FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

A tale of two companies

October 19, 2010

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times--and through it all, managers at two companies behaved very differently. First, there’s Brandon Fisher’s Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa., a few hours east of Pittsburgh, not far from some of the hilliest terrain on the Pennsylvania Turnpike....

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Equipment investment and hanging fruit

October 5, 2010

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Several weeks ago I visited Ometek Inc., a contract manufacturer near the Columbus, Ohio, airport. After reading the manufacturing news this week, I started thinking about the company’s bending department. Here’s why. This week the business world learned what it pretty much already knew. The...

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Automating the RFQ - TheFabricator.com

Automating the RFQ

October 4, 2010

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Robinson Laser recently sold its steel assets to Cargill and, as of 2010 is focusing entirely on the laser cutting of flat parts. To optimize operations, the organization essentially has automated its estimating process, from quick price checks to full- fledged request-for-quotes and order through a Web browser.

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New metal fabrication player touts high-value engineering - TheFabricator.com

New metal fabrication player touts high-value engineering

October 4, 2010

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A Baltimore job shop remained on the growth path throughout the recession by circumventing the traditional job bidding process and gaining a serious foothold in the export market.

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Shifting, not reducing, the tax burden

September 27, 2010

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The more rhetoric I hear this election season, the more I’m reminded just how little the government can do to fix the economy in the short term. It can pour money into shovel-ready projects, but those don’t seem to be long-term fixes, and they won’t right the ship in time for the midterm...

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Jobs are here, but qualified people aren’t

September 21, 2010

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Everyone says the U.S. government should foster an environment of job creation. I can’t argue with that. Thing is, some jobs are being created.  Employers just can’t find anybody to fill them. According to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the...

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Forming new possibilities with laser blanking - TheFabricator.com

Forming new possibilities with laser blanking

September 16, 2010

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If high-speed fiber lasers replace the traditional mechanical blanking press, they would open up new possibilities of blank designs optimized for the forming processes downstream.

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Lean inventory complements lean production - TheFabricator.com

Lean inventory complements lean production

September 16, 2010

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Controlling inventory, reducing setups, taking advantage of vendor managed inventory arrangements--add it all up, and one metal label manufacturer has become seriously efficient.

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Where the tool meets the sheet metal - TheFabricator.com

Where the tool meets the sheet metal

September 16, 2010

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Machine control really has defined what it means to be a metal fabricator. Boiled down, the job is about turning a design concept into a metallic reality, and the control interface is where the rubber hits the road.

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Fabricating focuses on the now

September 14, 2010

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Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St....

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Welding the fast and narrow - TheFabricator.com

Welding the fast and narrow

September 13, 2010

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Advancements in SAW concentrate on faster deposition rates and narrow-groove welding. And today's controls, power supplies, and consumables are meeting industry's demand for process efficiency.

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Consequences of a non-neutral Internet

August 31, 2010

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In recent weeks the Net neutrality debate took a turn--in what direction? Well, we’re not sure yet. Google, aka the “Don’t be Evil” corporation, came out and said network providers should follow Net neutrality, but only to a point. If Internet service providers (ISPs) need to muck with...

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Inventory, cash, quarters, and economic growth

August 26, 2010

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If you work at a Chicagoland shop and need to drive downtown, bring a few extra quarters for parking. According to a recent BusinessWeek article, the Windy City’s government received $1.15 billion from a deal with Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Allianz Capital Partners. In...

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How metal fabricators interact with customers

August 17, 2010

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Over the past year I’ve talked to various metal fabricators, from low-volume job shops to specialized manufacturers, and I’ve noticed one thread common to all of them: They’re all high-mix, short-run environments. Volumes vary; some companies process a greater number of short-run jobs than...

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Can lean manufacturing work in the job shop? - TheFabricator

Can lean manufacturing work in the job shop?

August 4, 2010

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Lean manufacturing has origins in the low-mix, high-volume world. But many job shops have successfully adapted the methodology to the high-mix, low-volume world. The key is to focus on operational commonalities.

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