FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Manufacturing: A modern-day Atlas

February 16, 2012

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Yesterday I visited an Atlanta-area fabricator that moved into a new facility two weeks ago. The company name says it all, really: Mitchell’s Specialized Fabrication. It’s a specialized fabricator of industrial tanks, pressure vessels, and piping run by Scott Mitchell, a no-nonsense,...

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Quick response ushers in triple-digit growth - TheFabricator.com

Quick response ushers in triple-digit growth

February 13, 2012

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Between 2007 and 2011 sales at Eugene, Ore.-based Mohawk Metal Co. grew 700 percent. During normal times such growth would be seen as uncontrollable, but the past few years haven’t been normal times.

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How a recession changes a market

February 1, 2012

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Length: 8:00

Tim Heston talks with Tony Bloom, co-owner of Mohawk Metal Co., a Eugene, Oregon, fabricator that took off on the growth path during the recession, and hasn't looked back since.

Length: 8 minutes Right-click to download

Manufacturing and the State of the Union

February 1, 2012

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For the past two years Mary Isbister, president of Wisconsin fabricator GenMet (one of The FABRICATOR’s past Industry Award winners), had a friendly bet with colleagues of the Manufacturing Council, a group that meets to propose ideas to Commerce Department Sec. John Bryson, who in turn reports...

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Tube bending, the lean way - TheFabricator.com

Tube bending, the lean way

February 1, 2012

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A Wisconsin tube bending shop takes an untraditional approach to the traditional job schedule--and thrives because of it.

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Busy times, busy shops

January 24, 2012

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I started this year with a spurt of shop visits-- a sorry excuse for my lack of blogging, but there it is. One high-mix, low-volume job shop is beginning the process of reorganizing its machines into cells: a sheet metal cutting machine next to a brake, next to hardware insertion. In a bold move,...

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Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012 - TheFabricator.com

Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012

January 10, 2012

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Manufacturing technology consumption took an unprecedented dive during the recession, but since then the industry has bounced back dramatically. In the metal fabrication arena, most technology categories are experiencing some healthy gains, as reported by the 2012 Capital Spending Forecast, a study compiled by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association.

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Industry flocks to FABTECH - TheFabricator.com

Industry flocks to FABTECH

January 6, 2012

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Despite economic uncertainties heading into 2012, the metal fabrication industry came out in full force at November’s FABTECH show. More than 35,000 walked the show floor, which featured more than a half million square feet of exhibit space.

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Heavy piercing with plasma - TheFabricator.com

Heavy piercing with plasma

January 4, 2012

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High-density plasma arc cutting can effectively cut thick plate. The most challenging aspect, in fact, is that initial pierce. To that end, a few basic strategies help overcome this challenge, allowing the plasma to pierce through inches of metal as effectively as possible.

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Manufacturing grows … again

January 3, 2012

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Maybe those long lines of attendees at the FABTECH trade show last year weren’t red herrings. The Institute for Supply Management reported significant growth in manufacturing last month, news significant enough to send stocks skyward. News coverage has been cautious, especially considering what...

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The power of finding a niche

December 13, 2011

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A few weeks ago at the FABTECH trade show in Chicago, I ran into (almost literally, in fact) Nathan McMasters, president of Diversified Metal Products, an Idaho Falls, Idaho-based contract fabricator specializing in products for the energy, transportation, and nuclear fields. Our five-minute chat...

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2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo - TheFabricator.com

2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo

December 9, 2011

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Positives and negatives probably will pepper the business climate in 2012. Manufacturing has led the economic recovery. Unemployment will remain high, and businesses will still seek technical talent. Equipment spending probably will continue apace. So will company acquisitions, but they won’t be as prevalent as they could be. . Mixed together, these ingredients make for a good news-bad news gumbo in 2012.

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Got milling? You’re hired. - TheFabricator.com

Got milling? You’re hired.

December 9, 2011

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A good machinist is hard to find. Why? It’s a mixture of factors. Machining suffers from the same image problem as the other manufacturing trades, so not enough people enter the field. But this country also lacks hands-on training programs.

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Lean thinking: Quality first, delivery second, price third

December 5, 2011

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This week I’m at LeanFAB, a Charlotte, N.C., lean manufacturing conference organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. When I pulled into the hotel parking lot this evening, I noticed a truck hauling equipment with a familiar logo: Vermeer, a Pella, Iowa, construction equipment...

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High mix, fast delivery--on time - TheFabricator.com

High mix, fast delivery--on time

November 18, 2011

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High-product-mix manufacturers may have problems with off-theshelf TOC, as described in Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal, a book that tells how a fictional company manages its operations around a constraint. In a high-mix, low-volume operation, the constraint actually may move around from job to job, because processing

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