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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
May 16, 2011 | By Tim Heston
This May has had some great moments, and the Navy SEALs’ heroic efforts at that mysterious, now famous compound in northeast Pakistan is just one of them. Some moments have been bittersweet. The Monday after tornadoes hit Alabama, I called one fabricator there who hadn’t received my e-mails;...
May 6, 2011 | By Tim Heston
Ace Metal Crafts installs a laser tube cutting system with integrated tapping, a system that has shown its strength when producing structural tube. The machine cuts tube shapes, laser cuts holes, and performs tapping all in one setup.
April 25, 2011 | By Tim Heston
In May 2009, as I merged onto a congested I-94, driving from the airport to the ALAW Advanced Laser Applications Workshop outside Detroit, I saw a billboard for W Industries, a local metal fabricator. Not only was it odd seeing a contract fabricator advertised so prominently, but the sign’s...
April 19, 2011 | By Tim Heston
Last week I visited two facilities that focused on low- to medium-volume manufacturing. Both customize products to meet customer needs. Both tout quick response and comprehensive customer service. Yet in many respects, the two couldn’t have been more different. A week ago today I pulled into the...
April 11, 2011 | By Tim Heston
On Friday night I was like a kid half-heartedly doing his homework while watching the weather and awaiting the snowstorm. I kept thinking the storm would close school (government shutdown), and I could stop this blasted homework (my income taxes). Then at the 11th hour (literally: it was a little...
April 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston
This week I recalled one of my favorite television moments. During an early West Wing episode, one of the president’s advisers, Sam Seaborn, argues for the extension of NASA funding. After several minutes of heated banter, his counterpart asks why space travel is so important when we have so much...