FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Chinese currency and U.S. manufacturing

June 21, 2010

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An international economic chess game just got more interesting, and metal fabricators may one day see the benefits. Today the Chinese currency rose against the dollar 0.42 percent in Asia—not much, but that’s the biggest one-day gain in five years. This came after Chinese officials announced...

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Knowing the grammar of metal fabrication

June 15, 2010

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John McPhee is a hero of mine. As one of the best nonfiction writers out there, the Princeton professor and contributor to The New Yorker magazine can turn any subject into a pleasurable read. He’s written about geology, the merchant marines, physics—heck, even an entire book on oranges....

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President Obama and the Stamping Press

June 8, 2010

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Business owners in the metal fabrication industry are getting to be old hands at hosting top dogs from Washington on both sides of the political aisle. Several years ago President Bush visited Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., and gave a speech. Last year Vice President Joe Biden visited...

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New press brake, new production philosophy - TheFabricator

New press brake, new production philosophy

June 4, 2010

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A new press brake and tooling purchase leads to a new way of thinking about manufacturing, including the reduction of batch sizes and work-in-process.

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What's NEXt? Growth - TheFabricator

What's NEXt? Growth

June 1, 2010

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NEX Solutions experiences double-digit growth during the worst economic climate in a generation. How did managers and employees achieve such performance? By adding value.

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Plasma cutting to 'Galpinize' - TheFabricator

Plasma cutting to 'Galpinize'

June 1, 2010

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Galpin Auto Sports pushes the envelope when it comes to car customization, and plasma cutting helps the company push the limits.

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Taking stock of employee ownership

May 25, 2010

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Butch Munson has worked at the same metal fabrication company for 43 years, and in a few years he plans to retire. He’s had a good career at LeFiell Mfg. Co., a tube and specialty fabricator in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Sure, the shop has had its ups and downs, but generally the company has always...

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The laser is 50, and still beaming

May 17, 2010

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On May 16, 1960, Theodore Maiman of Hughes Labs became the first person on the planet to build light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation—or laser. (Thank goodness the acronym stuck.) On Sunday, the laser turned 50. I’m willing to bet that on that day in 1960, Ignacio “Nacho”...

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Is manufacturing cool again?

May 10, 2010

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Did you here? The folks who make things for a living are now … cool. Many business gurus out there, including Warren Buffett, say manufacturers are leading the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management reported the fifth month of growth in manufacturing employment. ISM’s employment...

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combination machines

Done-in-one, cutting plate

May 4, 2010

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Combination machines have brought the done-in-one concept to the heavy plate fabricator's shop floor.

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Good news from the oracle

May 3, 2010

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Omaha, Neb., became a worldwide business epicenter over the weekend. Its oracle spoke. Warren Buffett held his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder extravaganza in Omaha. He spoke in the Qwest Center to some 40,000 investors, and afterward held a press conference to trumpet his message: Business...

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Labor is not a bad word

April 27, 2010

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Countless talking heads have argued for and against globalization. Some say it’s an unstoppable force, as companies continue their hunt for the company that gives the most bang for their buck. In manufacturing, that often translates to the cheapest labor that can meet or exceed required quality...

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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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