FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Smaller parts make a stable whole

February 26, 2008

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When people think of manufacturing, they think of George's story. After working 30 years, the 59-year-old mechanical engineer was laid off in 2001 from a tube fabrication company. Earlier this week, the Homer Glen, Ill., resident, who didn't want his last name used, spoke to The Herald...

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Two realities in manufacturing

February 19, 2008

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Ever since we emerged from the recession earlier this decade, I feel I've been living in two economic realities in manufacturing: One where economic expansion returned and another where the recession never really left.The presidential candidates know the second reality, judging by their stump...

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Welding's missing link

February 12, 2008

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Several years ago Ken Smith took a long, hard look at the country's welder shortage. The manager of training for Lorain County Community College's welding program in Elyria, Ohio, saw a need to tackle the issue at the source: education.Smith, together with representatives from the...

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Innovative workholding streamlines

Innovative workholding streamlines welding at Vermeer

February 12, 2008

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Lean manufacturing drove equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corp. to organize weld cells for maximum productivity. In each cell, fixtures are placed within the welder's reach, and equipment is placed for optimal ergonomics.

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Special press brake tools

Specials simplify the complex, speed productivity

February 12, 2008

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Standardized press brake tooling, absolutely necessary for a lean organization, keeps a shop flexible, but at the same time, ignoring specials would be a big mistake. If their slightly longer setup times also lead to a drastic increase in throughput, special tools make good business sense.

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Waterjet precision cutting

Waterjet makes it into the mainstream

February 12, 2008

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Advancements in the control and equipment components, each working in concert, have pushed the technology from a relative novelty to the mainstream.

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Manufacturing's story on Super Tuesday

February 5, 2008

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In August 2006 a metal fabricator got a chance to tell the president why he felt businesses like his were good for America.John West, president of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., showed the commander in chief around the company"s facility that housed, among other things, one of the...

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Stein economics

January 29, 2008

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Recently the managing editor at Money magazine sat down with Ben Steinthe quirky lawyer, economist, comedian, and former Nixon speechwriterand asked if he was worried about a recession. Stein said no.The editor responded, But aren"t you worried about the headlines, about the credit crunch, about...

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Never give up

January 21, 2008

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The economic news has been pretty grim. Housing"s down; manufacturing production"s down; employment"s down; the stock market"s down. Most everything is pretty much, well, down.My gut says, though, that Parviz Shahriari hasn"t paid it a second thought. The director of engineering at GEMVIS, a...

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All aboard the Nano

January 15, 2008

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My brother-in-law, Chris, is spending the year in Mumbai, India, as a part of a fellowship program that helps for-profit humanitarian enterprises find better ways to do business--that is, if he can get to work in one piece. Last week he took a ride on Mumbai"s commuter trains. Call it herding,...

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Komatsu H2F Series Servo Press

The science behind the servo press

January 15, 2008

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Flexibility sums up where the servo-driven mechanical press stands in its evolution. Early adopters are seeing that flexibility and asking, "What if?" What if I could control ram motion throughout the stroke and dwell for a certain period at bottom dead center (BDC)? According to sources, those "what ifs" have led to new ways of thinking about forming metal.

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Perforated Stainless Steel Sheet

Avoiding a snag

January 15, 2008

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A company specializing in perforated sheet overcomes deburring issues with an automated system using nonwoven fiber brushes.

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Laser cut brass

Shop perfects laser cutting brass, titanium

January 15, 2008

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Meeting a challenge sometimes requires out-of-the box thinking. One contract manufacturer employed a thorough knowledge of laser cutting, determination, ingenuity, and tenacity to successfully laser cut difficult-to-process materials.

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The sweet smell of community

January 8, 2008

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The word global and all its derivations are everywhere. Saying a business is a global company may make a good marketing sound bite, but think about it: If your community is home to a company that calls itself a "global enterprise," would you really care? For instance, I grew up about an...

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Imagining the new for 2008

January 3, 2008

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Everyone who works at Tampa Sheet Metal Co. has a riverboat to thank. Yes, a riverboat.During the early 1900s, Augusta Jiretz, looking out the window of her room in a waterfront hotel, saw a riverboat that reminded her of home, Hamburg, Germany. That was enough for Augusta and her husband, John, a...

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