The Fabricator®

March 2014
The FABRICATOR® is North America's leading magazine for the metal forming and fabricating industry. The magazine delivers the news, technical articles, and case histories that enable fabricators to do their jobs more efficiently. The FABRICATOR has served the industry since 1971. Print subscriptions are free to qualified persons in North America involved in metal forming and fabricating.

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Selected articles from the March 2014 issue available online:

A new business model, a new structure—a new business

March 26, 2014

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It’s easy for metal fab shop owners and managers to fall into the habit of complaining about the lack of skilled talent in the marketplace. Executives at of General Sheet Metal Works, South Bend, Ind., recognized that their employees had plenty of knowledge and skill. The fabricator just didn’t have a strong structure to channel that knowledge and build a better company.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Techniques for modeling bent and welded tubing

March 24, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis shows that when you are 3-D modeling a tubular structure, it helps to be comfortable with 3-D sketching.

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Bending basics: Streamlining press brake setup

March 24, 2014

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Press brake setup is a critical part of doing any bending job correctly. By focusing on a few key areas—selection of tools and forming processes, easy-to-understand setup sheets, and ISO documentation—the press brake operator is in a much better position to succeed.

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Drip by Drip

March 20, 2014

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Ever wonder about the backstories behind the people with the funny screen names on welding message boards? This is the story of a tool and die welder who discovered a talent for drawing with a TIG torch.

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Using virtual reality welding to evaluate and train welders

March 18, 2014

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Virtual reality welding technology is increasingly being used as a tool to streamline the hiring and evaluation process for welders. Manufacturers that have incorporated the technology are finding several benefits.

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80/20: What can possibly go wrong?

March 18, 2014

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The necessary conditions must be in place to implement the 80/20 method of management successfully.

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How a heavy fabricator reinvented itself

March 17, 2014

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BEPeterson, Avon, Mass., used to be a weld shop. Most of the work was seasonal, which isn’t really a solid foundation for growth. The fabricator changed that with a commitment to diversification. Today the company has three unique business units: power utility, medical, and pressure vessels.

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Better brushes, better technique, better cleaning

March 14, 2014

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Most fabricators don’t think much about deburring or finishing a metal surface, but they should considering how much time is spent on the activity. The first step is to understand how a wire brush actually cleans and deburrs.

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Why the stigma attached to factory work?

March 14, 2014

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People should spend less time pushing every student toward college and spend more time realizing what people are actually doing on a shop floor of progressive fabricating shops. They aren’t “laborers,” but skilled machine operators and technicians—typically without a traditional four-year degree. Any stigma that exists about today’s factory worker is no longer relevant.

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Sustainable growth in the sunny Southwest

March 13, 2014

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You might have noticed the employees of CAID Industries Inc., Tucson, Ariz., walking around FABTECH 2013 with bright yellow shirts indicating that the fabricator was hiring. The company is looking for the right talent to help turn the $40-million-a-year business into something much larger.

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Improving plate bending throughput

March 10, 2014

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Bending plate is not a process that metal fabricators consider to be a highly efficient one. The blanks typically are large and awkward to handle. Fortunately, the proper tooling strategies can help.

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Better organization of assembly templates

March 3, 2014

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KSM Industries Inc., Germantown, Wis., found success building rack mounts for power equipment, but as the business grew, the number of templates did as well. The company needed a better organization plan other than putting the templates on pallets, hoping to find them when they were needed again.

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Waterjet small gear patterns

Big opportunities in waterjet cutting microsize parts

March 3, 2014

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Waterjet nozzle technology has progressed to the point where the cutting of parts and part features smaller than 0.012 in. is now possible.

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