FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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Why the stigma attached to factory work?

March 14, 2014

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People should spend less time pushing every student toward college and spend more time realizing what people are actually doing on a shop floor of progressive fabricating shops. They aren’t “laborers,” but skilled machine operators and technicians—typically without a traditional four-year degree. Any stigma that exists about today’s factory worker is no longer relevant.

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Sustainable growth in the sunny Southwest

March 13, 2014

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You might have noticed the employees of CAID Industries Inc., Tucson, Ariz., walking around FABTECH 2013 with bright yellow shirts indicating that the fabricator was hiring. The company is looking for the right talent to help turn the $40-million-a-year business into something much larger.

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About growing the economic pie

March 3, 2014

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At The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit, held last week in Austin, Texas, industry executives talked about growing the economic pie. One keynote speaker recalled how his business effectively grew the pie, thanks to open book management.

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millennials

How millennials will make a difference

February 28, 2014

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Millenials have gotten a bad reputation. But the best of them may find a metal fabrication career extremely rewarding.

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The few, the proud, the small-shop employee

February 19, 2014

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Small business employees now make up a smaller piece of the employment pie, and this may say a lot about manufacturing's perennial skilled-labor crisis.

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mission-critical

Mission-critical metal fabrication

February 17, 2014

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No matter how eye-popping the technology, the means of getting a job done is secondary; the result is primary. This is where General Tool Co.'s "team of experts" appraoch comes into play.

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ESAB parent to acquire Victor Technologies

February 13, 2014

A welding and cutting equipment company with significant presence in Europe and South America is set for a bump in market share stateside. On Feb. 12 ESAB’s parent, Colfax Corp., based in Fulton, Md., announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to buy St. Louis, Mo.-based Victor...

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laser photonics

Laser photonics meets shop floor pragmatism

February 10, 2014

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Pragmatism rules the day at Directed Light, a job shop focusing on a wide range of industrial laser applications, from UV to far-infrared.

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stamping

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014

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At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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