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Article

December 15, 2011
5 commonly overlooked laser maintenance areas
For some, laser maintenance is a given. The meticulous metal fabricator knows how important it is to keep the laser cutting machine at its top efficiency and productivity levels. The equipment is probably under a service contract, and the... Read more...

Article

November 12, 2010
Another day, another economic recovery
Pizza never tasted so good. That thought probably crossed at least one employee’s mind at the end of March 2009, when managers at Ometek Inc. threw a small pizza party in the company cafeteria. It was no big hurrah, but the get-together... Read more...

Article

November 1, 2010
The brain and brawn of modern automation
A production manager rushes into his boss’s office holding an e-mail printout from a customer, who’s wondering where his parts are. It turns out the shop fabricated some, but not all, of the parts the customer requested. Or... Read more...

Article

July 1, 2010
Doing what was always done doesn't cut it
ABMyr Industries Inc. is a Michigan fabricator that’s survived one of the most difficult economic times ever for the state. ABMyr also happens to be a company that wached two of its major customers, Chrysler and GM, declare bankruptcy,... Read more...

Article

April 1, 2010
If you don't measure it, you can't improve it
In 2004 Impulse Manufacturing had your typical job shop floor. Jobs came in, bounced around the shop to various areas, and then headed out the door. Part flow wasn't top of mind. The company had made some significant machinery investments,... Read more...

Article

February 11, 2010
Waste not, want more
Waste is not tolerated at General MetalWorks (GenMet), Mequon, Wis. That includes waste related to transportation, processing, inventory, and production, as well as underutilizing people's talents. A tour of the facility reflects the... Read more...

Article

July 2, 2009
Nontraditional fabricator chasing nontraditional markets
The economic troubles that plague Michigan right now hardly qualify as breaking news. Everyone is well aware of the lack of demand for automobiles and the corresponding aftershocks that have affected everyone from corporate executives to shop... Read more...

Article

January 27, 2009
Green machines
"Going electric" seems to be the latest step in the evolution of fabricating equipment. From turret punches to stamping presses, all seem to follow a natural progression from mechanically to hydraulically to, finally, electrically driven power.... Read more...

Article

January 27, 2009
Laser and waterjet: friends or foes?
Fabrication has long been a cornerstone of U.S. manufacturing. It plays a central role, providing components and subassemblies to other manufacturing sectors, such as aerospace, appliance, and automotive. Significant advancements in metalworking... Read more...

Article

November 25, 2008
Getting close, bending safe
Press brake operators work under some unique conditions. They move their fingers close to the point of operation, where the machine exerts tons of force that could easily crush a limb. And they do it all while under pressure to produce more... Read more...

Article

October 14, 2008
Pallet changer, tower, or shelving system with that laser?
If you decide to automate material handling in your laser cutting operations, you have several choices to make. The decision on whether to automate—and from there what kind of system makes the most sense—will depend on your shop's... Read more...

Article

July 15, 2008
Making sense of metal cutting technologies
It's the question heard 'round the metal fabricating world: What metal cutting technology makes the most sense? Unfortunately, the answer to the question cannot be covered in one simple statement. The answer depends on the metal being cut,... Read more...

Article

February 12, 2008
Waterjet makes it into the mainstream
Abrasive waterjet cutting could be on the cusp of something big. For years metal fabricators viewed it as a niche machine, something to buy only when a part couldn't be cut any other way. But in many cases today it stands shoulder-to-shoulder... Read more...

Article

October 9, 2007
Successful automation isn't automatic
As with so many other ventures in life, successfully implementing a laser automation system rests on one key practice: communication. Whether it's moving machinery or scheduling people or digging up the building's original blueprints,... Read more...

Article

December 12, 2006
Live or die making tools
Leo Niemela's business style is a product of his upbringing. Niemela recalled his grandfather's most influential teaching when he described the day his mom and her sister said they were going into town to go shopping. Immediately Niemela's... Read more...

Article

October 10, 2006
3 steps to better laser maintenance
Laser machine users know it, but often ignore it. Laser manufacturers swear by it, but often don't push it. It's maintenance, and it should be the watchword of anyone who owns and operates a laser. With lead-times decreasing,... Read more...

Article

September 12, 2006
Expanding upward and outward
The LVP LUS laser cutting machine not only is designed to be 50 percent faster than older models, but also features automatic lens focus and height adjustment. It's elementary for Watson. If Watson Engineering wanted to keep up with its... Read more...

Article

November 8, 2005
Growing gains with lasers
Growing pains with lasers Significant investment in laser processing equipment helps Laser Precision process both shim-thick stainless steel to 1-inch-thick plate and remain competitive by keeping labor needs low. It... Read more...

Article

July 12, 2005
Beyond Tool and Die
BTD made its first investments in tube fabricating equipment, including a BLM-Adige 803D tube laser cutting system, in 2003. Now tube fabricating accounts for roughly 15 percent of its total business. The story is short,... Read more...

Article

July 24, 2003
The business of lasers
From the laser manufacturers' standpoint, the U.S. market for lasers has simply gotten smaller. This is a function of multiple market forces. The slumping manufacturing sector is a major influence, but so is the increased productivity of... Read more...

Article

August 8, 2002
Science Nonfiction
Forty years ago no one would have thought it possible to cut plate steel with focused light. Over time it has not only become possible but common in manufacturing operations. However, making this science fiction into fact wasn't enough,... Read more...