FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
How small batch sizes define modern manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

How small batch sizes define modern manufacturing

August 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

The long-held belief that setups should be amortized over the largest possible lot sizes needs to change. As setup times become shorter, they become less relevant, and, according to some, so does the old notion of economic order quantities.

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Shaking off the albatross of manufacturing’s image - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Shaking off the albatross of manufacturing’s image

August 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

A northeastern job shop gets a new building and a complete makeover, with bright colors, a sleek front office, a quality assurance room that looks like a laboratory, and with it all, a new image.

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Metal Fabrication Industry: A portrait in prose - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Metal Fabrication Industry: A portrait in prose

August 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Three books together paint a good picture of this industry. It’s a combination of technical knowhow, pragmatism, down-to-earth humor, and big-picture thinking.

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Blog Posts

Flexible metal fabrication needs flexible people

July 26, 2011 | By Tim Heston

When I interviewed executives at Mayville Engineering Co., a seven-plant, 1,000-employee behemoth of a contract fabricator, I could tell the CEO Bob Kamphuis was proudest of one statistic. The company delivered on time over 99 percent of the time. On time delivery of quality parts lies at the...

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Blog Posts

Manufacturing for the best minds of tomorrow

July 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

It was refreshing to see the skilled-labor crisis--an issue near and dear to metal fabrication--grace the front page of the Sunday New York Times last week. It was the first in a weekly series called “Learn to Earn.” That’s such a great title. It hints at a pervasive problem. Recent grads may...

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The benefits of technical certification in metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

The benefits of technical certification in metal fabrication

July 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

The prototype shop at International Gaming Technologies employs serious talent. They take a sheet metal part through the entire fabrication process, from laser cutting and bending to welding and grinding. To qualify for a job here requires technical knowhow about a variety of manufacturing processes. This is why management has decided to use FMA’s Precision Sheet Metal Operator certification as a benchmark.

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Project engineer changes careers, chooses metal fabrication - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles

Project engineer changes careers, chooses metal fabrication

July 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Jacob Melton quit his desk job in Chicago, drove home to Houston, and with his father bought a metal fabrication company. Several years later, even after a severe recession, it turns out that was a smart career move.

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Shop Management | Articles

The industry needs “technical leaders”

July 14, 2011 | By Tim Heston

FMA survey reveals hiring managers are looking for technical leaders, those with technical knowhow with the ability to look beyond their individual work cell.

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Divine Rolling - TheFabricator.com

Bending | Articles

Induction key to complex beam rolling job

July 8, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Shop rolls beams for a unique place of worship--using an unusual process Abstract: Hardwick Co., a rolling shop in Birmingham, Ala., used its unusual induction beam rolling process to form beams into complex shapes involving multiple radii. Without such capability, the impressive design of the Ave Maria Oratory would not have been possible.

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Blog Posts

The skilled worker’s pursuit of happiness

July 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston

This week’s pomp, sparkle, and pyrotechnics celebrated, among other things, Jefferson’s inspirational sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty...

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Blog Posts

Job shop managers, the next generation

June 14, 2011 | By Tim Heston

At every gathering of shop managers in this business--at events like FABTECH® and The FABRICATOR®’s Leadership Summit--I always notice how diverse people’s backgrounds are. Most of the metal fabrication that goes on in this country happens in small businesses, firms much like Amtex Precision...

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MEC Robotic Welding

Shop Management | Articles

How a big fabricator grows even bigger

June 7, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Mayville Engineering Co. of Mayville, Wis., has grown into a metal fabrication powerhouse, with seven plants that altogether employ more than 1,000 workers. But it hasn’t been an easy ride. Less than a decade ago, MEC was struggling to find its way. Today, the company has a conservative, healthy balance sheet, and plenty of runway room for serious growth.

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Plate Rolling

Bending | Articles

Plate rolls keep rolling heavier plate

June 2, 2011 | By Tim Heston

These days, plate rolls are forming plate 6 and 7 inches thick--and even thicker. Vessel designs that would have been forged just a decade ago are now being sent to fabrication houses. The variable-geometry plate roll system, which really operates more like a press brake than a traditional plate roll, is making such extreme rolling possible.

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 Atlanta Attachment’s shop floor

Assembly and Joining | Articles

The merits of a manufacturing hybrid

June 2, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Atlanta Precision Machine & Fabrication, a job shop launched in 2009, represents the latest venture of Atlanta Attachment Co., a made-to-order equipment manufacturer that has found success with diversification, both in the markets it serves and the services it offers, from basic fabrication to complete assembly.

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Blog Posts

The race for stateside manufacturing

May 31, 2011 | By Tim Heston

My dad was the first to call when I got home. He’s a retired history professor, so he usually doesn’t have that much input on my job-related travels, but last week was different. I had driven to Advanced Technology Sales & Service, a Mitsubishi dealer in Greensboro, N.C. ATS held its grand...

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