FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
laser photonics

Laser Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Laser photonics meets shop floor pragmatism

February 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Pragmatism rules the day at Directed Light, a job shop focusing on a wide range of industrial laser applications, from UV to far-infrared.

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stamping

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014 | By Tim Heston

At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

The factory worker stigma

January 29, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The factory worker—that is, the skilled technician—makes the products others have researched and engineered, and you can’t have a domestic manufacturing industry without them.

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Blog Posts

Passing on the torch in metal fabrication

January 20, 2014 | By Tim Heston

The boomer generation is retiring, and they’ll need to hand off the torch to somebody. The big question is who.

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Photo Welders

Arc Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Where the best welders go, and why

January 13, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Why aren’t wages rising for welders even though companies say they can’t find skilled welders? Why is welding still one of the most difficult skills for fabricators to hire? What can fabricators do to find the best welding talent?

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Press brake training helps build a foundation for success - TheFabricator.com

Bending | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Press brake training helps build a foundation for success

January 2, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Robbins Manufacturing of Fall River, Wis., has invested in an extensive training program, including machine-specific training, especially on the press brake. The company also has invested heavily in new technology, including a brake with automatic tool change. Both investments are paying off.

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Blog Posts

A trade meritocracy

December 16, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Last week, when I visited Fisher-Barton South Carolina, Alex Robertson, business development manager, showed me a part on the shipping dock—a part he was proud of. The contract manufacturer had won the job about eight months ago. And it beat a quote from a stamper and fabricator in India....

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Blog Posts

Laser cutting: The headwater of metal manufacturing

December 10, 2013 | By Tim Heston

During the past few years the industry has seen some incredible productivity gains in the laser cutting arena. Solid-state fiber and disk lasers are starting to dominate the FABTECH® show, and companies are beginning to tout the technology not just for thin sheet cutting, but for plate cutting as...

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Blog Posts

Economist at FABTECH: Invest now and reap the benefits

December 5, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators may look back at 2013 as a turning-point year, an initial ramp-up period that may be follow. At least, that was the picture keynote speaker Alan Beulieu painted at this year’s FABTECH in Chicago, Nov. 18-21. Popular perception has it that the U.S. is in the middle of a long, slow,...

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Hinging Success—on Hinges - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Hinging Success—on Hinges

December 2, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Midlake grew from a small garage shop to a precision sheet metal manufacturer with an unusual focus--on hinges.

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Big improvements in a short time - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Big improvements in a short time

December 2, 2013 | By Tim Heston

A.J. Antunes started down the path of lean manufacturing about a year ago. Its managers say they are in the "baby steps" of lean--but those steps have been pretty big.

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2014 forecast: The big question mark - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

2014 forecast: The big question mark

December 1, 2013 | By Tim Heston

2014 could be a banner year for the metal fabricaton business, or it could be a dud. Uncertainty reigns, and at the end of 2013, most of it focused on Washington.

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How one job shop retains skilled talent - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How one job shop retains skilled talent

November 25, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Southern Metalcraft Inc.’s average employee tenure is 20 years. Speaking on a shop tour during The FABRICATOR’s 2013 Technology Summit, the company founder described why employees rarely leave.

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Blog Posts

A reporter’s notebook from FABTECH

November 20, 2013 | By Tim Heston

FABTECH® is on. It’s big---well on track to be the largest to date. Before Thursday’s close, it’s anticipated that more than 35,000 will walk the halls of McCormick Place. It’s flashy. Solid-state lasers are cutting thin, but also thick stock. I saw a 1-micron laser slice through 1 inch...

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