FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Blog Posts

The nuts and bolts of big returns

April 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Consumers and the business press lavish all sorts of attention to high-tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and other Wall Street darlings. Even their informal moniker “high-tech” exudes a bit of superiority.  Why does everybody pay so much attention? Well, every day, we use our...

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Vessel fabricator bases hiring on attitude, not experience - TheFabricator.com

Arc Welding | Articles

Vessel fabricator bases hiring on attitude, not experience

April 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

In a 2010 survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, respondents cited welding as the most sought-after, difficult-to-find technical skill. But at Mitchell's Specialized Fabrication, managers don't look for that experience. They look for someone with a good attitude, eager to learn.

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Shop Management | Podcasts

Cellular fabrication at Metcam

March 29, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Metcam recently transformed its shop floor. The shop now organizes its entire fabrication operation not in process-based departments, but in manufacturing cells. Read the story.

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Blog Posts

The moral imperative of U.S. manufacturing

March 21, 2012 | By Tim Heston

The mainstream press and pundits now seem to be realizing that globalization isn’t about finding cheap labor. No, it’s now about something that on the surface is a lot drier and more complex: the manufacturing supply chain. New York Times reporter David Barboza--who earlier this year wrote the...

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Blog Posts

Shortening the order-to-cash cycle

March 20, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Today I talked with Ricky Loar, plant manager at Grove City, Ohio-based Horton Emergency Vehicles, a made-to-order ambulance manufacturer that has undergone a lean transformation during the past 18 months.  The shop used to resemble a kind of large custom garage--or, more precisely, a collection...

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Blog Posts

Fabricate locally, deliver globally

March 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

When Jim Hawkins told attendees at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit that global infrastructure demand was driving growth at his employer, Caterpillar, his statements weren’t unusual. As the director of Cat’s Machine Design Center in Mossville, Ill., explained, “The growing middle class...

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Shop Management | Articles

The subtle landscape of U.S. manufacturing

March 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing companies aren’t all the same, and neither is worker pay. Reality is subtler than that. Despite all the complexities, though, the massive U.S. contract manufacturing base can’t grow if multinationals continually choose to build plants elsewhere.

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Blog Posts

Demand-pull manufacturing in its purest form

February 29, 2012 | By Tim Heston

An operator holding a tube checks the computer screen adjacent to his workstation, positions the tube just so against a backstop, checks the screen again, then initiates the cutoff operation. In less than 48 hours,  that tube will be part of a finished golf club and in the hands of a customer who...

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Taking cost out of the welding fixture - TheFabricator.com

Arc Welding | Articles

Taking cost out of the welding fixture

February 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Owsley “Oz” Cheek--a tool and die engineer who recently launched his own fixture company--shows how he reduces fixture build costs. For instance, who says fixtures need to be made out of machined components?

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Metcam cleans house - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Metcam cleans house

February 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Metcam reduces inventory and reorganizes the shop floor, placing press brakes and hardware insertion presses next to blanking centers--all during one of the company’s busiest Decembers ever.

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Smart robotic weld fixturing handles low-volume parts - TheFabricator.com

Automation and Robotics | Articles

Smart robotic weld fixturing handles low-volume parts

February 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston

An Alabama contract fabricator uses innovative robotic weld fixtures and an unusual quick-change system that allows operators to switch out jobs in mere seconds. The innovations have been critical for the shop’s high-mix, low-volume work.

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Growth draws on - TheFabricator.com

Stamping | Articles

Deep-draw stamping operation keeps growing

February 20, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Scotland Manufacturing, a North Carolina deep-drawing operation, knows how to get the most out of its manual stamping line. Optimizing the line’s productivity has allowed the firm to compete in various markets demanding quick response. The company doesn’t just specialize in low-, medium-, or high-volume work. It specializes in all three.

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Blog Posts

Manufacturing: A modern-day Atlas

February 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Yesterday I visited an Atlanta-area fabricator that moved into a new facility two weeks ago. The company name says it all, really: Mitchell’s Specialized Fabrication. It’s a specialized fabricator of industrial tanks, pressure vessels, and piping run by Scott Mitchell, a no-nonsense,...

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Quick response ushers in triple-digit growth - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Quick response ushers in triple-digit growth

February 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Between 2007 and 2011 sales at Eugene, Ore.-based Mohawk Metal Co. grew 700 percent. During normal times such growth would be seen as uncontrollable, but the past few years haven’t been normal times.

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Shop Management | Podcasts

How a recession changes a market

February 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Tim Heston talks with Tony Bloom, co-owner of Mohawk Metal Co., a Eugene, Oregon, fabricator that took off on the growth path during the recession, and hasn't looked back since.

Length: 8 minutes Right-click to download

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