Tim Heston

Tim Heston

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

Metals/Materials | Blog Posts

FABTECH 2015: A metaphorical pit stop in the productivity race

November 19, 2015 | By Tim Heston

NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace was a hit at this year's show. Considering the nature of the sport, fast-paced while still rooted in advanced engineering, it's easy to see why attendees relate so well. And perhaps no one related better than those who exhibited at the show as part of an emerging field: 3-D printing.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

FABTECH 2015: Innovation to serve the company, not the process

November 18, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A certain excitement permeated this year's show, and it wasn't just about this incredibly fast laser, that press brake that eliminates setup time, or that welding power source that connects to the cloud and simplifies welding parameter selection. It was about how all these technologies and more can work together to make a shop better.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

FABTECH, community, and normalcy

November 17, 2015 | By Tim Heston

FABTECH was bigger than ever. The terrible news on Friday puts things in perspective, and yet shows just how valuable the "normalcy" of a trade show, and a healthy industry, really is.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Manufacturing Fundamentals first, then improvement

November 10, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Sustaining improvement efforts remains difficult for many shops, but sustaining may not be so difficult with a foundation of good business fundamentals in manufacturing. This includes accurate bills of materials, accurate routings, good inventory control, a documented system for materials planning and procurement, concise business rules, and employee training.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How SWOT and lean go together

November 5, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A SWOT analysis covers a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But how do you really define strengths and weaknesses? Much of it can come from data gleaned from a good flow assessment.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Why machine monitoring matters

November 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Monitoring machine performance in real time is gaining traction in metal fabrication. MTConnect, a machine communication standard that has made serious headway in the machining arena, now has a toehold in the sheet metal business.

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Bending | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Dutch metal fabrication: About flow

November 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

One theme carried throughout a recent LVD press tour of custom fabricators in Holland: With fast changeover and the ability to access the right information at the right time, even a custom fabricator with the highest product mix can achieve smooth part flow.

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Laser Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Know laser weld penetration—now

November 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Inline coherent imaging, or ICI, can monitor laser weld depth by measuring the distance to the bottom of the keyhole, providing realtime weld penetration feedback.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Celebrating the people in manufacturing

November 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing Day celebrates what’s at the heart of the real world of progressive manufacturing. It’s about people talking and working together to make their lives, and the lives of their customers, easier.

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Shop Management | Blog Posts

How the master-and-apprentice relationship builds a skilled workforce

October 28, 2015 | By Tim Heston

New technology allows rookies to start making good parts right away, but that connection with experienced workers still needs to be there.

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Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How managing by valuation is changing Farris Fab

October 26, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Farris Fab has grown to become a $24.5 million enterprise. Within the past year company leaders have started to manage by valuation. They have no intention to sell, but maximizing the value of the company also happens to improve the overall operation.

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Arc Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

A new spin on welding

October 19, 2015 | By Tim Heston

SpinArc, a kind of gas metal arc welding, rotates the wire at a controlled speed, diameter, and direction. This feature reportedly improves weld quality and productivity, and it makes more types of weld joints possible.

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Stamping | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Freeing space for metal fabrication

October 19, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In a few years Performance Stamping may well be a very different company. It recently cleared away inventory to free space not for more stamping, but for metal fabrication.

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Laser Cutting | Blog Posts

Evolution of the cutting laser: About the diode

October 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Don't blink, or you'll miss the fastest evolving technology in the custom fab shop: the cutting laser.

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Automation and Robotics | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Small batches, big-time automation

October 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Rapid-Line Inc., a contract manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich., has a long history of early technology adoption. Two years ago it became an early adopter again, this time with an entirely different kind of robot. Regardless of the technology, everyone keeps their eye on what truly matters when it comes to manufacturing efficiency: how long it takes for an order to make it to the shipping dock.

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