FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

How millennials will make a difference

February 28, 2014


Millenials have gotten a bad reputation. But the best of them may find a metal fabrication career extremely rewarding.

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The few, the proud, the small-shop employee

February 19, 2014


Small businesses drive this economy, and a large portion of metal fabricators fit proudly into this group. They’re the real engine behind innovation and prosperity, and when it comes to job creation, nothing comes close. Right? Well, maybe not so much, at least when it comes to job creation.... Continue Reading


Mission-critical metal fabrication

February 17, 2014


No matter how eye-popping the technology, the means of getting a job done is secondary; the result is primary. This is where General Tool Co.'s "team of experts" appraoch comes into play.

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ESAB parent to acquire Victor Technologies

February 13, 2014

A welding and cutting equipment company with significant presence in Europe and South America is set for a bump in market share stateside. On Feb. 12 ESAB’s parent, Colfax Corp., based in Fulton, Md., announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to buy St. Louis, Mo.-based Victor...

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laser photonics

Laser photonics meets shop floor pragmatism

February 10, 2014


Pragmatism rules the day at Directed Light, a job shop focusing on a wide range of industrial laser applications, from UV to far-infrared.

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How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014


At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014


The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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The factory worker stigma

January 29, 2014


I wish President Obama knew more people like Steve Flesner. The vice president of business units at BEPeterson, a diversified heavy fabricator south of Boston, worked at a machine shop through high school, went to school for electrical engineering, and eventually landed a job at Nooter Corp. near... Continue Reading

Passing on the torch in metal fabrication

January 20, 2014


During a fabricator conference hosted by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International®, last year, a shop owner came up to compliment FMA on the event (a LeanFab workshop, focused on lean manufacturing). We started chatting, and he recalled a certain similarity among all the fab shop... Continue Reading

Photo Welders

Where the best welders go, and why

January 13, 2014


Why aren’t wages rising for welders even though companies say they can’t find skilled welders? Why is welding still one of the most difficult skills for fabricators to hire? What can fabricators do to find the best welding talent?

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Press brake training helps build a foundation for success -

Press brake training helps build a foundation for success

January 2, 2014


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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A trade meritocracy

December 16, 2013


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.... Continue Reading

Georgia Trade School attracts a new audience to welding

December 13, 2013


Length: 5:15

Executive Director Ryan Blythe (left), Senior Weld Instructor Elaine Waters, and Vice President and CWI Sean Quinton have taken a focused, hands-on approached with Georgia Trade School, a private welding school.

Laser cutting: The headwater of metal manufacturing

December 10, 2013


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... Continue Reading

Economist at FABTECH: Invest now and reap the benefits

December 5, 2013


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,... Continue Reading