FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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