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April 8, 2015
In 1973 full-time farmer Mike Van Mill tried his hand at building a grain wagon for a neighboring farmer, and he has been at it full-time since incorporating Brent Industries a few years later. Now the operations manager for Unverferth Mfg., Shell Rock, Iowa, Van Mill is part of a team that manufactures implements under the Brent brand name. The staff runs the facility like a savvy farmer runs a farm, always looking for a better way but proceeding cautiously. A sheet laser purchased in the early 2000s led to a tube laser purchased in 2014.
March 12, 2015
Former toolmaker Toolspec Manufacturing Co. has transitioned over the years to become a fabricator, and over the years acquired 14 hydraulic benders. The machines are capable but require lengthy tool changeovers, hours of programming time, and substantial expertise to maintain bend consistency. It recently invested in two all-electric machines, benders that don’t have these issues.
March 5, 2015
For structural fabrication-and-construction companies, efficiency in logistics is vital. A typical column, beam, truss or joist is handled three times—first to a storage yard, then to a staging area, and finally to the semitrailer. However, this isn’t the only way to do it. Reinicke Athens Inc. recently invested in a straddle carrier from Combilift Ltd. Instead of moving one part at a time, the truck lifts and moves an entire load a time, cutting its trailer-loading time from up to 8 man-hours to as little as 30 minutes.
February 4, 2015
Accurate and reliable length and speed measurements are critical parameters that help tube and pipe producers increase yield, improve quality, and reduce production costs. The relentless improvement in electronic technology, accompanied by falling prices, have made laser-based measurement systems more capable and affordable than ever before.
January 23, 2015
An update from an article that ran in the September 2013 TPJ, this column describes a research project intended to help eliminate trial-and-error setups, conserve programmers’ time, and help get products to market faster by helping everyone involved in a bending project home in on the optimal bending process before getting started.
January 21, 2015
When fabricators need to remove lubricants or corrosion inhibitors from tube or pipe, they have no shortage of choices, both mechanical and chemical. However, they have a third option: Thermal. The intense heat developed in a plasma cleaning processes makes greases, oils, and contaminants inert.
January 21, 2015
Bill Farris, owner of auto components supplier and repair shop Marden Tire & Auto, Rockford, Ill., focused on tires and repairs for many years, staying away from the inventory-heavy exhaust business. All that changed when King Cobra Muffler Centers Inc. approached him with a new way to handle exhaust systems: Stock straight pipe and bend systems when necessary.
January 20, 2015
Industry veteran Michael Ferreri provides an overview of the common methods of producing small-diameter stainless steel tubing for medical applications
December 17, 2014
Chromalox, a manufacturer of industrial heating systems, relied on skilled workers do quite a few manual processes, especially cutting and beveling. As the supply of people with this skill slowly dried up, the company realized that it would need to invest in an automated system. It chose an Ultra-Cut 400 XT plasma power supply from Thermal Dynamics (Victor) and coupled it to a 6-axis CNC pipe-handling system from Watts Specialties Inc.
December 16, 2014
Tube and pipe production is a capital-intensive process, but paying close attention to the efficiency of some of the lowest-cost items, specifically the consumables, can yield big benefits in productivity. At the cutoff, proper blade choice and optimizing the cutting depth are important first steps, but it’s also necessary to diagnose saw problems and—most important of all—develop a blade replacement strategy that minimizes mill downtime.
December 11, 2014
Burger Boat Co. has weathered many a storm in its 150-year history, often changing direction to incorporate new technologies and adapt to changing market conditions. When the pleasure craft industry sank in 2009, it went after commercial work, and in the process had to develop a program for working in steel, which it hadn’t done in five decades or so. With the new process came new consumables from ESAB.
November 5, 2014
Frustrated by an OEM that always makes easy products complicated, uses unrealistic tolerances, or leaves out critical information? You’re in good company—every manufacturer experiences this type of thing once in a while. Superior Tube Products Inc., Davenport, Iowa, deals with this by providing classes that teach the finer points of bending tube and pipe.
November 3, 2014
Successful hydroforming isn’t just about the technology; often it’s about the strategy. A forward-thinking die development plan, global die standardization, and knowledge about forming materials other than mild steel are three components that can go a long way in making hydroforming a viable option.