April 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston
When it comes to the economy, everyone may be fretting about unknowns, yet manufacturing still is making headlines--this week on TIME magazine’s cover. The article tells a familiar story: Manufacturing is back, but don’t expect the industry to hire people en masse. Automation has reduced the...
April 12, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Tie Down Engineering and its contract fabrication division, Industrial Laser Solutions, has made significant machinery investments in recent years, including a several solid-state fiber and disk lasers as well as a press brake with automatic bend angle correction. Driving the investment is the shop's increased use of thinner but lighter high-strength steel.
April 8, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Everyone knows that metal fabricators need to be good at quick turnarounds. Super Steel became just that, hitting the financial skids in 2009 and transforming itself into a quick-turn fabricator and key manufacturing supplier to the freight rail industry in just three years.
March 19, 2013 | By Tim Heston
So said Don McNeeley, president and COO, Chicago Tube & Iron Co., and professor at Northwestern University, speaking Feb. 27 at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit in Palm Harbor, Fla. After conversations with various fabricators since then, most tend to agree with him. Business is OK, not...
March 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Everyone has personal problems at some point of their lives, and those problems can affect productivity at work. In this sensitive area, workplace chaplains may be able to help.
March 12, 2013 | By Tim Heston
In an upcoming print edition of The FABRICATOR, columnist Dick Kallage, principal at KDC & Associates, Barrington, Ill., asks this fundamental question: Why do customers buy from you? As Kallage explains, “the answer often revolves around soft, generalized terms, such as quality, precision,...
March 7, 2013 | By Tim Heston
A high-product-mix manufacturer chooses robotized bending not because it lacked a skilled workforce, but because it wanted to make the best use of the talented workforce it already had.
March 4, 2013 | By Tim Heston
What happens when you get more than 150 fabricators from across the country in one room? Ideas start flowing. Unlike three years ago, attendees at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit this year spoke of expansion and capacity challenges. During a roundtable discussion, one operations manager spoke...
March 1, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Innovation has been said to be at the heart of business success, but in a contract fabrication company that often doesn't work with product development or design, where is that innovation? According to Jeff Mengel, partner and a leader in Plante Moran's manufacturing group, innovation doesn't apply to just products. It can also be about changing a customer relationship. Read the article.
March 1, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Elizabeth Kautzmann, chairman of FMA’s Industrial Laser Council, keeps one eye on laser technology and another eye on a part’s overall processing time.
February 26, 2013 | By Tim Heston
This afternoon I’ll be boarding a plane to Tampa, Fla., for The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit. I’m biased, of course, but the industry conference remains one of my favorites. Talk centers on the many joys and challenges of running a metal fabrication business. Industry leaders discuss...
February 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston
A tube bending shop with roots that go back to the Gemini and Apollo missions looks far different today than it did eight years ago.
February 12, 2013 | By Tim Heston
This morning I talked with Paul Luber, CEO of Milwaukee-based Super Steel, a contract fabricator on a serious rebound. In 2010 the company went into receivership. Now, the fabricator recently has completed a serious growth spurt--it doubled revenue in just 12 months--and is preparing for 15 percent...
February 7, 2013 | By Tim Heston
Employees at CR Metal Products were worried last year. Machines weren't running constantly, and the shop seemed empty. Thing was, 2012 was one of CR Metal's best years, and managers attribute much of the success to an improvement method called quick-response manufacturing. Read the article.
January 22, 2013 | By Tim Heston
At the last FABTECH® show, I ran into an engineer who works for GE Appliance & Lighting, looking for products that would speed that all-important art-to-part time--that all-important product-development time. Their comments make sense in light of recent growth of the company’s Louisville,...