FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Irony in Ireland: Global trade and volcanic ash

April 19, 2010

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‭This week has dripped with irony. On Wednesday I traveled to a press event at Combilift,‭ ‬a forklift and material handling equipment manufacturer several hours northwest of Dublin,‭ ‬in the rolling green hills of County Monaghan.‭ ‬The company exports most of its vehicles and keeps...

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Fabricating just enough, just in time

April 15, 2010

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Two weeks ago I talked with one fabrication shop owner who has what last year would have been considered an unusual problem. Bankers were lined up, eager to give the small business owner a loan--only he didn’t need one. Work is coming in the door, but it’s mostly small jobs, nothing to warrant...

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impluse manufacturing

If you don't measure it, you can't improve it

April 1, 2010

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At Impulse Manufacturing, operators double as quality assurance personnel. The company tracks efficiency and quality via an innovative Web-based shop-management system. The company's mantra: If you don't measure it, you can't improve it.

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grinding safety

How to make grinding safer and more productive

April 1, 2010

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When it comes to grinding, a more productive worker is often a safer worker, if given the right tools and training.

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ralco industries

ERP and the cloud

April 1, 2010

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The concepts of cloud computing, or software as a service (SaaS), show their mettle at one automotive metal stamper. The stamper is in the middle of a growth spurt, and is proof that companies can find success in the changing automotive market.

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Ford sheds another brand, thank goodness

March 29, 2010

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My 3-year-old daughter has never seen the lights on at a house up the street; the building has been empty and on the market longer than she’s been alive. I don’t know the owners or the situation, but I do know the asking price has steadily fallen. The owners probably just want to get that asset...

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Health care and the angry citizen

March 22, 2010

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Talking with various contract metal fabricators over the past few months, I now realize what health care insurance means to them and other small-business owners across the country. Providing health care is a moral imperative. Sure, providing good benefits makes a shop competitive. But at the end...

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Do not count on those manufacturing backlogs

March 16, 2010

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Not a day goes by that I don’t remember how lucky I am. OK, I’m lying. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, though I know I should. My parents got a second mortgage so that I could leave college without having to worry about paying back student loans. How could they do this? Well,...

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squid head gripper

The squid head and the stamping press

March 9, 2010

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A stamper streamlines part handling, replacing the grunt work with a part manipulator, and designing a flexible manufacturing cell. In the end, the company's efforts improved worker ergonomics and part quality.

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Therapy for data overload

March 2, 2010

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This week The Economist put together a special section about how society is overflowing with data. Reading it, I thought it was irony at its best. What better way to cover our data-overload than with a long, drawn-out story bubbling over with … data. The most obvious example of data-overload is...

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bevels plate

Going 3-D: A matter of control

March 1, 2010

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Abrasive waterjet has moved beyond flat plate cutting. Today, the jet can move in Z and tilt to cut complex designs out of thick plate, and even tube and barstock.

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Investor and consumer versus the citizen

February 23, 2010

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Dennis Rider’s career path changed directions recently, as reported by The Grand Rapids Press. After 27 years as a roll forming and laser cutting machine operator, he was let go in 2007. After spending serious time job hunting, Rider decided to retrain as an auto mechanic. He told the newspaper...

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Grabbing the skilled-labor issue by the horns

February 16, 2010

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High unemployment has muted manufacturing’s cry for skilled workers, but the cry is still there. It’s a paradox. As manufacturers shed unskilled workers, those who are left must be more skilled and versatile than ever. According to the Labor Department, American manufacturing produces more...

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Personifying Toyota

February 9, 2010

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This morning’s announcement of Toyota’s recall of 437,000 hybrid vehicles seems to have brought the automaker’s woes to a whole new level. Judging by the media coverage, these events are epic. Want to understand the media circus around the Toyota recall? Here’s a little something John...

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alabama laser hot wire

Two processes sometimes are better than one

February 9, 2010

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Alabama Laser ramps up its development efforts in hot-wire laser cladding, a new process that may have big potential, particularly in the oil and gas sector.

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