Tim Heston

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

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 | The FABRICATOR

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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Blog Posts

Manufacturing and the State of the Union

February 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

For the past two years Mary Isbister, president of Wisconsin fabricator GenMet (one of The FABRICATOR’s past Industry Award winners), had a friendly bet with colleagues of the Manufacturing Council, a group that meets to propose ideas to Commerce Department Sec. John Bryson, who in turn reports...

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Tube bending, the lean way - TheFabricator.com

Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Tube bending, the lean way

February 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

A Wisconsin tube bending shop takes an untraditional approach to the traditional job schedule--and thrives because of it.

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Blog Posts

Busy times, busy shops

January 24, 2012 | By Tim Heston

I started this year with a spurt of shop visits-- a sorry excuse for my lack of blogging, but there it is. One high-mix, low-volume job shop is beginning the process of reorganizing its machines into cells: a sheet metal cutting machine next to a brake, next to hardware insertion. In a bold move,...

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Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012 - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Capital spending carries the rebound into 2012

January 10, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing technology consumption took an unprecedented dive during the recession, but since then the industry has bounced back dramatically. In the metal fabrication arena, most technology categories are experiencing some healthy gains, as reported by the 2012 Capital Spending Forecast, a study compiled by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association.

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Industry flocks to FABTECH - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Industry flocks to FABTECH

January 6, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Despite economic uncertainties heading into 2012, the metal fabrication industry came out in full force at November’s FABTECH show. More than 35,000 walked the show floor, which featured more than a half million square feet of exhibit space.

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Heavy piercing with plasma - TheFabricator.com

Plasma Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Heavy piercing with plasma

January 4, 2012 | By Tim Heston

High-density plasma arc cutting can effectively cut thick plate. The most challenging aspect, in fact, is that initial pierce. To that end, a few basic strategies help overcome this challenge, allowing the plasma to pierce through inches of metal as effectively as possible.

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Blog Posts

Manufacturing grows … again

January 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

Maybe those long lines of attendees at the FABTECH trade show last year weren’t red herrings. The Institute for Supply Management reported significant growth in manufacturing last month, news significant enough to send stocks skyward. News coverage has been cautious, especially considering what...

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Blog Posts

The power of finding a niche

December 13, 2011 | By Tim Heston

A few weeks ago at the FABTECH trade show in Chicago, I ran into (almost literally, in fact) Nathan McMasters, president of Diversified Metal Products, an Idaho Falls, Idaho-based contract fabricator specializing in products for the energy, transportation, and nuclear fields. Our five-minute chat...

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2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

2012 forecast: The good and bad of economic gumbo

December 9, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Positives and negatives probably will pepper the business climate in 2012. Manufacturing has led the economic recovery. Unemployment will remain high, and businesses will still seek technical talent. Equipment spending probably will continue apace. So will company acquisitions, but they won’t be as prevalent as they could be. . Mixed together, these ingredients make for a good news-bad news gumbo in 2012.

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Got milling? You’re hired. - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Got milling? You’re hired.

December 9, 2011 | By Tim Heston

A good machinist is hard to find. Why? It’s a mixture of factors. Machining suffers from the same image problem as the other manufacturing trades, so not enough people enter the field. But this country also lacks hands-on training programs.

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Blog Posts

Lean thinking: Quality first, delivery second, price third

December 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston

This week I’m at LeanFAB, a Charlotte, N.C., lean manufacturing conference organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. When I pulled into the hotel parking lot this evening, I noticed a truck hauling equipment with a familiar logo: Vermeer, a Pella, Iowa, construction equipment...

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High mix, fast delivery--on time - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

High mix, fast delivery--on time

November 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

High-product-mix manufacturers may have problems with off-theshelf TOC, as described in Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal, a book that tells how a fictional company manages its operations around a constraint. In a high-mix, low-volume operation, the constraint actually may move around from job to job, because processing

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Growing health care revenue by selling direct - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Growing health care revenue by selling direct

November 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Midbrook, a Michigan fabricator of washing equipment, has worked hard to diversify outside of the automotive business. One key to its success has been its approach to selling to health care facilities. The fabricator has decided to circumvent traditional distributorship networks in health care.

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