FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Skilled labor wants a safe workplace

August 28, 2012

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Just in time for election season (which, as a multiyear event now, is far longer than a season), a few advocacy groups are putting forth their views about what U.S. manufacturing needs. One of the most concise reports comes from the Georgia Tech and Council on Competitiveness, which released its...

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Fabricators scream for the skilled worker

August 21, 2012

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Last week I called a manager of a heavy fabrication operation. We chatted briefly, but after a few minutes he had to go. He told me six of his operators hadn’t shown up that morning, so shop managers were scrambling. Then I saw a headline on the front page of the Sunday New York Times:...

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Lean, mean, and made to order

August 9, 2012

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Length: 5:30

Horton Emergency Vehicles of Columbus, Ohio, adapts lean manufacturing to the custom-build assembly environment. Trucks are produced at consistent takt times, and yet every one that rolls off the line is different. Read more.

Metal fabrication financial benchmarking: The survival of the fastest

August 7, 2012

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How can a fabricator be successful these days? The common answer is that if a shop reduces labor costs, it can compete with the world. The story’s subtler than that--and a just-released financial benchmarking survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association reveals these subtleties....

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Putting a label on metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

Putting a label on metal fabrication

August 3, 2012

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Micron Metalworks is a classic precision sheet metal job shop, with short runs and numerous job changeovers. To optimize part flow and overall efficiency, it’s the little things that really matter--including a simple label on a drawer.

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How to wrap up packaging problems - TheFabricator.com

How to wrap up packaging problems

August 3, 2012

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A poorly packaged pallet of parts damaged in transit turns all that value-adding upstream activity--cutting, deburring, bending, welding, grinding, heat treating, plating, powder coating, hardware insertion, and assembly--into waste

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Set design meets advanced manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Set design meets advanced manufacturing

August 3, 2012

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A Broadway and TV set fabricator mixes set-building tradition with advanced manufacturing technologies, from welding and cutting to abrasive waterjet cutting. Complicating matters are the demands of modern performance media--especially high-definition broadcasts.

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Of course algebra is necessary

July 31, 2012

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Andrew Hacker certainly can spark a debate. If you get the New York Times, you would have turned to the first page of the opinion section and seen: Is algebra necessary? Hacker is an emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York. In his column, he questions...

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Turnaround time versus on-time delivery rates

July 24, 2012

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For years economic growth has been stuck in neutral. Economists are lowering their already low GDP growth projections for 2012. Regarding this, Julia Coronado, chief economist at BNP Paribas, gave Bloomberg an intriguing insight. “Things are so lean and mean, there aren’t a lot of excesses that...

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The soft skills of precision manufacturing

July 16, 2012

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In early 2010 I attended an event hosted by plasma cutting systems maker ITT Kaliburn, near Charleston, S.C. That's when I met Joe McNamara. He had led ITT heat transfer unit's plant near Buffalo, N.Y., through a major lean manufacturing transformation. A few weeks ago I caught up with McNamara,...

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Fabricating the American Dream - TheFabricator.com

Fabricating the American Dream

July 16, 2012

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What’s the current state of the American dream? So many seem to work hard and do everything right--but just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Metal fabricator revamps raw material purchasing strategy - TheFabricator.com

Metal fabricator revamps raw material purchasing strategy

July 16, 2012

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General Sheet Metal Works revamped the way it handles raw material purchases. Floor personnel now release specific orders, while the purchasing department communicates with suppliers about future demand and negotiates contracts. Most important, the company order just what it needs--and no more.

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Plantwide Communications at Jones Metal Products

July 13, 2012

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Length: 8:39

Mankato, Minn.-based Jones Metal Products partnered with PDP Solutions to launch a unique plantwide communication program, as Sarah Richards (pictured), Jones Metal CEO, explains. Read more.

Pi and K factors: The mathematical beauty of sheet metal

July 10, 2012

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I was never a math wiz, but I was blessed with good teachers. In high school, I remember sitting in Algebra II class and hearing one of my fellow students give a loud sigh before he raised his hand: “When will we ever use this?” My teacher shot back. “See the pencil you’re holding? The...

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Of fire and metal fabrication

July 3, 2012

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Manufacturing didn’t fare so well last month, falling just slightly into contraction territory, as measured by the Institute for Supply Management. The data support what a few shop owners have been telling me. “Business is softening.” That was Bruce Hupfer, director of technical sales at...

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