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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Jet Fuel Fire At Detroit Plant Forces Evacuations

August 28, 2009 4:23 am | News | Comments

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) — A fire that started Thursday near a rail tanker car at a chemical plant spread quickly to silos holding gasoline, causing an inferno that sent huge plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky above Detroit and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people. The fire at the Sterling Services Ltd.

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Guest Feature: Facing the Sustainability Challenge

August 27, 2009 12:07 pm | by by Kent St. Vrain, Vice President, Business Development & Marketing, Paxoni | Blogs | Comments

Sustainability — it is clearly the hot topic of the day — you cannot turn the page in any periodical without reading about it. This is particularly true in the manufacturing and packaging worlds. But this "new" imperative is really not new at all. It is the continuation of a course of action that started more than a decade ago when there was a major focus on consumer waste, crowded landfills and the advent of widespread recycling programs.

Steelworker Retirements To Create Experience Gap

August 27, 2009 11:01 am | by Vicki Smith, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

WEIRTON, W.Va. (AP) — In the business of steelmaking, a gray-haired work force can be a good thing: Seasoned employees in the mill signify experience and safety, reliability and commitment. At ArcelorMittal's tin mill in West Virginia, they also represent a looming problem. As many as half the 1,000 workers in Weirton — average age 57 — are likely to retire before the current contract expires in 2012.

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Lie, Cheat & Steal

August 27, 2009 10:40 am | by by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D | Blogs | Comments

by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D Seriously, they tell you not to cheat in school but did you ever notice – that is if you ever cheated – that when you worked off a friend’s paper (read: copied), you would copy everything that was good and beef up the sections that needed a little help, creating a better end product? It’s the American way, so why do teachers frown so heavily upon it? --> Struggling mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson’s recently appointed new president  had quite the golden nugget of information to offer as he took over his new post.

Ford Add Shifts To Meet Demand

August 27, 2009 8:27 am | by Kimberly S. Johnson, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says it will add shifts to its plants in Dearborn, Mich., and Claycomo, Mo., to meet demand for F-150 pickups and Ford Escape crossover vehicles. A third production shift will be added to the sport utility line at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in October, where the Dearborn, Mich.

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When Robot Programmers Get Bored

August 27, 2009 4:12 am | Articles | Comments

Thrill-seeking robot programmers, that is. IMPO's editorial staff, of course, does not condone such obviously dangerous — albeit fun-looking — creativity.

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Manufacturing Innovation From BMW

August 26, 2009 12:30 pm | Articles | Comments

Take a look inside BMW's Berlin plant, where they produce motorcycles for consumers around the world. An incredible combination of technology, robotics, and human innovation help keep this 2,000-person plant churning out BMW's beloved two-wheeled masterpieces.

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Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

August 26, 2009 12:18 pm | Articles | Comments

In this video from Gemba Academy, the history of “lean manufacturing” is dissected and presented in a simple, easy-to-follow manner. While the subject is usually, and ironically, obscured with buzzwords and unnecessary details, this video would be an excellent first base for a new employee or someone just arriving in the manufacturing field.

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Hop On The 10-Seater Harley

August 26, 2009 12:10 pm | Articles | Comments

Steve "Doc" Hopkins had the opportunity to show off his design and technical chops with this 10-seater Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he claims represents a “timeline” of Harley history, at the Sturgis rally in 2009. See how the Wisconsin native is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the customization-heavy Harley culture, however bizarre his latest creation.

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I Didn't Mean To Burst Your Bubble

August 26, 2009 12:04 pm | Articles | Comments

“How It's Made” takes you inside a bubble gum manufacturing plant. See how the process begins, as plastics and rubbers are combined with flavor and glucose syrup, and ends up as the confectioner's delight we all know and love. Did you know that bubble gum's traditionally pink flavor originated because the inventor had only that color on hand?

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Photovoltaic Solutions For Harsh Environments

August 26, 2009 11:26 am | Product Releases | Comments

Cooper Crouse-Hinds (Syracuse, NY) has developed a photovoltaic module kit equipped with a battery backup in addition to solar power kits. The solar power modules increase productivity in remote areas by eliminating the labor and materials required to run power to remote locations, or frequently change batteries.

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Sophisticated Pressure Transmitters

August 26, 2009 11:25 am | Product Releases | Comments

WIKA (Lawrenceville, GA) introduces the WIKA TRONIC D-10 and C-10 pressure transmitters for industrial applications. The D-10 line is designed to enable communication with a PC over the digital output, and is particularly useful in automation engineering, laboratories, or maintenance shops.

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Keep Your Plant Up-To-Par

August 26, 2009 11:25 am | Product Releases | Comments

Diamond Phoenix (Lewiston, ME) offers facility analysis, simulations, and a complete range of conveyor options, controls, and software that can improve an organization’s operational performance. Utilizing a variety of conveyor types, Diamond Phoenix can create individual solutions that fit unique organizational needs.

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Dispense Automatically, Easily

August 26, 2009 11:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dispense Works (McHenry, IL) has designed its Axis series automated filling systems, useful to fill grease or pastes into cavities and onto components with accurate and repeatable volumes. The system is self-contained, requiring no PC for operation, and is controlled through a menu-drive LCD interface, which requires no programming experience.

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Heavy-Duty Rod Clamps

August 26, 2009 10:31 am | Product Releases | Comments

Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME, Rockford, IL) has produced its Amlock Hydraulic Series RCH rod clamp, developed to provide power-off clamping of rods and shafts. The clamps are actuated by a spring/collet mechanism and unclamped by hydraulic pressure, and are designed to apply to standard heavy-duty HFPA-style MF1 cylinders.

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Better Flow With Piston Air Valves

August 26, 2009 10:20 am | Product Releases | Comments

Blackmer (Grand Rapids, MI) has developed a 3-inch configuration for its piston air valves, to be used on its TX/TXD series of sliding vane pumps. In addition, the new 3-inch valve has now become the standard option for its TX/TXD pumps, replacing the diaphragm air valve.

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Versatile Riveting

August 26, 2009 10:19 am | Product Releases | Comments

Alcoa Fastening Systems (Tracy, CA) introduces the Marson-brand SST, a low cost, Spin/Spin pneumatic rivet nut production tool. The SST offers simple replacement and changeover with a quick-change nosepiece assembly and standard socket hand cap screw mandrel, and the tool operates without stroke adjustment.

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Be A Visionary

August 26, 2009 10:18 am | Product Releases | Comments

Gateway Safety (Cleveland, OH) introduces its newest contemporary eyewear product, the Luminary, which features flexible temples to relieve pressure and eliminate pinching behind the ears. The Luminary weighs less than an ounce, making all-day comfort a real possibility, particularly with rubberized fingertip nosepieces.

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WI Shipbuilder To Cut 400 Employeees

August 26, 2009 5:24 am | News | Comments

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Door County's largest employer has notified the state it plans to lay off hundreds of workers this fall. The Bay Shipbuilding Company says 405 of its 700 employees will be let go at the end of October due to declining business. Bay Shipbuilding laid off a small number of employees in June, July and August.

Shortline Railroads Keep Small Towns Humming

August 26, 2009 4:48 am | by Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

AVON, N.Y. (AP) — After an hour of shunting rail cars aside, a 1964-vintage locomotive operated by Tim "Brown Dog" Carney nudges six hopper-loads down an embankment into a pasta factory. It's a routine delivery: 540 tons of semolina flour milled in St. Louis from durum wheat grown in North Dakota.

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