FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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The world needs customers

August 2, 2010

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“What the world lacks is willing customers, not willing workers.” That statement in this week’s The Economist magazine may be one of the most insightful among all the worried economic chatter in the media these days. The magazine’s cover story this week covers the woes of the Chinese...

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Lights, camera, lean - TheFabricator

Lights, camera, lean--recording manufacturing efficiency

July 30, 2010

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Nexteer Automotive uses sports video software to track machine, part, and worker movement. During the past few years, the technology has been integral to Nexteer's lean-manufacturing initiatives.

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Streamlining press brake setups help transform a business - TheFabricator

Streamlining press brake setups help transform a business

July 30, 2010

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Streamlining bending operations at a Chicago area fabricator was instrumental in the company's lean manufacturing efforts. Batch sizes and lead-times both have plummeted in recent years.

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Cost-cutting here to stay

July 26, 2010

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“Caterpillar flaunts its muscle.” You’ve got to admit, that’s a great headline. After reading the story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, I thought back to a blog I wrote while sitting in the Las Vegas expo center’s coffee shop (which happened to have good Internet access), about 200...

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Fabricating more value

July 19, 2010

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I’m glad I talked with Drew Greenblatt last week. Otherwise, news of waning manufacturing output might have gotten to me. At Greenblatt’s company, Marlin Steel Wire Products, output certainly isn’t waning. The 28-employee contract manufacturer has grown throughout the recession, and much of...

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Irish material handling manufacturer looks beyond the island for growth - TheFabricator

Moving material beyond the Emerald Isle

July 13, 2010

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In April 2010, more than 100 wordsmiths from 30 countries traveled from as far away as New Zealand and Australia to the picturesque hills of County Monaghan, northwest of Dublin, to visit Combilift, a forklift manufacturer that manufactures locally, but sells globally.

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The thinking worker in manufacturing

July 8, 2010

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The country continues to fret about unemployment. Millions want jobs, and millions of business owners want those people to have jobs so that they’ll buy products. Most business owners, though, don’t want to be the ones hiring. That’s where the government has stepped in. Of course, government...

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Analyzing the potential of the solid-state laser - TheFabricator

Analyzing the potential of the solid-state laser

July 1, 2010

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Fiber lasers have enormous potential in metal fabrication. They aren't a panacea, but for certain applications, they may be extremely attractive. They're solid-state, require less maintenance, and often can cut twice as fast as their CO2 counterparts.

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Metal fabricators are true knowledge workers

June 28, 2010

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Last week DeWys Mfg., a metal fabricator based in west Michigan, launched a new Web site, and the content of that Web site is worth noting. The contract fabricator is touting its “circle of companies” concept, which is another way to describe the fact that DeWys is a one-stop shop for metal...

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Chinese currency and U.S. manufacturing

June 21, 2010

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An international economic chess game just got more interesting, and metal fabricators may one day see the benefits. Today the Chinese currency rose against the dollar 0.42 percent in Asia—not much, but that’s the biggest one-day gain in five years. This came after Chinese officials announced...

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Knowing the grammar of metal fabrication

June 15, 2010

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John McPhee is a hero of mine. As one of the best nonfiction writers out there, the Princeton professor and contributor to The New Yorker magazine can turn any subject into a pleasurable read. He’s written about geology, the merchant marines, physics—heck, even an entire book on oranges....

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