FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Blog Posts

Metal fabrication, patent pending

June 26, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Welders and other workers at The Roberts Co. in Winterville, N.C.--part of this year’s FAB 40 list of successful contract fabricators--are used to signing secrecy agreements from customers. Dave Staskelunas, the company’s vice president of fabrication services, said that more and more customers...

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The vitality of purposeful work - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

The vitality of purposeful work

June 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The median age of the Vita Needle emloyee is 73. The company practices what one anthropologist calls eldersourcing. Considering the knowledge they've gained over the years, the elderly may become one of metal fabrication's greatest assets.

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Keeping up with the Joneses - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Keeping up with the Joneses

June 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Jones Metal Products has deep roots in Mankato, Minn. It began as an industrial fabricator, which took rough concepts and saw them through design, fabrication, and installation. Today, the company in one sense is following that tradition.

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The FAB 40: It's delivery time - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

The FAB 40: It's delivery time

June 13, 2012 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

The FABRICATOR's FAB 40 suggests that the manufacturing revival in the U.S. is alive and well.

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Being big, acting small - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Being big, acting small

June 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Minnesota fabricator rebrands itself, standardizes operations, and remains nimble, even after years of aggressive growth. Managers expect the firm to grow another 18 percent this year. That’s not small potatoes for one of the country’s largest contract metal fabricators.

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Blog Posts

The pruned metal fabrication supply base

June 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Natural disasters turn people’s thoughts toward risk. Last year, between floods and tornados and other Weather Channel fodder, I visited several fabricators told me about their customers’ concerns about mitigating supply chain risk. For years, large OEMs have pruned their supply chains to the...

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Fabricate, install, maintain - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Fabricate, install, maintain

June 8, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The Roberts Co. isn’t a heavy industrial metal fabricator. It’s not a erector, general contractor, maintenance services provider, or engineering firm. It’s all of the above.

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Blog Posts

A metal fabricator and a Vega

June 7, 2012 | By Tim Heston

For years he spent time on the floor working the fabrication equipment of the day, punching sheet metal using a traditional duplicator stylus. He climbed the ladder to night shift supervisor, and then moved on to other manufacturers, working in sales and shop management; some jobs were great,...

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Safety | Podcasts

Safety trumps all at E.J. Ajax

May 31, 2012 | By Tim Heston

At this Minneapolis metal fabricator and stamper, safety isn't a race or competition. It just is, sewn into the fabric of the workday. Safety trumps all because family trumps all. But it wasn't always that way, as E.J. Ajax company President Erick Ajax explains. Read more about this company.

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Blog Posts

Fabricating the American Dream

May 29, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Many are rethinking the American Dream these days, especially over Memorial Day. The dream, however idealistic, is worth fighting for. But what is that dream, exactly? National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro put it this way: “Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests...

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Blog Posts

The model of a modern major fabricator

May 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Steve Wiseman is honest. “We’ve forecast about a 15 percent growth this year, but mind you that 2011 was terrible for us.” The vice president of operations at Nu-Way Industries--part of our Fab 40 list of top U.S. fabricators, to be featured next month--knew that when the AT&T and...

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Blog Posts

The great asset of a graying manufacturing work force

May 8, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Earlier this week I spoke with Frederick Hartman at Needham, Mass.-based Vita Needle, a company unique in several respects. The metal fabricator allowed Caitrin Lynch, associate professor of anthropology at the Olin College of Engineering, also in Needham, to spend five years at the stainless steel...

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How CRM can help— and not hinder—the sales rep - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

How CRM can help— and not hinder—the sales rep

May 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Customer relationship management, or CRM, software has a bad reputation. Many consider CRM to be simply a burden on salespeople. Nex Solutions’ CRM doesn’t fit the software implementation stereotype. The platform isn’t all-encompassing; for example, it doesn’t link sales reports to quoting systems, accounting, scheduling, or other modules that might go into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or manufacturing execution system (MES). Instead, it simply helps salespeople be more responsive and build relationships with existing and potential customers.

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Blog Posts

Private equity and the fabricator

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The Roberts Co., a major industrial fabricator in the Southeast and one of this year's FAB 40 companies (to be published in our June issue), probably wouldn't be the company it is today without Private Equity. Since Main Street Resources purchased the company in 2008, just months before the...

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The importance of coming home - TheFabricator.com

Safety | Articles

The importance of coming home

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Minnesota-based E.J. Ajax has been recognized as one of the safest metal stamping plants in North America. It has received this recognition in part by developing good safety practices, requiring PPE, and installing machine safeguards. But most important, both managers and employees have fostered a sustainable safety culture.

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