FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

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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The factory worker stigma

January 29, 2014

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The factory worker—that is, the skilled technician—makes the products others have researched and engineered, and you can’t have a domestic manufacturing industry without them.

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Passing on the torch in metal fabrication

January 20, 2014

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The boomer generation is retiring, and they’ll need to hand off the torch to somebody. The big question is who.

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Photo Welders

Where the best welders go, and why

January 13, 2014

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Why aren’t wages rising for welders even though companies say they can’t find skilled welders? Why is welding still one of the most difficult skills for fabricators to hire? What can fabricators do to find the best welding talent?

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Press brake training helps build a foundation for success - TheFabricator.com

Press brake training helps build a foundation for success

January 2, 2014

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Robbins Manufacturing of Fall River, Wis., has invested in an extensive training program, including machine-specific training, especially on the press brake. The company also has invested heavily in new technology, including a brake with automatic tool change. Both investments are paying off.

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A trade meritocracy

December 16, 2013

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Last week, when I visited Fisher-Barton South Carolina, Alex Robertson, business development manager, showed me a part on the shipping dock—a part he was proud of. The contract manufacturer had won the job about eight months ago. And it beat a quote from a stamper and fabricator in India....

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Georgia Trade School attracts a new audience to welding

December 13, 2013

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Length: 5:15

Executive Director Ryan Blythe (left), Senior Weld Instructor Elaine Waters, and Vice President and CWI Sean Quinton have taken a focused, hands-on approached with Georgia Trade School, a private welding school.

Laser cutting: The headwater of metal manufacturing

December 10, 2013

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During the past few years the industry has seen some incredible productivity gains in the laser cutting arena. Solid-state fiber and disk lasers are starting to dominate the FABTECH® show, and companies are beginning to tout the technology not just for thin sheet cutting, but for plate cutting as...

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Economist at FABTECH: Invest now and reap the benefits

December 5, 2013

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Fabricators may look back at 2013 as a turning-point year, an initial ramp-up period that may be follow. At least, that was the picture keynote speaker Alan Beulieu painted at this year’s FABTECH in Chicago, Nov. 18-21. Popular perception has it that the U.S. is in the middle of a long, slow,...

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Hinging Success—on Hinges - TheFabricator.com

Hinging Success—on Hinges

December 2, 2013

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Midlake grew from a small garage shop to a precision sheet metal manufacturer with an unusual focus--on hinges.

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Big improvements in a short time - TheFabricator.com

Big improvements in a short time

December 2, 2013

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A.J. Antunes started down the path of lean manufacturing about a year ago. Its managers say they are in the "baby steps" of lean--but those steps have been pretty big.

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2014 forecast: The big question mark - TheFabricator.com

2014 forecast: The big question mark

December 1, 2013

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2014 could be a banner year for the metal fabricaton business, or it could be a dud. Uncertainty reigns, and at the end of 2013, most of it focused on Washington.

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How one job shop retains skilled talent - TheFabricator.com

How one job shop retains skilled talent

November 25, 2013

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Southern Metalcraft Inc.’s average employee tenure is 20 years. Speaking on a shop tour during The FABRICATOR’s 2013 Technology Summit, the company founder described why employees rarely leave.

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A reporter’s notebook from FABTECH

November 20, 2013

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FABTECH® is on. It’s big---well on track to be the largest to date. Before Thursday’s close, it’s anticipated that more than 35,000 will walk the halls of McCormick Place. It’s flashy. Solid-state lasers are cutting thin, but also thick stock. I saw a 1-micron laser slice through 1 inch...

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The future of the laser in metal fabrication

November 12, 2013

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This time next week I’ll be walking the floor at McCormick Place, seeing what’s new, what’s unusual, and perhaps a little about what the future holds in metal fabrication. Even after years covering FABTECH®, I feel like a kid at a candy store. Sometimes I think about what the industry will...

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