Selected articles from February 2008 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
With the gap between new projects and available welders only expected to widen, welding companies have to make up the difference by utilizing machines that can compensate for the labor shortage and maximize the productivity of available welders. New developments in orbital welding technology are helping companies address these tasks. Today orbital welding equipment incorporates production monitoring and analysis capabilities and is designed to be simpler to use. In continuing to advance the technology, welding equipment suppliers probably will take more of an integrated approach, tackling projects using automation and machines that combine preparation and welding operations into a comprehensive tool.
Advancements in the control and equipment components, each working in concert, have pushed the technology from a relative novelty to the mainstream.
Projection welding, also known as resistance fastener welding, is the most common method for nut and M- or T-thread bolt welding. This article examines recent experiments with projection welding of those components to various high-strength steel components.
Lean manufacturing drove equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corp. to organize weld cells for maximum productivity. In each cell, fixtures are placed within the welder's reach, and equipment is placed for optimal ergonomics.
Rob Marelli left a family-owned metal fabricating company four years ago with the intention of doing things his way. Joined by a loyal group of managers and employees, he's found success at Seconn Fabrication. In the short time the company has been open, it has earned revenues of $9 million. And the company has done this by doing things other metal fabricating competitors aren't.
Standardized press brake tooling, absolutely necessary for a lean organization, keeps a shop flexible, but at the same time, ignoring specials would be a big mistake. If their slightly longer setup times also lead to a drastic increase in throughput, special tools make good business sense.
From the CAD operator's point of view, he can use several tricks for sheet metal modeling that can keep the design in the realm of can-do manufacturing—the land where the tooling and metal processing technologies are commonly available.
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