FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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Laser Welding | Articles

Tough optics for extreme laser welding

July 29, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Engineers at EWI have developed laser welding optics tailored for high-power applications.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

A new kind of skilled workforce

July 28, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The need for skilled worker continues unabated, but the issue has many wrinkles of complexity. For one, technology has changed the nature of the job.

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Shop Management | Articles

A matter of asking the right questions

July 28, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Some purchasers may view a fabricated metal product as a commodity, and if it’s a simple enclosure or flat piece-part, it may well be. But they’re not buying products, really. They’re buying expertise, both in fabrication and in capacity management.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The complex reality of business spending

July 22, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Business spending is a complex animal, and it's difficult to sum it up in a few charts.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The importance of process innovation

July 9, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing is getting a lot of attention in Washington. Proposals abound about pushing new products and technologies from R&D to the market. But when it comes to a purely employment perspective, process innovation—including continuous improvement—may be even more important.

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Finishing | Articles

From looms to thermal spray to laser cladding

June 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Hayden Corp. has persevered over a century of change. It began as a supplier of wire cloth sold to the papermaking industry. Now it makes use of some of the most advanced surfacing technologies available.

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Laser Cutting | Articles

Cutting clean with 1-micron laser optics

June 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The high-brightness 1-micron cutting laser is redefining productivity in metal fabrication. The laser’s good absorption helps it cut faster with less power. It also means that keeping optics clean and dust-free is essential.

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