FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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

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

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

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

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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Blog Posts

The future of the laser in metal fabrication

November 12, 2013 | By Tim Heston

This time next week I’ll be walking the floor at McCormick Place, seeing what’s new, what’s unusual, and perhaps a little about what the future holds in metal fabrication. Even after years covering FABTECH®, I feel like a kid at a candy store. Sometimes I think about what the industry will...

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The potential of collaborative manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

The potential of collaborative manufacturing

November 6, 2013 | By Tim Heston

As globalization took hold in recent decades, Tony Chirchirillo was keenly aware of how many viewed manufacturing. He decided to change that perception in an unconventional way—by forming a network of noncompeting, complementary companies.

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A metal fabricator’s quiet transition - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

A metal fabricator’s quiet transition

November 6, 2013 | By Tim Heston

The management buyout of the Schott metal fabrication division was, for many employees, a quiet affair. But transitioning to become an independent enterprise did call for major changes behind the scenes.

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Going cellular: A year later - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

How cellular manufacturing can work in contract manufacturing

November 5, 2013 | By Tim Heston

For the past year one contract fabricator in Georgia has operated under the cellular manufacturing concept. Even in the shop’s high-product-mix environment, the concept is working—even thriving.

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Blog Posts

How lean manufacturing makes labor more valuable

October 29, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Last week I flew to Chicago to attend LeanFab Workshop & Tours, a continuous improvement event devoted to the metal fabrication business, organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. Dick Kallage of Barrington, Ill.-based KDC & Associates (and monthly...

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Shop Management | Podcasts

How to Double Revenue Over 12 Months

October 23, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Senior Editor Tim Heston talks with Frank Cucchiara, general manager at Gap Partners Inc., about how the contract fabricator, nestled amid the north Georgia mountains, doubled revenue over 12 months. Read the article.

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Blog Posts

Sausage-making at its best and worst

October 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston

When it comes to government, I don’t particularly want to know about the sausage-making—the bargaining, arguing, and deals made (and now almost always required) to get anything accomplished. I know reading about it would just infuriate me, because inside the beltway, at least, it seems that...

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How top performing metal fabricators get it done - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

How top performing metal fabricators get it done

October 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

FMA’s recently released Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey digs deep into the numbers. The results give a realistic view of the industry and reveal how successful its top performers can be.

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Roll form and shine bright - TheFabricator.com

Roll Forming | Articles

Roll form and shine bright

October 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

As revenue tumbled nearly 80 percent during the downturn, OMCO’s sales team searched for new markets that could carry them through the tough times and beyond. Ultimately, they found a sector that grew faster than anyone expected. They found solar.

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