FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
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Rockford, IL 61107
Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012 - TheFabricator.com

Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012

January 10, 2012

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Manufacturing technology consumption took an unprecedented dive during the recession, but since then the industry has bounced back dramatically. In the metal fabrication arena, most technology categories are experiencing some healthy gains, as reported by the 2012 Capital Spending Forecast, a study compiled by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association.

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Industry flocks to FABTECH - TheFabricator.com

Industry flocks to FABTECH

January 6, 2012

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Despite economic uncertainties heading into 2012, the metal fabrication industry came out in full force at November’s FABTECH show. More than 35,000 walked the show floor, which featured more than a half million square feet of exhibit space.

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Heavy piercing with plasma - TheFabricator.com

Heavy piercing with plasma

January 4, 2012

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High-density plasma arc cutting can effectively cut thick plate. The most challenging aspect, in fact, is that initial pierce. To that end, a few basic strategies help overcome this challenge, allowing the plasma to pierce through inches of metal as effectively as possible.

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Manufacturing grows … again

January 3, 2012

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Maybe those long lines of attendees at the FABTECH trade show last year weren’t red herrings. The Institute for Supply Management reported significant growth in manufacturing last month, news significant enough to send stocks skyward. News coverage has been cautious, especially considering what...

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The power of finding a niche

December 13, 2011

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A few weeks ago at the FABTECH trade show in Chicago, I ran into (almost literally, in fact) Nathan McMasters, president of Diversified Metal Products, an Idaho Falls, Idaho-based contract fabricator specializing in products for the energy, transportation, and nuclear fields. Our five-minute chat...

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2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo - TheFabricator.com

2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo

December 9, 2011

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Positives and negatives probably will pepper the business climate in 2012. Manufacturing has led the economic recovery. Unemployment will remain high, and businesses will still seek technical talent. Equipment spending probably will continue apace. So will company acquisitions, but they won’t be as prevalent as they could be. . Mixed together, these ingredients make for a good news-bad news gumbo in 2012.

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Got milling? You’re hired. - TheFabricator.com

Got milling? You’re hired.

December 9, 2011

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A good machinist is hard to find. Why? It’s a mixture of factors. Machining suffers from the same image problem as the other manufacturing trades, so not enough people enter the field. But this country also lacks hands-on training programs.

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Lean thinking: Quality first, delivery second, price third

December 5, 2011

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This week I’m at LeanFAB, a Charlotte, N.C., lean manufacturing conference organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. When I pulled into the hotel parking lot this evening, I noticed a truck hauling equipment with a familiar logo: Vermeer, a Pella, Iowa, construction equipment...

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High mix, fast delivery--on time - TheFabricator.com

High mix, fast delivery--on time

November 18, 2011

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High-product-mix manufacturers may have problems with off-theshelf TOC, as described in Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal, a book that tells how a fictional company manages its operations around a constraint. In a high-mix, low-volume operation, the constraint actually may move around from job to job, because processing

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Growing health care revenue by selling direct - TheFabricator.com

Growing health care revenue by selling direct

November 18, 2011

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Midbrook, a Michigan fabricator of washing equipment, has worked hard to diversify outside of the automotive business. One key to its success has been its approach to selling to health care facilities. The fabricator has decided to circumvent traditional distributorship networks in health care.

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At FABTECH: The importance of coming home

November 17, 2011

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As I write this, FABTECH 2011 is about to close. For four days the floor has been full of some serious buyers. In the near-term, capital spending in metal fabrication is heading upward, with no sign of abating. The first three days alone had more than 31,000 visitors. Dozens of attendees have...

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From FABTECH: Changing minds

November 16, 2011

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“We are becoming a legitimate, export-oriented country.” So said Chris Kuehl, economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, at yesterday's economic forecast breakfast at FABTECH 2011. Judging by the high traffic today at the show—evidence of a major resurgence in capital...

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From FABTECH: About keeping parts busy

November 15, 2011

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At a Monday morning session at this year's FABTECH expo in Chicago, Rob McCann made a good point. A business development specialist at the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC) recalled how plant managers often call his organization (which receives funding from NIST) to increase...

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Metal fabrication, the Swiss way - TheFabricator.com

Metal fabrication, the Swiss way

November 8, 2011

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Switzerland’s manufacturers have no trouble finding citizens with technical skills; there just aren’t enough Swiss citizens. The country has a comprehensive apprenticeship program that helps prepare students for the working world.

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The ketchup-packet economy

October 25, 2011

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I’m not a big sports fan. There, I said it. But my wife is; most of my friends are; so are my parents. I’m the odd guy out, I suppose (or just plain odd).  But because I’m pretty much surrounded by people who love sports, I appreciate how the games affect us. They’re so compelling. Like...

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