FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
What's NEXt? Growth - TheFabricator

Shop Management | Articles

What's NEXt? Growth

June 1, 2010 | By Tim Heston

NEX Solutions experiences double-digit growth during the worst economic climate in a generation. How did managers and employees achieve such performance? By adding value.

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Plasma cutting to 'Galpinize' - TheFabricator

Plasma Cutting | Articles

Plasma cutting to 'Galpinize'

June 1, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Galpin Auto Sports pushes the envelope when it comes to car customization, and plasma cutting helps the company push the limits.

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Blog Posts

Taking stock of employee ownership

May 25, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Butch Munson has worked at the same metal fabrication company for 43 years, and in a few years he plans to retire. He’s had a good career at LeFiell Mfg. Co., a tube and specialty fabricator in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Sure, the shop has had its ups and downs, but generally the company has always...

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Blog Posts

The laser is 50, and still beaming

May 17, 2010 | By Tim Heston

On May 16, 1960, Theodore Maiman of Hughes Labs became the first person on the planet to build light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation—or laser. (Thank goodness the acronym stuck.) On Sunday, the laser turned 50. I’m willing to bet that on that day in 1960, Ignacio “Nacho”...

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Blog Posts

Is manufacturing cool again?

May 10, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Did you here? The folks who make things for a living are now … cool. Many business gurus out there, including Warren Buffett, say manufacturers are leading the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management reported the fifth month of growth in manufacturing employment. ISM’s employment...

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combination machines

Plasma Cutting | Articles

Done-in-one, cutting plate

May 4, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Combination machines have brought the done-in-one concept to the heavy plate fabricator's shop floor.

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Blog Posts

Good news from the oracle

May 3, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Omaha, Neb., became a worldwide business epicenter over the weekend. Its oracle spoke. Warren Buffett held his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder extravaganza in Omaha. He spoke in the Qwest Center to some 40,000 investors, and afterward held a press conference to trumpet his message: Business...

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Blog Posts

Labor is not a bad word

April 27, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Countless talking heads have argued for and against globalization. Some say it’s an unstoppable force, as companies continue their hunt for the company that gives the most bang for their buck. In manufacturing, that often translates to the cheapest labor that can meet or exceed required quality...

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Blog Posts

Irony in Ireland: Global trade and volcanic ash

April 19, 2010 | By Tim Heston

‭This week has dripped with irony. On Wednesday I traveled to a press event at Combilift,‭ ‬a forklift and material handling equipment manufacturer several hours northwest of Dublin,‭ ‬in the rolling green hills of County Monaghan.‭ ‬The company exports most of its vehicles and keeps...

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Blog Posts

Fabricating just enough, just in time

April 15, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Two weeks ago I talked with one fabrication shop owner who has what last year would have been considered an unusual problem. Bankers were lined up, eager to give the small business owner a loan--only he didn’t need one. Work is coming in the door, but it’s mostly small jobs, nothing to warrant...

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impluse manufacturing

Shop Management | Articles

If you don't measure it, you can't improve it

April 1, 2010 | By Tim Heston

At Impulse Manufacturing, operators double as quality assurance personnel. The company tracks efficiency and quality via an innovative Web-based shop-management system. The company's mantra: If you don't measure it, you can't improve it.

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grinding safety

Finishing | Articles

How to make grinding safer and more productive

April 1, 2010 | By Tim Heston

When it comes to grinding, a more productive worker is often a safer worker, if given the right tools and training.

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ralco industries

Shop Management | Articles

ERP and the cloud

April 1, 2010 | By Tim Heston

The concepts of cloud computing, or software as a service (SaaS), show their mettle at one automotive metal stamper. The stamper is in the middle of a growth spurt, and is proof that companies can find success in the changing automotive market.

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Blog Posts

Ford sheds another brand, thank goodness

March 29, 2010 | By Tim Heston

My 3-year-old daughter has never seen the lights on at a house up the street; the building has been empty and on the market longer than she’s been alive. I don’t know the owners or the situation, but I do know the asking price has steadily fallen. The owners probably just want to get that asset...

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Blog Posts

Health care and the angry citizen

March 22, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Talking with various contract metal fabricators over the past few months, I now realize what health care insurance means to them and other small-business owners across the country. Providing health care is a moral imperative. Sure, providing good benefits makes a shop competitive. But at the end...

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