FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Tube bending, the next generation - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Tube bending, the next generation

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.

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Mr. Bureaucracy, tear down this wall

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...

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The real costs behind miscommunication

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,...

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Focusing on information waste

January 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Yesterday the Brookings Institution, along with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, proposed a program that would involve the federal government designating 20 “manufacturing universities” to prepare students for the sectors that need engineering help. Most intriguing, perhaps...

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Taxes, skilled workers, and certainty

January 10, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Will a new employee perform well? What will the new tax environment be? These challenges and more create levels of uncertainty that drive business decisions.

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Fabricating with purpose - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Fabricating with purpose

January 10, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Cambridge Engineering made the transition from batch manufacturing that threw labor at production problems to one-piece flow and continuous improvement. A good corporate culture played a critical role.

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Metal fabricating with focus amid chaos

January 8, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Early last year, I recall eating lunch in the break room at Atlanta-based Metcam, which hosted a press brake training seminar run by Steve Benson and organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. Sitting across from me was a press brake supervisor, we chatted a bit about his tours...

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Taiwan’s river of commerce - TheFabricator.com

Stamping | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Taiwan’s river of commerce

January 7, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Taiwanese metal manufacturers have grown from small, family involved entrepreneurial shops to world-class suppliers of parts and technology.

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A thanks to you all

December 17, 2012 | By Tim Heston

When I visit a contract metal fabricator, often the focus really isn’t about the metal parts or the fancy machinery. It’s about co-workers, who often happen to be family members. Some aren’t blood relatives, but they might as well be. There’s a real sense of community at these shops. I’ve...

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The competitive cluster in metal fabrication

December 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out the strength of U.S. manufacturing when it comes to--get ready for the technical jargon--“big stuff.” By that the Journal reporter meant mining equipment and heavy machinery. Economist Chris Kuehl pointed out this fact in a recent edition of...

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Unions, right-to-work laws, and technical training

December 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

On Dec. 20, 1936, workers at a  GM plant in Flint, Mich., had enough--and sat down. Many consider that sit-down strike in 1936 as the impetus for the modern labor movement. That made yesterday’s news more poignant--when Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature made Michigan a right-to-work state. People...

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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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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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