FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Blog Posts

Skills gap, or education gap?

December 11, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Government officials are paying more attention to manufacturing these days. It’s now politically prudent to preach the merits of reshoring, near-shoring, and the return of the “good manufacturing job.” Of course, this also puts more scrutiny on manufacturing as an industry. Are these good...

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A matter of trust - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

A matter of trust

December 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Trust is something that’s earned not only through hard work, but also by treating employees not as “direct labor hours,” but as, well, people.

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2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others

December 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Consumer spending is up. Even housing is up. Yes, pundits preach global uncertainty, even gloom and doom. But as owners of small or medium-sized businesses, metal fabricators have orders to fill, and next year many expect the volume of orders to continue or even increase a bit.

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Ironworker basics: Cut it clean - TheFabricator.com

Shearing | Articles

Ironworker basics: Cut it clean

December 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

How does an operator avoid distortion and burrs? For the ironworker’s common cutting stations--the punch, angle cutter, notcher, and plate shear--it boils down to matching the job at hand with some basic variables.

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Blog Posts

Thankful for the people of metal fabrication

November 19, 2012 | By Tim Heston

This Thursday my family will continue a long, albeit corny tradition. We go around the table and tell people what we’re thankful for. It’s a refreshing respite from all the dreary news--about China, the European mess, the Fiscal Cliff, and all the uncertainty and dysfunction from our nation’s...

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Blog Posts

At FABTECH 2012: Two people manufacturing will need

November 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

What a crowd in Las Vegas. Official attendance numbers, which are audited, aren't released yet, but early estimates are that today may have been one of FABTECH's most well-attended opening days. Vendors I spoke with were happy with the crowds, and attendees said their shops were busy. Some have...

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Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Taxes and the deficit: The perils of oversimplification

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, Lawrence, Kan., offers a reasonable look at taxes and what they mean to business planners.

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Beyond mere convenience - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Beyond mere convenience

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

As this Q&A with Plante Moran's Jeff Mengel reveals, an innovative approach to a customer relationship can lead to a very successful supply chain partnership.

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Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Growth opportunities worth trumpeting in manufacturing

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association 2012 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey is out, and it proves a lucrative career awaits those fabricators willing to put in the work to hone their skills.

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Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator - TheFabricator.com

Waterjet Cutting | Articles

Sales strategy drives growth at Minnesota Fabricator

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Managing a shop full of a great number of incredibly diverse, short-run, nonrepeat orders can be a complicated undertaking. Fedtech, a St. Paul, Minn., fabricator, stays on top of all the activity by giving customers a single point of contact. Upon receipt of an order, one person shepherds the job through production—from cradle to grave.

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How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart - TheFabricator.com

Laser Welding | Articles

How laser welding sets contract fabricator apart

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Estes Design and Manufacturing, Indianapolis, finds that laser welding produces a joint that is cosmetically appealing to customers. “We’re looking for an appearance that matches almost exactly the outside of a formed corner,” said Jay Reddick, the company's laser welding development manager.

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Capital spending forecast up again - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Capital spending forecast up again

November 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

According to the 2013 Capital Spending Forecast, to published by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, projected spending for U.S. metal fabricators climbed 4 percent over last year. The total amount is just shy of readers' projected spending before the recession.

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Waterjet Cutting | Podcasts

The virtue of spiders

November 5, 2012 | By Tim Heston

At Micron Metalworks in Ham Lake, Minn., Steve Jaeger has a vital job description. He's a spider—water spider in lean-manufacturing speak. Without Jaeger or other spiders like him on the floor, throughput would plummet.

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Why the little things matter - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Why the little things matter

November 2, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The issue for Laser Access employees wasn't getting the equipment running, it was the time they spent away from the machine, hunting for the right tools and material. That's why the Michigan shop took steps to keep the necessary tools nearby and neatly organized.

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Blog Posts

Busy or slow, manufacturer never stops improving

October 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston

If tragedy has a silver lining, it is that it brings everything else into stark clarity. Those who suffer usually either wallow or emerge triumphant. Chesterfield, Mo.-based Cambridge Engineering did the latter. As Vice President of Manufacturing Michael Mueller put it, “We had a new spirit, and...

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