FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

How big fabricators are getting bigger

May 6, 2014

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North Georgia fabricator Impulse Manufacturing just acquired two machining companies, effectively doubling its size and greatly expanding its manufacturing capabilities. The growth shows what continuous improvement makes possible.

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Right fastener, right place, right time

April 28, 2014

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How do you error-proof a hardware insertion operation? One half involves the hardware insertion process itself, including proper training, but the other half entails inventory management: making sure operators have easy access to the right hardware at the right time.

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Beveling plate without the HAZ

April 28, 2014

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To avoid a heat affected zone and improve accuracy and throughput, fabricators can turn to nonthermal beveling options, incluiding milling, nibbling, and automated grinding

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Wind energy meets the sail

April 21, 2014

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Metal fabricator Pete Agtuca launched a product several years ago, but it failed to gain acceptance in the marketplace. He now has his second wind. He’s applying the science behind that failed product—generator technology that can generate electricity at low rotations per minute—to wind power generation.

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A growing pie for the next generation

April 15, 2014

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How can fabricators attract the best and brightest? According to speakers at The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, it's about growing the business through progressive management and open communication.

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How scalable is contract metal fabrication?

April 14, 2014

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How big can custom fabrication get? Judging by recent trends at some of the larger contract operations in this country—very, very big.

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Quality assurance gets an upgrade at Eaton Fabricating

April 14, 2014

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Eaton Fabricating Co. Inc., Grafton, Ohio, revamped its front office and shop floor operation to ensure parts emerge from machines right the first time. The key is that management gives operators time to perform quality assurance checks at every stage in manufacturing.

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A foundation for 5S

April 7, 2014

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Macksteel Warehouse, a service center and job shop serving area OEMs, has undergone significant transformations in recent years, including the way employees sweep the floor.

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How fabrication complements stamping

April 3, 2014

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Length: 3:50

Senior Editor Tim Heston talks with Alex Robertson, business development manager at Fisher-Barton South Carolina about how the business uses both fabrication and stamping to serve the mid-volume market. For more on Fisher Barton South Carolina’s operation, click here.

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Laser cutting on the level

April 3, 2014

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A laser cutting machine doesn’t care how hard or soft a metal is, but the material’s flatness matters immensely. That’s why so many service centers are investing in leveling processes that aim to equalize stresses, ensuring sheet metal stays flat after being cut.

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Apprenticeship, North Carolina-style

March 31, 2014

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Max Daetwyler Corp., a Huntersville, N.C.-based contract manufacturer, has evolved significantly to serve the changing business needs in the custom machinery arena. Its approach to employee skill development has evolved as well, with a growing regional partnership founded on the concepts behind European-style apprenticeships.

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A new business model, a new structure—a new business

March 26, 2014

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It’s easy for metal fab shop owners and managers to fall into the habit of complaining about the lack of skilled talent in the marketplace. Executives at of General Sheet Metal Works, South Bend, Ind., recognized that their employees had plenty of knowledge and skill. The fabricator just didn’t have a strong structure to channel that knowledge and build a better company.

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The odd industrial barometer of capacity utilization

March 17, 2014

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Industrial capacity utilization soured in the booming 1990s. Today average utilization is lower, and yet the overall value of manufacturing output continues to climb. Over the long term, is capacity utilization really an accurate barometer for demand? If a fabricator's capacity utilization drops, is the shop struggling, or has it gotten more efficient?

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How a heavy fabricator reinvented itself

March 17, 2014

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BEPeterson, Avon, Mass., used to be a weld shop. Most of the work was seasonal, which isn’t really a solid foundation for growth. The fabricator changed that with a commitment to diversification. Today the company has three unique business units: power utility, medical, and pressure vessels.

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Better brushes, better technique, better cleaning

March 14, 2014

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Most fabricators don’t think much about deburring or finishing a metal surface, but they should considering how much time is spent on the activity. The first step is to understand how a wire brush actually cleans and deburrs.

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