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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Survey: Midwest Manufacturing Still Weak, Losing Jobs

January 4, 2010 4:02 am | News | Comments

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha economist says a December survey in nine Midwest and Plains states suggests that the region's economy will recovery weakly over 2010. The Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region rose above growth neutral last month, reaching 50.3, compared with 47.5 in November.

China's Manufacturing Expands For Ninth Month

January 4, 2010 3:53 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China's manufacturing expanded in December for a ninth straight month as government stimulus spending boosted domestic demand and foreign sales rose, according to a survey released Monday. The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI rose to 56.1 from November's 55.7 on a 100-point scale where numbers above 50 show activity expanding.

Kraft vs. Nestle Bidding War Over Cadbury Looms

January 4, 2010 3:50 am | News | Comments

LONDON (AP) — Speculation of a bidding war for British candy maker Cadbury PLC mounted on Monday after Swiss food group Nestle agreed to sell off its majority stake in eyecare unit Alcon and announced a smaller-than-anticipated share buyback program. Analysts suggested that Nestle could be clearing its decks in preparation to counter a hostile 9.

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Cities, States Get Tough On Tax Breaks For New Jobs

January 4, 2010 3:46 am | by Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

CHICAGO (AP) — Cash-strapped communities have a message for corporations that promised jobs in return for tax breaks: A deal's a deal. As the recession drags on, municipalities struggling to fix roads, fund schools and pay bills increasingly are rescinding tax abatements to companies that don't hire enough workers, lay them off or close up shop.

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Novartis Pays $38.5 Billion To Swallow Up Alcon

January 4, 2010 3:41 am | News | Comments

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Drug maker Novartis AG said Monday it plans to take over Alcon Inc. by paying $38.5 billion for the 77 percent stake it does not already own in a deal that would make it one of the biggest players in the global market for eye-care products. The Swiss pharmaceutical company will purchase Nestle SA's 52 percent stake for $28 billion before carrying out a merger with Alcon that would give it control of the remaining 23 percent held by minority shareholders.

Hydraulic Bending To-Go

December 23, 2009 7:24 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dake (Grand Haven, MI) has released the VH200, a vertical hydraulic cylinder capable of bending tubing up to a 2” diameter. At 60 pounds, the unit it portable and can be operated in the field, with either a manual pump or an air-operated pump. The VH200 is furnished with one of three standard dies, for either a 6” or 7” radius, and 12 additional dies are available.

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Learn Who's In And Who's Out

December 23, 2009 7:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Kaba Access Control (Winston-Salem, NC) now offers the new LearnLok feature to its E-Plex PROX-based 5700 electric locks, in addition to the E5770 and E3700 series. The LearnLok feature simplifies programming of up to 300 user credentials (HID PROX cards, fobs, etc.) per door by “learning” them at the lock reader.

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Smart'-er Industrial Vending

December 23, 2009 7:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fastenal (Winona, MN) offers a solution to industrial vending with the SmartStore, which is managed by the customer’s local Fastenal store team and stocked with the products they use most. Installation requires only electricity and Internet access, according to the company. Advantages of industrial vending include: Reduction in consumption by tracking employee usage and setting limits.

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High-Speed Die Grinders

December 23, 2009 7:22 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dynabrade, Inc. (Clarence, NY) is introducing a series of air-powered Die Grinders, which feature high-quality steel housings. The grinders are available in either .5 or .6 hp air motors and use a rubber grip housing to insulate the operator from vibration and cold air transmission.

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Occam’s Razor, Resharpened

December 23, 2009 6:18 am | by Mike Rainone, co-founder of PCDworks | Articles | Comments

The Franciscan Friar William of Occam said it best about 700 years ago in the form of the principle of parsimony, which we now know as Occam’s Razor.   William said, “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem,” which for you non-Latin speakers (and who is a Latin speaker these days?) means: “Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Boiling Up A Pot Of Conservation

December 23, 2009 6:17 am | Articles | Comments

As part of its compliance with a PepsiCo corporate mandate on resource conservation, the Quaker Oats Bridgeview Division food manufacturing plant has installed two Miura Boiler LX200 gas-fired steam boilers to reduce fuel and water consumption, increase energy efficiency, and cut emissions.

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Forget The Hybrid, Let's Start Composting

December 22, 2009 11:14 am | Articles | Comments

Vertal, a British composting company, has introduced some of the most innovative technology when it comes to turning our organic waste — you know, that steak you couldn't quite finish last weekend — into energy. Unlike other technologies, the process is entirely self-heated, so the company does not have to use any energy in the composting process, which is called autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion.

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Hackers: Criminals Or Just Unemployed?

December 22, 2009 11:05 am | Articles | Comments

Hackers can bring down government agencies, hijack websites, and snoop on private information. But sometimes, they're just looking for a job. At the U.S. Cyber Challenge, hackers battle each other in a multi-faceted battle — they have to exploit other systems while protecting their own. The contest isn't just about being able to hack into another system, but rather finding these intelligent and tech-savvy youth constructive and non-exploitative outlets for their hacking skills.

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Making Candy Canes... As Hard As Steel

December 22, 2009 10:43 am | Articles | Comments

Like most anything else eaten during the holidays, most of us don't know where candy canes come from, or how they're made. Turns out it's not all that different from making steel. Just more... sweet. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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How An Engineer Puts Up Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:35 am | Articles | Comments

Christmas lights are a trademark of the season, but some homeowners take the tradition a little further than others. While some settle for a single dim string on the bush beside their front door, others opt for something more luminescent. See what happens when a database engineer from Middletown, OH gets into the holiday spirit.

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'Greening' Building-Sized Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:25 am | Articles | Comments

Every year, Hong Kong lights up for the holidays. That is, they decorate their high-rise buildings in millions lights, all in dazzling displays and patterns. For years, the bulbs were a drain on the city's electrical supply, until the designers began to switch to energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights.

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Boeing Acquires 787 Subassembly Plant

December 22, 2009 3:51 am | News | Comments

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it has purchased Alenia North America's 50 percent stake in a fuselage subassembly plant for its 787 Dreamliner. The transaction occurred through a Boeing subsidiary, making Boeing the sole owner of Global Aeronautica LLC. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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China Becomes World's Biggest Automotive Market

December 22, 2009 3:44 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

CHENGDU, China (AP) — Minivan salesman Zhu Yi has a problem that most auto dealers elsewhere would happily swap for their own — he doesn't have enough vehicles to satisfy customer demand. "Sales are exploding," says Zhu, a 32-year-old manager at a General Motors Co. joint venture dealership in Chengdu, pointing to charts on his laptop that vividly plot the steep incline.

Boeing's Second 787 To Take Flight Today

December 22, 2009 3:39 am | News | Comments

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Boeing says its second 787 will take to the skies on Tuesday. The company has scheduled a test flight for the second jetliner at 8:45 a.m. The aircraft will take off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., as long as flight conditions cooperate. About 25,000 people turned out for the first test flight last Tuesday.

Border Patrol Warns Against Illegally Imported Toys

December 22, 2009 3:36 am | News | Comments

SARAH LARIMER,Associated Press Writer MIAMI (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials warned holiday shoppers Monday to stay away from toys that might be dangerous for children or break copyright, patent or trademark laws. Authorities last year seized more than 1,500 shipments of products that either failed to meet consumer safety standards or violated intellectual property laws, said Harold Woodward, director of the agency's field operations in Miami.

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