FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

The competitive cluster in metal fabrication

December 13, 2012

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A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out the strength of U.S. manufacturing when it comes to--get ready for the technical jargon--“big stuff.” By that the Journal reporter meant mining equipment and heavy machinery. Economist Chris Kuehl pointed out this fact in a recent edition of...

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Unions, right-to-work laws, and technical training

December 12, 2012

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On Dec. 20, 1936, workers at a  GM plant in Flint, Mich., had enough--and sat down. Many consider that sit-down strike in 1936 as the impetus for the modern labor movement. That made yesterday’s news more poignant--when Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature made Michigan a right-to-work state. People...

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Skills gap, or education gap?

December 11, 2012

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Government officials are paying more attention to manufacturing these days. It’s now politically prudent to preach the merits of reshoring, near-shoring, and the return of the “good manufacturing job.” Of course, this also puts more scrutiny on manufacturing as an industry. Are these good...

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A matter of trust - TheFabricator.com

A matter of trust

December 3, 2012

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Trust is something that’s earned not only through hard work, but also by treating employees not as “direct labor hours,” but as, well, people.

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2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others - TheFabricator.com

2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others

December 3, 2012

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Consumer spending is up. Even housing is up. Yes, pundits preach global uncertainty, even gloom and doom. But as owners of small or medium-sized businesses, metal fabricators have orders to fill, and next year many expect the volume of orders to continue or even increase a bit.

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Ironworker basics: Cut it clean - TheFabricator.com

Ironworker basics: Cut it clean

December 3, 2012

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How does an operator avoid distortion and burrs? For the ironworker’s common cutting stations--the punch, angle cutter, notcher, and plate shear--it boils down to matching the job at hand with some basic variables.

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Thankful for the people of metal fabrication

November 19, 2012

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This Thursday my family will continue a long, albeit corny tradition. We go around the table and tell people what we’re thankful for. It’s a refreshing respite from all the dreary news--about China, the European mess, the Fiscal Cliff, and all the uncertainty and dysfunction from our nation’s...

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At FABTECH 2012: Two people manufacturing will need

November 12, 2012

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What a crowd in Las Vegas. Official attendance numbers, which are audited, aren't released yet, but early estimates are that today may have been one of FABTECH's most well-attended opening days. Vendors I spoke with were happy with the crowds, and attendees said their shops were busy. Some have...

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Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification - TheFabricator.com

Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification

November 9, 2012

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Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, Lawrence, Kan., offers a reasonable look at taxes and what they mean to business planners.

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Beyond mere convenience - TheFabricator.com

Beyond mere convenience

November 9, 2012

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As this Q&A with Plante Moran's Jeff Mengel reveals, an innovative approach to a customer relationship can lead to a very successful supply chain partnership.

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Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing

November 9, 2012

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association 2012 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey is out, and it proves a lucrative career awaits those fabricators willing to put in the work to hone their skills.

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Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator - TheFabricator.com

Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator

November 9, 2012

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Managing a shop full of a great number of incredibly diverse, short-run, nonrepeat orders can be a complicated undertaking. Fedtech, a St. Paul, Minn., fabricator, stays on top of all the activity by giving customers a single point of contact. Upon receipt of an order, one person shepherds the job through production—from cradle to grave.

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How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart - TheFabricator.com

How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart

November 9, 2012

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Estes Design and Manufacturing, Indianapolis, finds that laser welding produces a joint that is cosmetically appealing to customers. “We’re looking for an appearance that matches almost exactly the outside of a formed corner,” said Jay Reddick, the company's laser welding development manager.

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Capital spending forecast up again - TheFabricator.com

Capital spending forecast up again

November 9, 2012

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According to the 2013 Capital Spending Forecast, to published by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, projected spending for U.S. metal fabricators climbed 4 percent over last year. The total amount is just shy of readers' projected spending before the recession.

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The virtue of spiders

November 5, 2012

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Length: 4:00

At Micron Metalworks in Ham Lake, Minn., Steve Jaeger has a vital job description. He's a spider—water spider in lean-manufacturing speak. Without Jaeger or other spiders like him on the floor, throughput would plummet.