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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Fewer Seek Unemployment Aid

February 3, 2012 4:11 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a level that signaled a steadily improving job market. The figures came one day before the government is expected to report that January marked another solid month for hiring. Unemployment applications fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.


Chrysler To Add 1,800 Jobs At IL Plant

February 3, 2012 4:09 am | by David Mercer, Jason Keyser, Associated Press | News | Comments

BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — Chrysler said Thursday that it is hiring 1,800 new workers and increasing production at its plant in Belvidere, a once-dominant manufacturing area that now has the state's highest unemployment rate and has been battered by the economic downturn. The news, some said, should provide both financial and psychological boosts to a region — including nearby Rockford — more accustomed to headlines about...


Crystal Union To Fight U.S. Sugar Program

February 3, 2012 4:07 am | News | Comments

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The union representing locked-out employees at American Crystal Sugar. Co. plans to lobby against the federal sugar program in Congress, breaking a tradition of fighting for the program alongside farmers and the company. John Riskey, president of the local affiliated with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, said it is a necessary response to Crystal's...


No OSHA Combustible Dust Rules Any Time Soon

February 3, 2012 4:03 am | by Travis Loller, Associated Press | News | Comments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — New safety rules will not be approved any time soon even though they could prevent accidents like the ones last year at a Tennessee metal powders plant, where fireballs fueled by iron dust contributed to five deaths. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is developing rules that would require many industries to better control combustible dust hazards.


Dow Chemical Posts 4Q Loss On Charge

February 2, 2012 6:40 am | by Samantha Bomkamp, Sandy Shore, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

The Dow Chemical Co. is feeling the impact of the slowing European economy, and seeing some weakness in North America as well. And the nation's largest chemical maker doesn't expect to see much improvement in overall demand until the second quarter. That's when it believes stronger economies in the United States and emerging countries will offset continued weakness in Europe, which is embroiled in a crippling debt crisis.

Caterpillar To Add Almost 200 NC Jobs

February 2, 2012 6:38 am | News | Comments

CLAYTON, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue says Caterpillar Inc. will expand its manufacturing plant in Clayton, adding almost 200 jobs over five years and investing $33 million. Perdue said Wednesday that two state grants are partially responsible for Caterpillar's decision to expand in Johnston County.


Chrysler Workers To Get $1,500 Checks

February 2, 2012 6:37 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Factory workers at Chrysler will get profit-sharing checks of about $1,500 next month as they share in the automaker's improbable turnaround. About 26,000 union-represented workers in the U.S. should get the payments under Chrysler's contract with the United Auto Workers union that was signed last fall.

Engineers Create 'Self-Guided' Bullet

February 2, 2012 6:34 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Figuring out how to pack a processor and other electronics into a machine gun bullet has been a challenge for engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, so weapons experts say the miniature guidance system the lab has developed is a breakthrough. Three years in the making, the bullet prototype represents another step toward a next-generation battlefield that scientists and experts expect to be saturated...


Worker Productivity Growth Slowed In 4Q

February 2, 2012 6:31 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers were more efficient in the final three months of last year, although their gains in productivity slowed from the previous quarter. Slower productivity growth can be a good sign for hiring if economic growth picks up. The Labor Department said Thursday that worker productivity rose at a 0.

Woman Wins Suit Over Hybrid MPG

February 2, 2012 6:29 am | by Linda Deutsch, AP Special Correspondent | News | Comments

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California woman who challenged the legal status-quo by filing a small-claims action against Honda won her lawsuit Wednesday when a judge ruled that the automaker misled her about the potential fuel economy of her hybrid car. Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan awarded Heather Peters $9,867 — much more than the couple hundred dollars cash that a proposed class-action...

Next Generation Manufacturing

February 2, 2012 5:27 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

According to the 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study, now is a critical time for American small manufacturers. The economic downturn has been difficult, especially for small manufacturers, who may struggle to keep pace with larger competition on a global playing field. Small manufacturers (less than $10 million in revenues) need to assess whether they have the strategies in place to capture competitive advantages, and the ability to put...

Learning The Apple Way

February 2, 2012 5:21 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Blogs | Comments

A recent survey shows that 1 in 5 Americans now own a tablet computer of some sort, between the likes of the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble Nook, and, of course, Apple’s iPad. The survey itself , from the Pew Research Center, has some pretty interesting bits of information, but what struck me hardest was exactly how precise Apple is at getting people to buy something they don’t really need.

Could Samsung Outcool Apple?

February 1, 2012 9:07 am | Videos | Comments

In the great mobile phone wars, it seems like Apple still has the cool creds in Asia... for now. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department. Have any comments or questions about our video editions of IMPO? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in one of our deployments? Email me at Rachel.


Magnetic Soap Could Suck Up Oil Spills

February 1, 2012 9:06 am | Videos | Comments

A team of international scientists has invented a magnetic soap that could revolutionize the clean-up of dangerous oil spills. It's the first cleaning surfactant that responds to magnets. The team, led by Bristol University Professor of Chemistry Julian Eastoe, created a liquid soap containing iron atoms which help form tiny particles.


Start-Up Innovators Look For Traction After CES

February 1, 2012 9:05 am | Videos | Comments

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month was a forum not just for big manufacturers of televisions and computers but also for small companies with innovative products to sell. In the so-called Eureka Park section of the show, several of these up-and-coming companies showed off their wares.


Turning Smartphones Into Toys

February 1, 2012 9:03 am | Videos | Comments

Harnessing the technology inside smartphones, a new range of app-related toys providing a new way to play are on display at the British toy Fair. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.


Beetle Dance: Inspiration For Future Robots

February 1, 2012 9:00 am | Videos | Comments

The dance of the dung beetle provides clues to navigation and could lead to more sophisticated light-weight robots in the future. The beetles, which are found on all continents except Antarctica, feed on feces but scientists are less interested in what they eat than how they move their dinner from one place to another.


Honda To Invest $98M At OH Engine Plant

February 1, 2012 8:30 am | News | Comments

ANNA, Ohio (AP) — Honda said Wednesday it will invest $98 million at its largest auto engine plant for the western Ohio facility to produce components for its new transmission technology. The engine plant in Anna will make high-tech pulley components for Honda's new continuously variable transmission, or CVT, aimed at improving fuel efficiency.


Whirlpool 4Q Net Income Up 20 Percent

February 1, 2012 8:27 am | News | Comments

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Whirlpool Corp. said Wednesday that fourth-quarter net income rose 20 percent as it increased prices for products in North America, offsetting a drop in demand overseas. The world's largest appliance maker, whose brands include its namesake as well as Maytag and KitchenAid, reported income of $205 million, or $2.

NC Company Works To Convert Light To Power

February 1, 2012 8:25 am | by Laura Oleniacz | News | Comments

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — In the palm of his hand, Joe Carr held a small piece of material that looked to be about the size of an ant. On top of that, was a black dot about the size as that from a ballpoint pen. That dot is a solar cell, made by the Durham-based company Semprius Inc. for use in photovoltaic solar modules that can turn sunlight into electrical power.



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