July 26, 2011
When I interviewed executives at Mayville Engineering Co., a seven-plant, 1,000-employee behemoth of a contract fabricator, I could tell the CEO Bob Kamphuis was proudest of one statistic. The company delivered on time over 99 percent of the time. On time delivery of quality parts lies at the...
July 18, 2011
It was refreshing to see the skilled-labor crisis--an issue near and dear to metal fabrication--grace the front page of the Sunday New York Times last week. It was the first in a weekly series called “Learn to Earn.” That’s such a great title. It hints at a pervasive problem. Recent grads may...
July 18, 2011
The prototype shop at International Gaming Technologies employs serious talent. They take a sheet metal part through the entire fabrication process, from laser cutting and bending to welding and grinding. To qualify for a job here requires technical knowhow about a variety of manufacturing processes. This is why management has decided to use FMA’s Precision Sheet Metal Operator certification as a benchmark.
July 18, 2011
Jacob Melton quit his desk job in Chicago, drove home to Houston, and with his father bought a metal fabrication company. Several years later, even after a severe recession, it turns out that was a smart career move.
July 8, 2011
Shop rolls beams for a unique place of worship--using an unusual process Abstract: Hardwick Co., a rolling shop in Birmingham, Ala., used its unusual induction beam rolling process to form beams into complex shapes involving multiple radii. Without such capability, the impressive design of the Ave Maria Oratory would not have been possible.
July 5, 2011
This week’s pomp, sparkle, and pyrotechnics celebrated, among other things, Jefferson’s inspirational sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty...
June 14, 2011
At every gathering of shop managers in this business--at events like FABTECH® and The FABRICATOR®’s Leadership Summit--I always notice how diverse people’s backgrounds are. Most of the metal fabrication that goes on in this country happens in small businesses, firms much like Amtex Precision...
June 7, 2011
Mayville Engineering Co. of Mayville, Wis., has grown into a metal fabrication powerhouse, with seven plants that altogether employ more than 1,000 workers. But it hasn’t been an easy ride. Less than a decade ago, MEC was struggling to find its way. Today, the company has a conservative, healthy balance sheet, and plenty of runway room for serious growth.
June 2, 2011
These days, plate rolls are forming plate 6 and 7 inches thick--and even thicker. Vessel designs that would have been forged just a decade ago are now being sent to fabrication houses. The variable-geometry plate roll system, which really operates more like a press brake than a traditional plate roll, is making such extreme rolling possible.
June 2, 2011
Atlanta Precision Machine & Fabrication, a job shop launched in 2009, represents the latest venture of Atlanta Attachment Co., a made-to-order equipment manufacturer that has found success with diversification, both in the markets it serves and the services it offers, from basic fabrication to complete assembly.
May 31, 2011
My dad was the first to call when I got home. He’s a retired history professor, so he usually doesn’t have that much input on my job-related travels, but last week was different. I had driven to Advanced Technology Sales & Service, a Mitsubishi dealer in Greensboro, N.C. ATS held its grand...
May 16, 2011
This May has had some great moments, and the Navy SEALs’ heroic efforts at that mysterious, now famous compound in northeast Pakistan is just one of them. Some moments have been bittersweet. The Monday after tornadoes hit Alabama, I called one fabricator there who hadn’t received my e-mails;...
May 6, 2011
Ace Metal Crafts installs a laser tube cutting system with integrated tapping, a system that has shown its strength when producing structural tube. The machine cuts tube shapes, laser cuts holes, and performs tapping all in one setup.
April 25, 2011
In May 2009, as I merged onto a congested I-94, driving from the airport to the ALAW Advanced Laser Applications Workshop outside Detroit, I saw a billboard for W Industries, a local metal fabricator. Not only was it odd seeing a contract fabricator advertised so prominently, but the sign’s...