FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Safety | Articles

Industrial dust collection goes modular

May 24, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Large-scale dust and fume collection can be somewhat inflexible. A fabricator moving, adding, or removing a few work centers can throw off the airflow balance and make the entire system less effective. A new technology aims to change this.

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CAD/CAM Software | Articles

Can this product be made?

May 23, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Waiting for a callback to discuss a major design change is one thing; but waiting hours just to see if a hole can be moved a little farther from the bend radius—that’s something else. One industry project, iFAB, aims to make design for manufacturability far more efficient.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Fabricators are in the information business

May 19, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators aren't selling just parts anymore. They're selling their ability to partner and communicate with customers.

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Tube and Pipe Fabrication | Blog Posts

The morality of metal fabrication

May 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Metal fabricators are driven to compete, but they also want to do the right thing.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Manufacturing wages and the front-line worker

May 12, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturers have serious turnover when it comes to front-line workers. And then there's the issue of pay.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

2016 FAB 40 preview: Preparing for a bigger market pie

May 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Revenue growth from 2014 to 2015 was essentially flat, depending on the fabricator's customer mix, but most are predicting busier times ahead.

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Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabrication on the move

May 9, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Koester Metals Inc. conquered its growing pains after the recession. It moved to a new facility to follow demand, improved and formalized training, and invested in new technology.

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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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