FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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Shop Management | Articles

FAB 40: Springs Fabrication and the ice house

June 27, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Springs Fabrication has humble beginnings, stereotypical of many successful American businesses. As it turns out, there's a reason that's a stereotype.

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Shop Management | Articles

FAB 40: Thinking as owners at D&S Manufacturing

June 27, 2014 | By Tim Heston

At D&S Manufacturing, the books are open, employees know how to read them, and they use this information when dreaming up new ways to improve.

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Shop Management | Articles

Fab 40: Impulse Manufacturing tackles downtime with data

June 27, 2014 | By Tim Heston

You can't improve something you don't measure. Impulse Manufacturing wants to cut down the time between jobs—specifically, between the last good part of the previous job to the first good part of the next job.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Lean manufacturing, line of sight, and old buildings

June 23, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Where are parts coming from, and where are they going? Line-of-sight issues plague older plants, full of walls to separate departments. But some companies have overcome this problem and adapted lean to fit very old work spaces.

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Laser Cutting | Articles

Cooking up fabrication with the fiber laser

June 23, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Atlanta Custom Fabrication focuses on the commercial kitchen industry, mainly cutting thin stainless. Its laser cutting wasn't a constraint process, but it needed excess cutting capacity to deal with demand variability. A new fiber laser has helped to resolve the problem.

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Arc Welding | Articles

FAB 40: Merrill Fabricators’ welding school fuels local talent base

June 19, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Merrill Fabricators takes an innovative approach to the skilled labor crisis, by launching and growing its own welding school not only to fill its own ranks, but also to help grow the broader manufacturing community.

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Shop Management | Articles

Maybe we all need a little boot camp

June 18, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Military vets with experience in fixing and maintaining equipment can be a valuable asset to high-product-mix fabricators. Their military experience helps them develop standards and processes out of the chaos.

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Shop Management | Articles

FAB 40: How Nu-Way Industries uncovered a new way

June 17, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The Illinois contract fabricator ramps up its efforts toward operational excellence.

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