FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Bending | Articles

The science of bending perforated sheet and tread plate

April 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Tread plate and perforated sheet present significant bending challenges. To help matters, fabricators may need to look beyond typical air bending with a punch and V die. Though bending alternatives vary, they have one commonality: They clamp down to ensure the workpiece stays where it should.

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Laser cut turning parts

Shop Management | Articles

Diverse, quick, and growing

April 1, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Tennessee job shop finds success through diversifying its capabilities, from laser cutting, press brake bending, and robotic welding, to milling, turning, and boring. The shop turns around many jobs in only a few days.

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Blog Posts

Manufacturing productivity: Work less, accomplish more

March 29, 2011 | By Tim Heston

A review copy of Jim Womack’s Gemba Walks, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute, came in the mail today, and I’m beginning to make my way through it. When I saw the title, I immediately thought of a scene in The Goal, Eliyahu Goldratt’s business novel on the theory of constraints. In it...

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Blog Posts

Earthquakes, job shops, and the global supply chain

March 21, 2011 | By Tim Heston

With Japan in crisis, so are global supply chains. With the world’s third-largest economy basically in standby mode, manufacturers stateside--and around the world--are scrambling to adapt. Most metal fabricators aren’t assemblers sitting at the end of a long global supply chain, but many of...

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Blog Posts

Critical laser cutting, welding tested in Japanese crisis

March 15, 2011 | By Tim Heston

When news broke of the earthquake-damaged nuclear plant in Japan, my mind turned to Jim Bleigh at Performance Contracting Inc., a Lenexa, Kan., company The FABRICATOR covered earlier this year. His group of talented welders, laser cutting machine operators, and assemblers fabricated strainers...

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Shop Management | Articles

Everyone on the same page—electronically

March 10, 2011 | By Tim Heston

E-commerce now involves the full gamut of business communications, from quoting and paying invoices to job tracking. Technology, sources said, has made the supply chain more transparent, accountable, and efficient.

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Blog Posts

The metal fabricator and the iPhone

March 8, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Immediately after listening to a presentation at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit last week, a metal fabrication executive turned on his iPhone®, rose his eyebrows, and, smiling, showed me the screen. The iPad® 2 had been announced minutes earlier. The moment couldn’t have been more...

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Whitecastle building

Shop Management | Articles

Hamburgers, metal, and mettle

February 25, 2011 | By Tim Heston

White Castle’s metal fabrication subsidiary has abided by continuous improvement principles for decades—long before Toyota became a major player in the United States.

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Blog Posts

You can’t manufacture human rights

February 22, 2011 | By Tim Heston

The news from North Africa and the Middle East has been truly amazing lately. It’s a little scary for business owners and everyone else who depends on oil (in other words, nearly everybody).  Recent unrest in oil-rich Libya has sent oil prices skyward. But over the long term, expensive oil may...

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Blog Posts

Pareto and the job shop

February 15, 2011 | By Tim Heston

After 10 years and two recessions, Vilfredo Pareto’s principle has had a rocky history with the job shop. The Italian economist discovered that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. In business, this has come to mean that 20 percent of customers provide companies...

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Blog Posts

Fabricators doing what matters

February 8, 2011 | By Tim Heston

I smile when I read articles like this. Kapco Inc., a Wisconsin metal fabricator and stamper, didn’t get noticed nationally because it expanded its metal fabrication capability during the past decade; because it continued to grow throughout the worst of the recession; or because the firm...

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Blog Posts

Credit, cash, and the manufacturing recovery

February 3, 2011 | By Tim Heston

I still remember his tropical-print shirt, which stood out among thousands of people walking the FABTECH® show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. He worked at a major wind tower production facility in California, which perhaps could explain the tropical print he was wearing. But it didn’t...

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More arc-on, less arc-off - TheFabricator.com

Arc Welding | Articles

More arc-on, less arc-off

January 27, 2011 | By Tim Heston

A North Georgia fabricator analyzes welder productivity and revamps its operations so that welders spend more time actually welding, and less time moving material and fixtures, as well as typing in data.

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Blog Posts

Confirmation, tracking, and transparency

January 25, 2011 | By Tim Heston

If you’ve done this, you know that sinking feeling after you click the mouse. Last week I booked tickets to The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit, the 6th Annual Metal Matters, to take place in sunny Orlando, Fla. These days I’m probably not the only one who likes to think about warmer...

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Blog Posts

Setting up for manufacturing growth

January 17, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Last week the federal government released a report saying exports grew for the third straight month. Despite the fact that new orders in November declined slightly, year over year new orders increased 12.3 percent from 2009 to 2010. Sure, the growth is coming off of some unprecedented lows, but the...

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