FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Safety | Articles

Reporting to OSHA after a severe injury

May 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

During their presentation at the FMA Annual Meeting, attorney David Jones, along with Doug Raff, owner of Paragon Industrial Controls, showed a lot about what a fabricator can expect during an OSHA inspection after reporting a major injury. They gave insights as to how companies can best navigate the OSHA inspection and citation process.

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Shop Management | Articles

Tennessee metal manufacturer ramps up research

April 27, 2016 | By Tim Heston

MECO, a metal manufacturer in east Tennessee, has a history both in product line and contract manufacturing. Moving forward, company leaders consider R&D the key to future growth.

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Bending | Articles

The sheet metal bending department evolves

April 27, 2016 | By Tim Heston

As cutting productivity rises to unprecedented levels, fabricators tackle their next bottleneck: bending. Today, panel benders, folders, and press brakes with automated tool changing are expanding forming possibilities and making new levels of bending productivity possible.

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Shop Management | Articles

Big-league metal fabrication

April 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In September 2015 contract fabricator BTD expanded to the Southeast with its purchase of Impulse Manufacturing. The deal hints at just how scalable custom metal fabrication may be.

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Shop Management | Articles

FMA Annual Meeting: Navigating into metal fabricating’s future

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

This year’s FMA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in February, celebrated the technology companies need to compete and the worker skill shops need to sustain that success through the generations.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles

Offline weld robot programming evolves

April 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Groupe Gravel invested in robotic welding and plasma cutting. And from the very start, for most work, technicians never programmed jobs using a teach pendant.

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Machining | Articles

How fabricators manage machining

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

These days certain custom fabrication operations have in-house machining capabilities. How these capabilities are managed depends on a company’s location, access to talent, and customer demands. The FABRICATOR talked with managers at two custom fabricators, each of which takes a distinct approach to managing its machining operations.

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Shop Management | Articles

What brings youth to the sheet metal business?

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

How can a fab shop bring talented youth into the fold? Two members of FMA’s Young Professionals’ Council tell what sparked their interest--and it isn’t what you might expect.

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Shop Management | Articles

New ideas spur success at Minnesota metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bermo, a stamper and fabricator in Minnesota, takes idea generation seriously. Some of the company’s latest initiatives, including rapid prototyping and automated quoting, have come from employees starting a sentence with, “Wouldn’t it be great if …”

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Shop Management | Articles

So you want to buy a metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Buying a company isn’t just about getting a certain multiple. A buyer needs to define a buying strategy, analyze a seller’s business model, and uncover what the seller’s company truly is worth.

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Materials Handling | Articles

Product development drives growth at Illinois metal fabricator

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The Great Recession nearly killed J-tec Industries, a cart manufacturer in East Peoria, Ill. But the company pulled through and, thanks to its product development efforts, is now experiencing record growth. During the past two years, its workforce has doubled in size.

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CAD/CAM Software | Articles

In custom metal fabrication, nothing is typical

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Average on-time delivery rates in custom fabrication have remained stubbornly low. Clear, constant communication and transparency can change this. And here software can help, even at the smallest shops.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Scholarship fund to honor Dick Kallage

March 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

FMA’s Nuts, Bolts, & Thingamajigs foundation has set up a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Dick Kallage, an influential member of FMA and columnist for The FABRICATOR magazine. Kallage died of cancer Feb. 18.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Positive manufacturing news: A well-kept secret during the election season

March 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Negativity reigns during this elections season. Here's a secret: Some good news does indeed exist, even in manufacturing.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

FMA Annual Meeting: Sharing ideas to build a better business

March 10, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Networking, conversation, and idea sharing are at the heart of the FMA Annual Meeting. For instance, what if a shop salesperson learned to operate a tube laser? That idea at one roundtable got participants talking.

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