces cable management systems and has been on a lean manufacturing journey since the early 1990s. Results of improvement efforts abound, including quick tool-change stations by the company’s punch presses. The FABRICATOR sat down with Michael Kijak, West Hartford plant manager and Rui Monteiro, one of the company’s lean managers, to talk about some of the highlights. Read the article.

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Metals/Materials | Blog Posts

Swindling, murder, and additive manufacturing

August 19, 2014 | By Tim Heston

A generation or two from now, additive manufacturing may have changed everything, but the technology doesn't have storybook origins.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Metal fabrication and the Internet of things

August 12, 2014 | By Tim Heston

If the majority of activities in a supply chain added value, what kind kind of world would that create?

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CAD/CAM Software | Articles

Lean data flow: From CAD to ERP to the shop floor

August 7, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators sell their ability to produce the right part in the right quantity and at the right time, and to do that requires good information. Communication troubles arise if front office systems don’t communicate with each other, and this can include CAD and ERP.

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Laser Welding | Articles

The transformative power of the laser

August 6, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The laser has helped define the modern precision metal fabrication industry, and this year’s Advanced Laser Applications Workshop shows just how far the laser has come. Blink once, and you miss another technological milestone.

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Shop Management | Articles

How to build a little of everything, every day

August 6, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Legrand’s West Hartford facility has been on the lean journey for several decades, and the journey hasn’t stopped. The focus continues to be on clear communication and documentation, good metrics, ergonomics and safety, staff incentives—and producing a little of everything every day.

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Materials Handling | Articles

Keeping pace with better ergonomics

August 4, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Every employee at Pentair operates under PIMS, or the Pentair Integrated Management System. PIMS encompasses everything from continuous improvement and hiring practices to safety and ergonomics. Concerning the last, the company instituted new material handling technology within a tightly run tank fabrication line in Delavan, Wis. The line has no WIP and, hence, little margin for error.

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Laser Welding | Articles

Stamping with a better idea

July 29, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Cleveland-based Stripmatic Products strives to add more customer value by focusing on additional operations and asking what else customers may need. This led the company to a unique setup involving a servo press and a fiber laser welding cell.

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