FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Direct-diode lasers enter the sheet metal cutting arena

October 22, 2012 | By Tim Heston

CO2 gas lasers still dominate sheet metal cutting, but they aren’t the only game in town anymore. Solid-state lasers like the fiber and disk varieties--which use diode lasers to pump, or excite, the lasing medium--continue to have considerable market success. And now fabricators may have a new...

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The rebirth of a metal fabrication business - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

The rebirth of a metal fabrication business

October 19, 2012 | By Tim Heston

In September 2011, thanks to changing weather patterns and unintended consequences of water management, GT Fabrication was flooded yet again. The family business has been through this before. Why stay in the game? Because the metal fabrication community was there to help.

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Blog Posts

Fab reporter notebook: In lean manufacturing we trust

October 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Yesterday I spoke with a production manager (on background) with a not-so-uncommon challenge. He had been brushing up on the basics of continuous improvement, including lean manufacturing methodologies adapted for the high-mix, low-volume environment. All the talk of efficient part flow, shorter...

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Blog Posts

Opportunities worth trumpeting

October 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston

We all know wage growth in this country is next to nothing. It’s one reason why the presidential election season has been so contentious. Employees continue to work harder than ever, while employers hesitate to hire more. But metal fabricators and other manufacturers have another problem: Some...

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Back to shcool for welder - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Wisconsin fabricator ramps up in-house training

October 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

As the skilled labor crisis continued unabated, Schuette Metals launched a unique in-house training program. Sources said that more than anything else, good training will be key to the fabricator’s future success.

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A plate rolling primer - TheFabricator.com

Bending | Articles

A plate rolling primer

October 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The FABRICATOR talks with Jeff Visser, production managers at Avon, Mass.-based BEPeterson, about the basics of plate rolling operation. Plate rolling is part art, part science. It requires skill, and not just anyone can do the job right.

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Blog Posts

Why supply chain innovation matters

October 2, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Innovation has been said to be at the heart of business success, but in a contract fabrication shop that often doesn’t entail product design, where is that innovation? According to a recent publication by the consultancy Plante Moran, titled the 2012 Innovation Quotient Survey, innovation...

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