FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Avoiding a manufacturing traffic jam

August 22, 2011

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When do more cars travel on the highway, before or during rush hour?  It’s rush hour, right? Well, it depends on how you interpret the question. During rush hour, plenty of cars flood the highway at once, but they all take more time to get where they’re going. In fact, there’s a good chance...

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Metal fabrication goes back to school

August 16, 2011

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Last week I spoke with Harry Moser, chairman emeritus of GF AgieCharmilles LLC, the machine tool company. He will speak at the upcoming FABTECH expo in Chicago about his Reshoring Initiative. Moser has developed Total Cost of Ownership Estimator software that breaks down the costs and risks of...

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Debate spending, not debt

August 8, 2011

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When Standard & Poor’s officially downgraded the U.S. credit rating on Friday, several conversations ran through my mind. One was with Vivek Gupta, managing director at Texas ProFab, a Dallas-area fabricator, who told me how conservative the company’s balance sheet was, and how the small...

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Metal Fabrication Industry: A portrait in prose - TheFabricator.com

Metal Fabrication Industry: A portrait in prose

August 1, 2011

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Three books together paint a good picture of this industry. It’s a combination of technical knowhow, pragmatism, down-to-earth humor, and big-picture thinking.

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How small batch sizes define modern manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

How small batch sizes define modern manufacturing

August 1, 2011

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The long-held belief that setups should be amortized over the largest possible lot sizes needs to change. As setup times become shorter, they become less relevant, and, according to some, so does the old notion of economic order quantities.

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Putting talent to work - TheFabricator.com

Putting talent to work

August 1, 2011

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Arin Inc. has evolved from a steel rule blanking house to a modern metal fabricator capable of producing precision, laser cut blanks. Bu workers can see history every day--a tool room for steel rule die remains, as do the mechanical presses. A tour of Arin's shop is a walk through time, a gallery showing what metal fabrication talent has produced over the decades.

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Fabricator finds path to skilled labor - TheFabricator.com

Fabricator finds path to skilled labor

August 1, 2011

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Crow Corp. had trouble finding the right person for the job, so company management took a bold step—and outsourced the hiring process. Today, the Houston-area fabricator is feeling the benefits.

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Design for manufacturability opens doors - TheFabricator.com

Design for manufacturability opens doors

August 1, 2011

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Dawson Doors, a fabricator in a small town in western New York, has developed a global presence in the high-end enclosure and door fabrication markets. By closely collaborating with customers, the unique fabrication company has continued to grow.

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Fabricator touts precision production - TheFabricator.com

Fabricator touts precision production

August 1, 2011

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Diversified Metal Products’ demanding niche—nuclear fabrication—spurred growth throughout the economic downturn. Its mix of production and one-off fabrication may give the contract fabricator a leg up in the years ahead.

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Shaking off the albatross of manufacturing’s image - TheFabricator.com

Shaking off the albatross of manufacturing’s image

August 1, 2011

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A northeastern job shop gets a new building and a complete makeover, with bright colors, a sleek front office, a quality assurance room that looks like a laboratory, and with it all, a new image.

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Flexible metal fabrication needs flexible people

July 26, 2011

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When I interviewed executives at Mayville Engineering Co., a seven-plant, 1,000-employee behemoth of a contract fabricator, I could tell the CEO Bob Kamphuis was proudest of one statistic. The company delivered on time over 99 percent of the time. On time delivery of quality parts lies at the...

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Manufacturing for the best minds of tomorrow

July 18, 2011

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It was refreshing to see the skilled-labor crisis--an issue near and dear to metal fabrication--grace the front page of the Sunday New York Times last week. It was the first in a weekly series called “Learn to Earn.” That’s such a great title. It hints at a pervasive problem. Recent grads may...

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The benefits of technical certification in metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

The benefits of technical certification in metal fabrication

July 18, 2011

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The prototype shop at International Gaming Technologies employs serious talent. They take a sheet metal part through the entire fabrication process, from laser cutting and bending to welding and grinding. To qualify for a job here requires technical knowhow about a variety of manufacturing processes. This is why management has decided to use FMA’s Precision Sheet Metal Operator certification as a benchmark.

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Project engineer changes careers, chooses metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

Project engineer changes careers, chooses metal fabrication

July 18, 2011

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Jacob Melton quit his desk job in Chicago, drove home to Houston, and with his father bought a metal fabrication company. Several years later, even after a severe recession, it turns out that was a smart career move.

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The industry needs “technical leaders”

July 14, 2011

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FMA survey reveals hiring managers are looking for technical leaders, those with technical knowhow with the ability to look beyond their individual work cell.

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