DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. has repaid the $8.1 billion in loans it got from the U.S. and Canadian governments, a move its CEO says is a sign automaker is on the road to recovery. GM CEO Whitacre will formally announce the loan paybacks Wednesday at the company's Fairfax AssemblyPlant in Kansas City, Kansas, where he will also announce that GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, both of which will build the next generation of the midsize Chevrolet Malibu.
To fly or not to fly is suddenly the question , and though I do enjoy the Shakespearean spin on the tragedy, let’s not get too loose with the definition of tragedy. If anything, the airport crisis plays out more like a dark comedy than a tragic event. Labeling a week stranded in an airport a tragedy is like calling Piano Man the greatest song ever made.
A wide range of low-power industrial sensors and controllers are turning to alternative sources of energy as the primary or supplemental means of supplying power. Ideally, such harvested energy will eliminate the need for wired power or batteries altogether. Transducers that create electricity from readily available physical sources such as temperature differentials (thermoelectric generators or thermopiles), mechanical vibration (piezoelectric or electromechanical devices), and light (photovoltaic devices) are becoming viable sources of power for many applications.
This week the hot topic of nuclear power was overshadowed by President Obama’s announcement to restrict the use of nuclear weapons and reduce nuclear stockpiles—along with Russia—by about one-third. If you missed it, the President specified that the use of nuclear weapons would only be considered against countries that are not in compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; for example, North Korea and Iran.
The LK-G5000 Laser Displacement Sensor from KEYENCE (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) now features a RS-CMOS sensor and provides a 392 kHz sampling rate that is eight times faster than previous models, with a 0.01µm repeatability. The sensor is now more compact than previous models, making it easy to mount in tight production environments.
Metabo Corporation (West Chester, PA) now offers the 5” W11-125 Quick Compact Class Angle Grinder, which features a quick wheel change system that makes changing discs both safe and easy, without the use of tools. The W11-125 is ideal for cutting and grinding applications with a Vibratech side handle that reduces vibration up to 60 percent, lowering the risk of white finger syndrome, according to the company.
Konecranes (Springfield, OH) has developed RopeQ, a reliable system that evaluates the working condition of wire ropes using a proprietary Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) method. The RopeQ uses electromagnetic technology to assess the inner and outer wires and strands of a rope, which ensures accurate and repetitive inspection results.
The VoltageVision Power Warning Alerts from Grace Engineered Products (Davenport, IA) provide electricians with electrical safe information while working on de-energized systems. The system is now available in a solid-on model type, which features LEDs to illuminate the presence of voltage.
Danray Products LLC (Rockford, IL) introduces its new fan guard safety scale, which checks the openings in fan guards for compliance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(5). The OSHA regulation states that fan blades must be covered with a guard, which may not have openings more than ½”.
A line of AISI 1018 steel shaft collars from Stafford Manufacturing Corp. (Wilmington, MA) can be machined to facilitate the welding of components such as brackets, cams, lever arms, mounts, pins, and rods. The collars come in one- and two-piece styles that can be further machined to make fixturing easier when creating welded assemblies.
Blackmer (Grand Rapids, MI) announces its SMVP Series Sliding Vane Pump, which combines the energy-efficiency of sliding-vane technology with a seal-less magnetic coupling. The SMVP offers zero shaft leakage when dealing with hard-to-seal surfactants, fatty acids and oils, glycerin, additives, and more.
Cleveland Gear Company, Inc. (Cleveland, OH) is broadening its product offerings to a new line of shaft mount reducers and accessories (tapered bushing kits, belt guards, torque arms, motor mounts, and backstop assemblies). The gears are available in eight CGSM sizes (2-9), input horsepower from 1/3 to 125, and output rpm from 4-6 up to 118-125.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota agreed on Monday to a record $16.4 million fine for its slow response to sticking gas pedals — the equivalent of a little more than $2 for every vehicle the company sold around the globe in 2009. But the fine, the maximum under the law, could be simply a downpayment in the long run: The Japanese auto giant still faces dozens of private lawsuits, which have been combined before a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif.
PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) — A Canadian company has scaled back its initial plans to build a biofuels plant in Pontotoc County. Enerkem Corp. said last year it would invest $250 million in a new ethanol-producing plant that would create 150 jobs. It also would generate another 300 construction jobs during construction and startup phases.
BERLIN (AP) — BMW AG says it will suspend production for two days at three plants in Germany because of the effects of a ban on flights in much of Europe. BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt said production would be halted Wednesday and Thursday at plants in Dingolfing, Regensburg and Munich, and that Tuesday's late shift at Dingolfing also is off.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal investigators have cited a Columbus packing plant with nearly 30 health and safety violations following a fatal explosion. Fire officials have said sparks from a grinder ignited vapors set at the American Packaging Corp. in October. The grinder's operator, 47-year-old Jeffrey Doxtator, was killed in the ensuing explosion.
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. will fully repay the $6.7 billion loan portion of its U.S. government aid earlier than its previously promised payback date of June, a person briefed on the plans said Monday. GM CEO Ed Whitacre will announce details of the repayment during a visit Wednesday to the company's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan.
NEW YORK (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter profit fell 71 percent as sales of its high-end bikes remained sluggish. Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said the uncertain economy is likely to make business conditions challenging throughout the year. Still, the Milwaukee company's results beat analysts' forecasts, sending shares climbing in premarket trading.
Wilden (Grand Terrace, CA) released its of Pro-Flo X™ HS (hygienic series) stainless steel pumps for sanitary applications in the beverage-manufacturing industry. The pump allows the user to control flow rate and efficiency, and it satisfies a wealth of application requirements.
Casella USA (Amherst, NH) offers a Ulta-Flow sampling pump, designed to collect and count airborne asbestos fibers. Able to collect 6-20 liters of free air per minute for up to five hours, the pump features an asbestos head that holds a gridded membrane for asbestos clearance sampling measurements or personal sampling.