Tim Heston

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Big-league metal fabrication

April 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In September 2015 contract fabricator BTD expanded to the Southeast with its purchase of Impulse Manufacturing. The deal hints at just how scalable custom metal fabrication may be.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

FMA Annual Meeting: Navigating into metal fabricating’s future

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

This year’s FMA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in February, celebrated the technology companies need to compete and the worker skill shops need to sustain that success through the generations.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Offline weld robot programming evolves

April 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Groupe Gravel invested in robotic welding and plasma cutting. And from the very start, for most work, technicians never programmed jobs using a teach pendant.

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Machining | Articles | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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 | The FABRICATOR

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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