FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles

Employee engangement drives the manufacturing economy

July 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Automation and other advanced manufacturing technology have become the ticket for entry to compete in custom fabrication, but people still make the difference.

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Shop Management | Articles

Software tracks truth on the manufacturing shop floor

July 14, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing execution systems manage schedules based not about assumptions on available capacity, but on data gathered directly from manufacturing equipment.

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Laser Cutting | Articles

Gas gives the big assist in laser cutting

July 13, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Assist gas aids cutting and evacuates molten material from the kerf. It’s a key variable, one that may be the culprit for a bad cut edge. Just know that it’s not the only potential culprit.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

A job shop story about diving in head first

June 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Many fab shop owners aren't in this business for the money. The act of diving in head first drives them.

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Laser Welding | Articles

Clamp, enclose, laser-weld

June 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Laser welding works extremely well, as long as you have the right enclosure, keep a clean environment, and make sure you have proper clamping to maintain a consistent gap between your base metals. One laser welding technology tackles all three of these challenges.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Negative pressure yields positive results in resistance welding

June 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A system helps resistance welding lines save water as tip changeouts become more frequent. The technology uses negative pressure, similar to placing your thumb on top of a straw and lifting it out of a glass of water.

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Laser Welding | Articles

How project management drives manufacturing success

June 23, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing is no longer about making millions of this or that for years on end. It instead entails a team of experts who get together to tackle a project—or, in reality, many projects at once. This exemplifies modern metal manufacturing, and at Duggan Manufacturing, it happens every day.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

Do we have a college bubble?

June 16, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The housing and higher education markets are eerily familiar.

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Assembly and Joining | Articles

Technology Spotlight: Negative pressure yields positive results in resistance welding

June 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A system helps resistance welding lines save water as tip changeouts become more frequent. The technology uses negative pressure, similar to placing your thumb on top of a straw and lifting it out of a glass of water.

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Shop Management | Articles

Better ideas, better growth at Texas metal fabricator

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Special Products & Mfg. Inc., a custom fabricator in Rockwall, Texas, has transformed its culture. A decade ago it was a command-and-control environment. Today, ideas from front-line workers drive improvement.

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Shop Management | Articles

Going vertical: Distributor expands into stamping, metal fabrication, and assembly

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Millenia Products Group launched as a distributor in 2001, but from the very start it had plans for vertical integration down the supply chain. Today it offers distribution, stamping, roll forming, fabrication, and full assembly services—all in one organization.

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Shop Management | Articles

The 2015 FAB 40: The largest custom metal fabricators grow even bigger

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The 2015 FAB 40 shows a growing industry, with some of the largest shops posting the biggest revenue gains over last year. Will such growth lead to more industry consolidation? For some industrial sectors, probably, but for other areas of metal fabrication, probably not.

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Bending | Articles

Precision sheet metal bending, bump by bump

June 1, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Bump bending remains more art than science, especially for large and thick workpieces, but using the right tools and setup procedures help make this challenging brake operation much more efficient.

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Shop Management | Articles

Driving change, not fork trucks

May 28, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Quality Industries has changed a lot in two years, and in another two years it will change even more. A new management team is putting a new emphasis on engineering and continuous improvement.

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Shop Management | Articles

Cheese, metal fabrication, and the future skilled worker

May 21, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Over the past two decades, Millerbernd Systems has evolved into a complex entity--part fabricator, part automation systems provider. It also launched a local education initiative to ensure talent remains in the pipeline.

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