FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Structural tube fabrication: Getting a solid connection for HSS

February 1, 2016

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One architectural fabricator has developed a connection and fabrication system for the modular construction of hollow structural sections, or HSS. Such connections show just how efficient modular construction can be.

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Brushing up sheet metal assembly

February 1, 2016

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Scratching a cosmetically critical part during assembly can be costly. This is where choosing the right material for the assembly table surface can be critical. It’s here that the table brush may be able to help.

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Perspective on 2016: Metal fabricators stand ready to swing

January 19, 2016

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For U.S. manufacturers, 2016 is full of uncertainty. But shops with diversified customer bases and healthy balance sheets stand ready to swing.

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Building improvement at JCB: A case study in lean manufacturing

January 6, 2016

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The part flow at JCB’s Savannah plant has changed significantly over the past six years. The company redesigned a major product line to meet customer demand while also making part flow much easier to manage.

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A “digital thread” runs through FABTECH, North America’s largest metal fabrication show

January 6, 2016

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FABTECH broke records again in 2015, drawing more attendees and exhibitors than ever. One theme this year seemed to pervade the event. It relates to what keynote speaker Karen Kerr, director of advanced manufacturing at GE Ventures, called a “digital thread” through the manufacturing supply chain.

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Differentiation in manufacturing: Cadence hits its unique stride

January 4, 2016

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Cadence, Inc. in Staunton, Va., launched with a proprietary technology. But if the company had relied solely on that technology for growth, it wouldn’t be the $100 million, 500-employee, six-location industrial and medical device contract manufacturer it is today.

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One metal fabrication shop takes on B2C

January 4, 2016

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Launched in 2015, Florida-based MetalsCut4U offers low-volume metal cutting and bending to the consumer market. To make it happen, the company simplifies ordering and automates quoting.

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Fab shop customer mix: Hitting the right spot

December 22, 2015

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Interest rates are rising, oil prices are falling, and energy and agriculture equipment sectors continue to struggle. What's next for fabricators in 2016? The news isn't all bad, really, depending on a shop's mix of services, technology, talent, and customers.

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Managing a multi-generation fab shop

December 16, 2015

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Finding good people remains the No. 1 challenge in metal fabrication, but it's certainly not an insurmountable challenge.

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Workforce challenges: Can’t we all just get along?

December 15, 2015

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Talk to managers in metal fabrication and they’ll probably tell you they have trouble finding “good” people. In fact, they usually don’t say “skilled” people. So what’s the difference?

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How a plate rolling rookie becomes a guru

December 3, 2015

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How does a plate rolling rookie become a guru? According to Ken Pecho, project engineer at Chicago Metal Rolled Products, it requires good communication. So how do you really define good communication? For plate rolling (and many other shop skills), you can break it down into three critical components: collaboration, observation, and patience.

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Metal fabrication in 2016: Diversification proves its worth

December 2, 2015

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2015 has been a tale of two markets—commodities and everything else. Demand for food, fuel, and materials is suffering and prices are dropping. But low prices in these areas are spurring growth elsewhere. Many predict this tale to continue into 2016.

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Press brake training: Passing the torch

December 1, 2015

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Southern Metalcraft Inc.’s press brake veteran will be retiring at the end of 2016, and he is now passing the torch to someone who never worked on a press brake until 2009. So how did the rookie learn so quickly? Technical aptitude plays a role. But more important than that, the veteran and rookie get along and just work well together.

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2016 capital spending forecast in metal fabrication: The growth continues

November 30, 2015

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According to the “2016 Capital Spending Forecast” from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, total capital spending will edge up a little more than 2 percent next year. Still, certain equipment categories, including welding and bending, may experience dramatic gains.

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FABTECH 2015: The direct-diode laser and tuning the beam profile

November 23, 2015

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The direct-diode laser ups its presence at this year's FABTECH.

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