FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Blog Posts

Measuring the manufacturing cycle in metal fabrication

September 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Many fabricators scrutinize how fast a laser cuts: How quickly can a machine finish a nest, how many blanks per minute can a press brake form. But how do these processing speeds correlate to a custom fabricator’s profitability?

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Bending | Blog Posts

How small batches simplify metal fabrication

September 14, 2015 | By Tim Heston

When order quantities shrink, things can get really complicated on the job shop floor--unless the order-to-ship cycle shrinks as well.

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Plasma Cutting | Articles

Plasma cutting meets biochemistry

September 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A fluid for plasma cutting tables is designed to coat workpieces to prevent rust and corrosion. The fluid effectively biodegrades bacteria on contact. The company also reports that the fluid is safe enough to send down the sewer.

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Materials Handling | Articles

Parts identification for extreme environments

September 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A marking technology—which involves the interaction between a laser, coating, and metal substrate—is designed to withstand harsh processing environments, including blast cleaning and hot-dipped galvanizing.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles

Metal fabrication, automation, and the big picture

September 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Ludlow Manufacturing Inc.’s managers are big believers in automation, but they’re not just interested in shortening machine cycle times. They look at the big picture, from the first order to the final shipment.

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Metals/Materials | Articles

Will this stainless steel weld rust?

September 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Is a stainless weld truly passivated, or will some unexpected rust emerge down the road? New testing technology, used in-house by fabricators, helps answer this question

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Shop Management | Articles

Are workers really less productive?

September 2, 2015 | By Tim Heston

According to the Labor Department, American workers aren’t as productive as they once were. But how do we measure productivity? Perhaps most important, do customers value it?

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Shop Management | Articles

Metal fabrication basics: 5 insights on the humble hand tool

September 1, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Career metalworker Tom Lipton shares his insights on something that’s often taken for granted in the fab shop: hand tools.

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Roll Forming | Articles

Better testing leads to better roll forming

August 25, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A new testing device uncovers the range of yield stresses in specific materials and thus helps roll forming technicians better predict how certain materials will perform.

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Oxyfuel Cutting | Articles

Oxyfuel cutting thick, fast—and safely

August 11, 2015 | By Tim Heston

An oxyfuel cutting gas from MagneGas Corp. cuts thick plate with a highly concentrated flame. The gas—created from liquid biomass via plasma gasification—has in a mechanized setup cut 3.5-in.-thick plate at 18 IPM. The company also says that the gas is especially safe because it’s lighter than air.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Custom metal fabricator grows beyond sheet metal

August 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Nu-Way Industries, a fabricator near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, launched a new touchscreen display business, combining expertise in metal fabrication, assembly, and supply chain management.

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Shop Management | Articles

4 tips on avoiding property tax sticker shock

August 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Planning for your next commercial property tax assessment boils down to having the right information at the right time, and using the right strategy.

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Bending | Articles

8 questions for efficient bending on the press brake

July 27, 2015 | By Tim Heston

At S&B Machine in Mobile, Ala., Head Programmer Danny Brown streamlines bending by making sure the right operators have the right information at the right time.

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Shop Management | Articles

CB Fabricating finds success giving people second chances

July 20, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Indiana fabricator continues to grow thanks to technology and a small, dedicated staff. The small shop may prove the merits of giving people a second chance. It’s not just moral. For CB Fabricating, it’s not just moral; it’s good business.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Knowing and appreciating the craft of metal fabrication

July 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The recipe for precision metal fabrication includes technology and craft. We hear a lot about the technology, but not so much about the craft.

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