FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Machining | Articles

How fabricators manage machining

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

These days certain custom fabrication operations have in-house machining capabilities. How these capabilities are managed depends on a company’s location, access to talent, and customer demands. The FABRICATOR talked with managers at two custom fabricators, each of which takes a distinct approach to managing its machining operations.

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Shop Management | Articles

What brings youth to the sheet metal business?

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

How can a fab shop bring talented youth into the fold? Two members of FMA’s Young Professionals’ Council tell what sparked their interest--and it isn’t what you might expect.

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Shop Management | Articles

New ideas spur success at Minnesota metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bermo, a stamper and fabricator in Minnesota, takes idea generation seriously. Some of the company’s latest initiatives, including rapid prototyping and automated quoting, have come from employees starting a sentence with, “Wouldn’t it be great if …”

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Shop Management | Articles

So you want to buy a metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Buying a company isn’t just about getting a certain multiple. A buyer needs to define a buying strategy, analyze a seller’s business model, and uncover what the seller’s company truly is worth.

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Materials Handling | Articles

Product development drives growth at Illinois metal fabricator

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The Great Recession nearly killed J-tec Industries, a cart manufacturer in East Peoria, Ill. But the company pulled through and, thanks to its product development efforts, is now experiencing record growth. During the past two years, its workforce has doubled in size.

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CAD/CAM Software | Articles

In custom metal fabrication, nothing is typical

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Average on-time delivery rates in custom fabrication have remained stubbornly low. Clear, constant communication and transparency can change this. And here software can help, even at the smallest shops.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Scholarship fund to honor Dick Kallage

March 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

FMA’s Nuts, Bolts, & Thingamajigs foundation has set up a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Dick Kallage, an influential member of FMA and columnist for The FABRICATOR magazine. Kallage died of cancer Feb. 18.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Positive manufacturing news: A well-kept secret during the election season

March 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Negativity reigns during this elections season. Here's a secret: Some good news does indeed exist, even in manufacturing.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

FMA Annual Meeting: Sharing ideas to build a better business

March 10, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Networking, conversation, and idea sharing are at the heart of the FMA Annual Meeting. For instance, what if a shop salesperson learned to operate a tube laser? That idea at one roundtable got participants talking.

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CAD/CAM Software | Blog Posts

The digital-thread potential in custom metal fabrication

February 22, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The ideas behind the "digital thread" in the manufacturing supply chain may have big potential in custom metal fabrication.

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Machining | Blog Posts

Sheet metal and plate meet the mill and lathe

February 17, 2016 | By Tim Heston

3-D software may be bringing two different crafts, sheet metal fabrication and machining, just a little closer together.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Oil and gas downturn: Worse than 2009? For some, yes

February 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

For some fab shops with deep ties to the energy sector, the past year and a half has not been fun.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Manufacturing’s image: The engaging logic of the entire process

February 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

What sparked Pat Hopkins' interest in manufacturing wasn't just the technology, but the engaging logic of the entire fabrication process.

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Shop Management | Articles

Managing metal fabrication through the generations

February 10, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Although the study of generations is an inexact social science, it may help company leaders empathize, minimize conflict, and get everyone on the same page.

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Shop Management | Articles

Lean manufacturing prepares lawn care OEM for the future

February 10, 2016 | By Tim Heston

After rapid growth, a commercial lawn care OEM prepares for the future with better part flow, better production controls, better communication, and better planning. The company’s continuous improvement initiative is well on its way.

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