FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Mr. Bureaucracy, tear down this wall

February 12, 2013

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This morning I talked with Paul Luber, CEO of Milwaukee-based Super Steel, a contract fabricator on a serious rebound. In 2010 the company went into receivership. Now, the fabricator recently has completed a serious growth spurt--it doubled revenue in just 12 months--and is preparing for 15 percent...

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Are we busy yet?

February 7, 2013

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Length: 5:10

Employees at CR Metal Products were worried last year. Machines weren't running constantly, and the shop seemed empty. Thing was, 2012 was one of CR Metal's best years, and managers attribute much of the success to an improvement method called quick-response manufacturing. Read the article.

The real costs behind miscommunication

January 22, 2013

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At the last FABTECH® show, I ran into an engineer who works for GE Appliance & Lighting, looking for products that would speed that all-important art-to-part time--that all-important product-development time. Their comments make sense in light of recent growth of the company’s Louisville,...

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Focusing on information waste

January 15, 2013

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Yesterday the Brookings Institution, along with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, proposed a program that would involve the federal government designating 20 “manufacturing universities” to prepare students for the sectors that need engineering help. Most intriguing, perhaps...

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Taxes, skilled workers, and certainty

January 10, 2013

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Will a new employee perform well? What will the new tax environment be? These challenges and more create levels of uncertainty that drive business decisions.

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Fabricating with purpose - TheFabricator.com

Fabricating with purpose

January 10, 2013

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Cambridge Engineering made the transition from batch manufacturing that threw labor at production problems to one-piece flow and continuous improvement. A good corporate culture played a critical role.

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Metal fabricating with focus amid chaos

January 8, 2013

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Early last year, I recall eating lunch in the break room at Atlanta-based Metcam, which hosted a press brake training seminar run by Steve Benson and organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. Sitting across from me was a press brake supervisor, we chatted a bit about his tours...

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Taiwan’s river of commerce - TheFabricator.com

Taiwan’s river of commerce

January 7, 2013

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Taiwanese metal manufacturers have grown from small, family involved entrepreneurial shops to world-class suppliers of parts and technology.

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A thanks to you all

December 17, 2012

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When I visit a contract metal fabricator, often the focus really isn’t about the metal parts or the fancy machinery. It’s about co-workers, who often happen to be family members. Some aren’t blood relatives, but they might as well be. There’s a real sense of community at these shops. I’ve...

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The competitive cluster in metal fabrication

December 13, 2012

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A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out the strength of U.S. manufacturing when it comes to--get ready for the technical jargon--“big stuff.” By that the Journal reporter meant mining equipment and heavy machinery. Economist Chris Kuehl pointed out this fact in a recent edition of...

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Unions, right-to-work laws, and technical training

December 12, 2012

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On Dec. 20, 1936, workers at a  GM plant in Flint, Mich., had enough--and sat down. Many consider that sit-down strike in 1936 as the impetus for the modern labor movement. That made yesterday’s news more poignant--when Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature made Michigan a right-to-work state. People...

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Skills gap, or education gap?

December 11, 2012

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Government officials are paying more attention to manufacturing these days. It’s now politically prudent to preach the merits of reshoring, near-shoring, and the return of the “good manufacturing job.” Of course, this also puts more scrutiny on manufacturing as an industry. Are these good...

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A matter of trust - TheFabricator.com

A matter of trust

December 3, 2012

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Trust is something that’s earned not only through hard work, but also by treating employees not as “direct labor hours,” but as, well, people.

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2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others - TheFabricator.com

2013 Forecast: Rosy for some, sterling mediocrity for others

December 3, 2012

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Consumer spending is up. Even housing is up. Yes, pundits preach global uncertainty, even gloom and doom. But as owners of small or medium-sized businesses, metal fabricators have orders to fill, and next year many expect the volume of orders to continue or even increase a bit.

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Ironworker basics: Cut it clean - TheFabricator.com

Ironworker basics: Cut it clean

December 3, 2012

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How does an operator avoid distortion and burrs? For the ironworker’s common cutting stations--the punch, angle cutter, notcher, and plate shear--it boils down to matching the job at hand with some basic variables.

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