Tim Heston

Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Metal fabrication investment strategy: Keep buggering on

October 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

This year’s “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from the FMA shows an industry that’s facing tight competition, but also one that is pushing on, investing, and making efficient use of resources.

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Bending | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Operator talent: The heart of the plate and angle rolling business

October 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Plate and angle rolling remains extremely dependent on operator skill. According to a U.S. roll shop roundtable discussion held at a Davi angle rolling event in Italy, that skill really is what sets a custom rolling operation apart.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Celebrating simplicity and flexibility on Manufacturing Day

October 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It's Manufacturing Day, when we celebrate where this industry has been, what it is, and, especially, where it is going.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Election season, management style, and the metal fabricator

October 6, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Cultural challenges on the shop floor may relate to challenges in politics and, for that matter, society at large.

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Laser Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Sheet metal blanking milestone: Continuous-feed laser blanking launches into production

October 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Earlier this year Worthington Specialty Processing, a toll processor serving the automotive industry, among others, installed a continuous-feed, coil-fed laser blanking line. An idea with roots in the 1990s has finally become reality.

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Laser Cutting | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Is this laser cutting lens damaged?

September 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Laser operators and maintenance technicians have a new diagnostic tool: a tiny crossed polarizer, which can detect lens stress. The crossed polarizer clips onto a smartphone and utilizes the phone’s polarized flat-panel display.

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Materials Handling | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Moving additive manufacturing forward

September 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

EWI’s Buffalo Manufacturing Works, which opened in 2015, has resources covering all seven major categories of additive manufacturing. But having access to the technology and equipment in-house is just half the story. The other half involves experts in design, materials, processes, and quality all working together to move additive technology forward.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Winning new business in custom metal fabrication

September 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It can take a long time for a prospect to become a major customer, and of course there are no guarantees. This makes building a diverse customer base easier said than done. Through rebranding and restructuring, one custom fabricator in Minnesota aims to change this.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

College and the manufacturer

September 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Why is college so expensive? Sky-high demand may have something to do with it. Other businesses could learn a thing or two from custom fabricators and other manufacturing sectors, where a four-year college degree isn't the only ticket to success.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Order fulfillment velocity makes the difference

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Haydon Corp. was an early adopter of business software, and it continues to use its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform comprehensively. The software, along with standard business practices baked into the company’s DNA, has helped the roll former maintain an extremely short order fulfillment cycle.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Communication in custom metal fabrication: Good ideas, good stories, good community

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

For years Jones Metal, a Mankato, Minn.-based custom fabricator, has published not an occasional employee newsletter, but a weekly digital paper, available at touchscreen kiosks throughout the front office and shop floor. The publication keeps everyone up-to-date on important metrics, spreads improvement ideas and, perhaps most important, builds community.

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Bending | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Press brake bending: Forming long and skinny

August 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Phoenix Products has more than doubled its size during the past year, and much of that growth has to do with tackling an unusual niche: the bending of long, skinny parts.

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Arc Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Robot deposits welds in high gear with Tip TIG

August 17, 2016 | By Tim Heston

A new robot welding cell incorporates TIP TIG, a hot-wire welding process that feeds an oscillating wire under a tungsten electrode. In some applications, the method reportedly allows the robot to weld at speeds close to those of gas metal arc welding.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Manufacturing and the consumer class

August 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing built the middle class, a consumer class. Today, this "middle" consumer class is fading. For a consumer-based economy, that can't be a good thing.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Accounting for time in metal fabrication

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Traditional cost accounting treats inventory as an asset and, according to the author of a new book, does not capture the true costs of long lead times. A new accounting method, which complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), aims to correct this.

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