FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

2016 capital spending forecast in metal fabrication: The growth continues

November 30, 2015

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According to the “2016 Capital Spending Forecast” from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, total capital spending will edge up a little more than 2 percent next year. Still, certain equipment categories, including welding and bending, may experience dramatic gains.

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FABTECH 2015: The direct-diode laser and tuning the beam profile

November 23, 2015

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The direct-diode laser ups its presence at this year's FABTECH.

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FABTECH 2015: Stringing a digital thread through the manufacturing supply chain

November 20, 2015

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A "digital thread" extending up and down the manufacturing supply chain might sound like science fiction. But as evident at this year's FABTECH, the digital thread is becoming reality.

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FABTECH 2015: A metaphorical pit stop in the productivity race

November 19, 2015

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NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace was a hit at this year's show. Considering the nature of the sport, fast-paced while still rooted in advanced engineering, it's easy to see why attendees relate so well. And perhaps no one related better than those who exhibited at the show as part of an emerging field: 3-D printing.

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FABTECH 2015: Innovation to serve the company, not the process

November 18, 2015

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A certain excitement permeated this year's show, and it wasn't just about this incredibly fast laser, that press brake that eliminates setup time, or that welding power source that connects to the cloud and simplifies welding parameter selection. It was about how all these technologies and more can work together to make a shop better.

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FABTECH, community, and normalcy

November 17, 2015

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FABTECH was bigger than ever. The terrible news on Friday puts things in perspective, and yet shows just how valuable the "normalcy" of a trade show, and a healthy industry, really is.

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Manufacturing Fundamentals first, then improvement

November 10, 2015

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Sustaining improvement efforts remains difficult for many shops, but sustaining may not be so difficult with a foundation of good business fundamentals in manufacturing. This includes accurate bills of materials, accurate routings, good inventory control, a documented system for materials planning and procurement, concise business rules, and employee training.

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How SWOT and lean go together

November 5, 2015

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A SWOT analysis covers a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But how do you really define strengths and weaknesses? Much of it can come from data gleaned from a good flow assessment.

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Why machine monitoring matters

November 4, 2015

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Monitoring machine performance in real time is gaining traction in metal fabrication. MTConnect, a machine communication standard that has made serious headway in the machining arena, now has a toehold in the sheet metal business.

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Dutch metal fabrication: About flow

November 4, 2015

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One theme carried throughout a recent LVD press tour of custom fabricators in Holland: With fast changeover and the ability to access the right information at the right time, even a custom fabricator with the highest product mix can achieve smooth part flow.

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Know laser weld penetration—now

November 4, 2015

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Inline coherent imaging, or ICI, can monitor laser weld depth by measuring the distance to the bottom of the keyhole, providing realtime weld penetration feedback.

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Celebrating the people in manufacturing

November 4, 2015

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Manufacturing Day celebrates what’s at the heart of the real world of progressive manufacturing. It’s about people talking and working together to make their lives, and the lives of their customers, easier.

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How the master-and-apprentice relationship builds a skilled workforce

October 28, 2015

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New technology allows rookies to start making good parts right away, but that connection with experienced workers still needs to be there.

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How managing by valuation is changing Farris Fab

October 26, 2015

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Farris Fab has grown to become a $24.5 million enterprise. Within the past year company leaders have started to manage by valuation. They have no intention to sell, but maximizing the value of the company also happens to improve the overall operation.

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A new spin on welding

October 19, 2015

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SpinArc, a kind of gas metal arc welding, rotates the wire at a controlled speed, diameter, and direction. This feature reportedly improves weld quality and productivity, and it makes more types of weld joints possible.

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