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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Big Company CEOs Foresee No Hiring Pickup

December 14, 2011 8:23 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two-thirds of chief executives of the largest U.S. companies don't plan to hire in the next six months, mainly because of sluggish growth in the United States and financial turmoil in Europe. The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that about one-third of its member CEOs expect to add employees and spend more on large equipment in the next six months.

Ex-Siemens Execs Charged In Bribery Scheme

December 14, 2011 8:20 am | by Larry Neumeister, Pete Yost, Associated Press | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Eight former Siemens senior executives and agents were charged with plotting to pay $100 million in bribes to secure a $1 billion contract to produce national identity cards for Argentine citizens, in a scam involving a "shocking level of deception and corruption," an assistant U.

Textron Unit Recalls 22K Vehicles For Crash Hazard

December 14, 2011 8:18 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Textron Inc. division E-Z-Go is recalling 21,900 TXT golf carts, Cushman shuttle vehicles and Bad Boy off-road utility vehicles due to a potential crash hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the company said Wednesday that the threaded end of a rack rod ball joint can break and the ball joint can become displaced, causing the driver to lose control of steering and possibly crash.


Right Angle Gear Drive

December 14, 2011 7:05 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Designers looking for a smooth operating, quiet right angle gear drive will find Zero-Max (Plymouth, MN) "Crown" gear drives the ideal choice. They feature heat treated AGMA Class 10 spiral bevel gears and non-magnetic stainless steel shafts providing long term, maintenance free operation.


Ergonomic Vacuum Lifter

December 14, 2011 7:04 am | Product Releases | Comments

A hoist operated ergonomic vacuum lifter that handles awkward loads is available from Anver Corporation (Hudson, MA). The VFPL4 Assembly Lifter is a below-the-hook vacuum lifter that provides low headroom and can be equipped with a variety of quick-release bolt-on suction pad attachments for lifting loads up to 2,000 pounds, depending upon configuration.


Precision Cutter

December 14, 2011 7:03 am | Product Releases | Comments

A precision flush cutter that removes parts from plastic sprues without damage, is comfortable to hold in any size hand, cuts fast, and has an internal return spring is available from Xuron Corp. (Saco, ME). The Xuron® Model 2175A Maxi-Shear™ Flush Cutter is ideal for degating plastic parts from sprues because it employs “by-pass cutting” to achieve a clean, flat cut, rather than squeezing and deforming the parts like...


Clean Room Hose

December 14, 2011 7:02 am | Product Releases | Comments

Flexaust (Warsaw, IN) Flexadux® T-7 white clean room hose is a medium-weight thermoplastic hose that features a smooth interior to minimize friction loss and promote efficient air flow. Capable of operating over a -40 degree to 250 degree Farenheit temperature range, this flexible hose is reinforced with a spring steel helix and offers excellent chemical-, moisture-, and abrasion-resistance.


Postal Service To Delay Cutbacks

December 14, 2011 4:40 am | by Hope Yen, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday agreed to delay the closing of 252 mail processing centers and 3,700 local post offices until mid-May. In a statement, the cash-strapped agency said it would hold off on closings by several weeks to give Congress more time to pass legislation that would give it more authority and liquidity to stave off bankruptcy.


Agrium Plans $1.5B Facility Expansion

December 14, 2011 4:39 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Fertilizer maker Agrium Inc. said Wednesday that it will spend $1.5 billion to expand annual potash production capacity by 50 percent, helping it meet growing demand for fertilizer. The company also said it is significantly raising its dividend. The Calgary, Alberta, company says it is the third largest potash producer in North America.

Nissan Suspends EV Battery Plant Construction

December 14, 2011 4:37 am | News | Comments

TOKYO, Dec. 14 (Kyodo) — Nissan Motor Co. has suspended the construction of a plant in Portugal for producing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles as the plant has turned out to be unnecessary for the immediate future, company officials said Wednesday. The other plants, including a Japanese facility now in operation, and U.


Fiat Heralds Naples Plant As Best In System

December 14, 2011 4:35 am | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday heralded a modernized car plant south of Naples as the best in the Fiat-Chrysler system and an example of how Italy can emerge from the financial crisis that is threatening to engulf it. Marchionne was applauded by about 100 workers who temporarily idled production as he strode down the pristine new manufacturing line for the presentation of the new...


Giant Plane To Launch People, Cargo Into Orbit

December 14, 2011 4:33 am | by Donna Blankinship, Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan are building the world's biggest plane to help launch cargo and astronauts into space, in the latest of several ventures fueled by technology tycoons clamoring to write America's next chapter in spaceflight.

China Slaps Anti-Dumping Duties On U.S. Autos

December 14, 2011 4:30 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — China has imposed duties on imports of some U.S.-made vehicles, claiming damage from foreign automakers due to dumping and subsidies in the latest round of trade friction between the two countries. The Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that the duties would be imposed for two years on imported cars and sport utility vehicles with engine displacements of over 2.

The Engineering Dropout Problem

December 13, 2011 9:28 am | Videos | Comments

Only 35 percent of the students that enter the engineering program at the City College of New York graduate as engineers. That's an interesting statistic, especially considering the average entry-level, New York-area engineering graduate makes about $65,000 per year. Why are so many students turning away from a potentially lucrative career path? Furthermore, this isn't a problem limited to the Big Apple.


Safety Measures For Propane-Fueled Forklifts

December 13, 2011 9:20 am | by Steve Wayne, Chief Commercial Officer, Propane Education & Research Council | Articles | Comments

Appropriate training and safety measures will best serve next generation of operators. There are more than 600,000 propane-fueled forklifts operating today in manufacturing plants, warehouses, and distribution centers across the United States, and it’s not hard to understand why.


Safety On The (Clothes) Line

December 13, 2011 8:56 am | Articles | Comments

This feature originally ran in the November/December 2011 issue of Food Manufacturing . Gary Zumstein, VP of Research & Development, Protective, Glen Raven Technical Fabrics, LLC William Roger McKee, National Account Executive, FR Specialist, G&K Services Manufacturing is one of the most dangerous industries around, but safety can be greatly improved by taking basic measures — one of the simplest being providing...

Stihl To Expand VA Beach Plant

December 13, 2011 8:43 am | News | Comments

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Power tool maker Stihl Inc. plans to double the manufacturing capacity of its Virginia Beach plant. City officials plan to announce the $10.3 million expansion Tuesday. Fifty-two jobs are expected to be created. Stihl director of manufacturing Lorraine Wagner tells The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.


Fiat Signs Flexible Contracts With Workers

December 13, 2011 8:40 am | News | Comments

ROME (AP) — Fiat says it has signed flexible labor contracts that the Italian automaker says are conditions for €20 billion (more than $26 billion) in investments over the next three years. Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne says in a statement that the deal reached Tuesday between Fiat and the unions marks "a historic development for our company and its workers.

Businesses Increased Stockpiles In October

December 13, 2011 8:37 am | by Derek Kravitz, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in October after slowing inventory growth in the previous month. The buildup in inventories should help the economy grow modestly in the final months of the year. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that business inventories rose a seasonally adjusted 0.

Novell Wraps Up $1B Case Against Microsoft

December 13, 2011 8:35 am | by Paul Foy, Associated Press | News | Comments

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Microsoft Corp. purposely duped a Utah company into believing its writing application would be included in the Windows 95 rollout, then pulled the plug so Microsoft could gain market share with its own product, an attorney said Monday in closing arguments of a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against the software giant.


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