FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Freeing space for metal fabrication

October 19, 2015

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In a few years Performance Stamping may well be a very different company. It recently cleared away inventory to free space not for more stamping, but for metal fabrication.

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Evolution of the cutting laser: About the diode

October 15, 2015

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Don't blink, or you'll miss the fastest evolving technology in the custom fab shop: the cutting laser.

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Small batches, big-time automation

October 15, 2015

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Rapid-Line Inc., a contract manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich., has a long history of early technology adoption. Two years ago it became an early adopter again, this time with an entirely different kind of robot. Regardless of the technology, everyone keeps their eye on what truly matters when it comes to manufacturing efficiency: how long it takes for an order to make it to the shipping dock.

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Diversification: The true competitive advantage in metal fabrication

October 15, 2015

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According to recent benchmarking surveys from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, debt ratios remain manageable, EBITDA steady, yet revenue concentration remains high for some. The numbers show areas for opportunity as well as challenges.

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How to build loyalty in manufacturing workers? Go off-script

October 15, 2015

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Why do employees leave for a few cents more an hour? It goes back to culture—but what is culture, really? Rutland Walker of Atlanta-based The Academy of Marketing gives a relatively concrete explanation. It’s about connecting with employees with a shared purpose or belief.

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Wisconsin metal fabricator thrives on complexity

October 12, 2015

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Advanced Laser Machining Inc. launched in 1996, just when laser cutting was becoming a metal fabrication mainstay and software was changing everything. Today managers are hoping to put a structure in place to grow the company even more. In 10 years ALM may be a $75 million enterprise

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Streamlining diverse part flow in metal fabrication

October 7, 2015

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The people at Prince Precision Products may be fabricating thin sheet one hour and thick plate the next hour. Managers at PPP call their operation a hybrid—part job shop focusing on small runs, part production operation. Juggling it all requires focus on good communication and minimizing rework.

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Why scaling up may be tough in metal fabrication

September 17, 2015

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Hefty competition usually drives companies to consolidate to achieve economies of scale. For metal fabrication, this rule may not apply.

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Consolidation in metal fabrication: horizontal, vertical, or both?

September 16, 2015

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M&A activity has been on the rise in metal fabrication in recent years, but what's the strategy behind it all? Fabricators seem to be diversifying, both in terms of process offerings and customer bases.

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Measuring the manufacturing cycle in metal fabrication

September 15, 2015

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Many fabricators scrutinize how fast a laser cuts: How quickly can a machine finish a nest, how many blanks per minute can a press brake form. But how do these processing speeds correlate to a custom fabricator’s profitability?

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How small batches simplify metal fabrication

September 14, 2015

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When order quantities shrink, things can get really complicated on the job shop floor--unless the order-to-ship cycle shrinks as well.

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Plasma cutting meets biochemistry

September 8, 2015

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A fluid for plasma cutting tables is designed to coat workpieces to prevent rust and corrosion. The fluid effectively biodegrades bacteria on contact. The company also reports that the fluid is safe enough to send down the sewer.

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Parts identification for extreme environments

September 8, 2015

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A marking technology—which involves the interaction between a laser, coating, and metal substrate—is designed to withstand harsh processing environments, including blast cleaning and hot-dipped galvanizing.

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Metal fabrication, automation, and the big picture

September 8, 2015

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Ludlow Manufacturing Inc.’s managers are big believers in automation, but they’re not just interested in shortening machine cycle times. They look at the big picture, from the first order to the final shipment.

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Will this stainless steel weld rust?

September 3, 2015

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Is a stainless weld truly passivated, or will some unexpected rust emerge down the road? New testing technology, used in-house by fabricators, helps answer this question

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