FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

At FABTECH: The importance of coming home

November 17, 2011

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As I write this, FABTECH 2011 is about to close. For four days the floor has been full of some serious buyers. In the near-term, capital spending in metal fabrication is heading upward, with no sign of abating. The first three days alone had more than 31,000 visitors. Dozens of attendees have...

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From FABTECH: Changing minds

November 16, 2011

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“We are becoming a legitimate, export-oriented country.” So said Chris Kuehl, economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, at yesterday's economic forecast breakfast at FABTECH 2011. Judging by the high traffic today at the show—evidence of a major resurgence in capital...

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From FABTECH: About keeping parts busy

November 15, 2011

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At a Monday morning session at this year's FABTECH expo in Chicago, Rob McCann made a good point. A business development specialist at the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC) recalled how plant managers often call his organization (which receives funding from NIST) to increase...

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Metal fabrication, the Swiss way - TheFabricator.com

Metal fabrication, the Swiss way

November 8, 2011

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Switzerland’s manufacturers have no trouble finding citizens with technical skills; there just aren’t enough Swiss citizens. The country has a comprehensive apprenticeship program that helps prepare students for the working world.

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The ketchup-packet economy

October 25, 2011

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I’m not a big sports fan. There, I said it. But my wife is; most of my friends are; so are my parents. I’m the odd guy out, I suppose (or just plain odd).  But because I’m pretty much surrounded by people who love sports, I appreciate how the games affect us. They’re so compelling. Like...

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Time is money--so, so much money - TheFabricator.com

Time is money--so, so much money

October 20, 2011

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Quick-response manufacturing (QRM) focuses on what’s called the “manufacturing critical path time,” or MCT. In manufacturing, time is money--in fact, it’s a lot more money than many realize. Rajan Suri uncovers why in his new book

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Need a light--now? - TheFabricator.com

Need a light--now?

October 20, 2011

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Phoenix Products Co.--a high-mix, low-volume lighting products manufacturer--has implemented an improvement methodology called quick-response manufacturing, and realized dramatic improvements in lead-times. One light fixture that used to take eight weeks to manufacture now only takes two.

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Wet dust collection snuffs hazards of industrial dusts - TheFabricator.com

Wet dust collection snuffs hazards of industrial dusts

October 20, 2011

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Metal manufacturers use wet filter systems for two reasons: to collect combustible metal dust and to filter particulate in heavy-sparking applications. Applications like deburring and grinding can involve both combustible metal particulate and heavy sparking--and for these applications wet dust collection systems can help mitigate inherent health and safety risks.

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Fabricator takes a team approach to job management - TheFabricator.com

Fabricator takes a team approach to job management

October 20, 2011

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Anderson Dahlen is a precision sheet metal job shop. It’s an industrial contractor that designs and fabricates entire systems for the processing sector, everything from mixing systems for the chemical industry to holding tanks for dairy plants. It also fabricates architectural metal for commercial construction. In other words, the company doesn’t fit neatly into one category. Managers know this, which is why they’ve developed a unique approach to job management that centers on teams

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Manufacturers to unemployed: We are hiring

October 18, 2011

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“There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.” That’s a quote from bestselling author Seth Godin from his latest book, Linchpin, in which he describes how the best, most satisfied workers these days have become indispensible. They take initiative,...

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Trumpet

Brass instrument manufacturing: How metal makes music

October 10, 2011

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Getzen Co. uses 200-year-old technology to make its high-end trumpets and trombones. Walking into the company’s Elkhorn, Wis., facility is a bit like walking into a metalworking museum. Here, worker experience and skill reign supreme.

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Manufacturing is not farming

September 27, 2011

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In manufacturing, fewer Americans are producing more. The output keeps growing, the employment numbers keep shrinking, and this spurs people to think about corn and soybeans. The same thing that happened to farming--which employs so few but produces so much--is happening to manufacturing. But...

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Manufacturing: The most powerful jobs engine of all

September 13, 2011

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On Sunday The New York Times business section put a metal fabricator front-and-center. The reporter visited Vermeer, a Pella, Iowa, manufacturer of heavy equipment--and a manufacturer The FABRICATOR covered several years ago. The Times reporter pointed out that “as president Obama urges Congress...

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How a shop devoted to improvement improved - TheFabricator.com

How a shop devoted to improvement improved

September 13, 2011

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At a major automotive OEM, a support operation is devoted to continuous improvement projects for the assembly line, fabricating items as needed to make life easier for line workers. Unfortunately, the improvement shop wasn’t very organized. As managers soon realized, it was time to improve the improvement shop.

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How the sales function became so important - TheFabricator.com

How the sales function became so important

September 13, 2011

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Fred Wilke of Wilke Enginuity knows how important the sales function is. Small jobs helped the company grow, but in 2007 they were looking to take the company to the next level. It was time to concentrate on the larger contracts. Then the recession happened.

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