FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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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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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