FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
Matter Control - TheFabricator.com

Stamping | Articles

Developing a servo press knowledge base

August 31, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Since Qualtek Manufacturing invested in its servo presses several years ago, it has been gradually building up a working knowledge base--specific stroke recipes, tooling tweaks, and other information--that has turned out to be valuable intellectual property.

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Blog Posts

Skilled labor wants a safe workplace

August 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Just in time for election season (which, as a multiyear event now, is far longer than a season), a few advocacy groups are putting forth their views about what U.S. manufacturing needs. One of the most concise reports comes from the Georgia Tech and Council on Competitiveness, which released its...

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Blog Posts

Fabricators scream for the skilled worker

August 21, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Last week I called a manager of a heavy fabrication operation. We chatted briefly, but after a few minutes he had to go. He told me six of his operators hadn’t shown up that morning, so shop managers were scrambling. Then I saw a headline on the front page of the Sunday New York Times:...

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Assembly and Joining | Podcasts

Lean, mean, and made to order

August 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Horton Emergency Vehicles of Columbus, Ohio, adapts lean manufacturing to the custom-build assembly environment. Trucks are produced at consistent takt times, and yet every one that rolls off the line is different. Read more.

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Blog Posts

Metal fabrication financial benchmarking: The survival of the fastest

August 7, 2012 | By Tim Heston

How can a fabricator be successful these days? The common answer is that if a shop reduces labor costs, it can compete with the world. The story’s subtler than that--and a just-released financial benchmarking survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association reveals these subtleties....

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Putting a label on metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Putting a label on metal fabrication

August 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Micron Metalworks is a classic precision sheet metal job shop, with short runs and numerous job changeovers. To optimize part flow and overall efficiency, it’s the little things that really matter--including a simple label on a drawer.

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How to wrap up packaging problems - TheFabricator.com

Assembly and Joining | Articles

How to wrap up packaging problems

August 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

A poorly packaged pallet of parts damaged in transit turns all that value-adding upstream activity--cutting, deburring, bending, welding, grinding, heat treating, plating, powder coating, hardware insertion, and assembly--into waste

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Set design meets advanced manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Set design meets advanced manufacturing

August 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

A Broadway and TV set fabricator mixes set-building tradition with advanced manufacturing technologies, from welding and cutting to abrasive waterjet cutting. Complicating matters are the demands of modern performance media--especially high-definition broadcasts.

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Blog Posts

Of course algebra is necessary

July 31, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Andrew Hacker certainly can spark a debate. If you get the New York Times, you would have turned to the first page of the opinion section and seen: Is algebra necessary? Hacker is an emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York. In his column, he questions...

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Blog Posts

Turnaround time versus on-time delivery rates

July 24, 2012 | By Tim Heston

For years economic growth has been stuck in neutral. Economists are lowering their already low GDP growth projections for 2012. Regarding this, Julia Coronado, chief economist at BNP Paribas, gave Bloomberg an intriguing insight. “Things are so lean and mean, there aren’t a lot of excesses that...

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Blog Posts

The soft skills of precision manufacturing

July 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

In early 2010 I attended an event hosted by plasma cutting systems maker ITT Kaliburn, near Charleston, S.C. That's when I met Joe McNamara. He had led ITT heat transfer unit's plant near Buffalo, N.Y., through a major lean manufacturing transformation. A few weeks ago I caught up with McNamara,...

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Metal fabricator revamps raw material purchasing strategy - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabricator revamps raw material purchasing strategy

July 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

General Sheet Metal Works revamped the way it handles raw material purchases. Floor personnel now release specific orders, while the purchasing department communicates with suppliers about future demand and negotiates contracts. Most important, the company order just what it needs--and no more.

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Fabricating the American Dream - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Fabricating the American Dream

July 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

What’s the current state of the American dream? So many seem to work hard and do everything right--but just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Shop Management | Podcasts

Plantwide Communications at Jones Metal Products

July 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Mankato, Minn.-based Jones Metal Products partnered with PDP Solutions to launch a unique plantwide communication program, as Sarah Richards (pictured), Jones Metal CEO, explains. Read more.

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Blog Posts

Pi and K factors: The mathematical beauty of sheet metal

July 10, 2012 | By Tim Heston

I was never a math wiz, but I was blessed with good teachers. In high school, I remember sitting in Algebra II class and hearing one of my fellow students give a loud sigh before he raised his hand: “When will we ever use this?” My teacher shot back. “See the pencil you’re holding? The...

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