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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Germany: Economic Giant Reluctant To Lead

September 18, 2013 9:54 am | by Geir Moulson, Associated Press | News | Comments

Germany boasts the world's most powerful woman, Europe's most powerful economy and an industrial machine that's the envy of the planet. With all that muscle, it seems natural to assume the mantle of Europe's undisputed leader. But Germany is a reluctant giant — and this Sunday's national elections are unlikely to change that.

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Alaska Asks ConocoPhillips To Reopen LNG Plant

September 18, 2013 9:52 am | by Dan Joling, Associated Press | News | Comments

The state of Alaska wants ConocoPhillips to reopen its mothballed Kenai Peninsula liquefied natural gas plant to provide an incentive for petroleum companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet. In a letter to ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen, acting Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash requested that the company apply for a three-year federal LNG export license for the plant at Nikiski.

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United Tech: Europe Improving, Military Parts Down

September 18, 2013 9:50 am | by Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Sharp cuts in U.S. military spare parts orders are hurting United Technologies Corp.'s helicopter maker, Sikorsky, the chief financial officer said Tuesday, although he was more optimistic about prospects in Europe. CFO Greg Hayes told investor analysts that automatic U.S. federal budget cuts beginning in March could take a bigger bite out of profit in 2014 than the company initially expected.

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Robots Are Not The Enemy

September 18, 2013 8:02 am | by Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation | Blogs | Comments

It has become a popular meme that “robots are destroying our jobs.” How else do we explain today’s persistent high unemployment? But this notion that technology, automation and productivity lead to fewer jobs and higher unemployment is simply wrong. First, there is no logical relationship between job growth and productivity. 

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The Gray Shift Part 2: Using Ergonomy To Retain Valuable Older Workers

September 18, 2013 8:01 am | by Earl Hagman, PhD, MSEE, MBA, President, Ergotech Incorporated | Articles | Comments

To address coming workforce demographic changes, employers must create a corporate culture that promotes both safety and wellness. Healthy workers and a safe workspace reduce costs and increase productivity, so these efforts will be repaid fully.

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Hartzell Air Movement Hires Operations Executive

September 17, 2013 4:44 pm | by Hartzell Air Movement | News | Comments

Hartzell Air Movement is pleased to announce that Neil Cordonnier has joined as Vice President of Operations. He will be focused on improvements in the operation using Six Sigma, lean techniques, and other process improvements. Prior to joining Hartzell, Neil worked as President of Ernst Metal Technologies.

Getting From The Vision To The Sales

September 17, 2013 4:29 pm | by Mike Collins, Author, Saving American Manufacturing | Blogs | Comments

How do you get from the vision to actual sales growth? Many articles on the wonders of vision statements imply that if a manufacturer writes a good vision statement that somehow it will be implemented (the rain dance myth). In my experience, visions and goals are never realized unless someone develops a plan that shows every department and manager what they must do to reach the goals.

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Save Your Back

September 17, 2013 4:24 pm | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

From repetitive motion to lifting risks, the warehouse presents many challenges to personnel safety. Repetitive motion of any type, when sustained, can result in injury, says the president of Hamilton Caster. “Manufacturers can help reduce injuries by providing equipment that eliminates risky motions, such as reaching too far to position products for transit, and by observing best ergonomic practices for working height.

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Feet On The Floor

September 17, 2013 4:20 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

The risk of slips and falls is one every business must face, but industrial environments contend with the added challenge of preventing significantly more dangerous incidents. With heavy machinery, rotating equipment, sharp corners, and other various dangers around every corner, it’s critical manufacturers stress safety… and what better place to start than the floors.

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Fastener Standards Today: Improving Quality

September 17, 2013 4:17 pm | by Dick Seidl, Global Applications Engineering Director, Stanley Engineered Fastening | Articles | Comments

Fasteners are essential to modern life; it is easy to forget just what an important role they play. Automakers have reported that the majority of their warranty costs arise from fastener related issues – ranging from the simple rattle in the dashboard coming from a loose tapping screw to a major recall resulting from mis-torqued high strength fasteners in the steering system. Many problems relate back to the not-so-simple fastener.

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Faster, Stronger, And More Precise

September 17, 2013 4:05 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

When people look to chemical threadlockers, they are almost always looking to secure a troublesome fastener from vibrating loose. However, a key advantage of anaerobic threadlockers often overlooked is their ability to seal the threaded joint from leaks.

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Dispense Sense

September 17, 2013 3:58 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

Point-of-use dispensing technology has gained in popularity for many manufacturers who have struggled for years with the tracking of MRO products. Manufacturers and distributors alike can recount horror stories of contending with hundreds of SKUs of something as simple as work gloves.

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Selection To Avoid Downtime

September 17, 2013 3:54 pm | by Jack Gayara, Product Manager, Lapp USA | Articles | Comments

A typical manufacturing plant today will have thousands, or even many thousands, of electrical connections on both fixed equipment and moving machines. And it’s just a matter of time before some of those connections fail or wear out, bringing production machines to a dead stop.

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Built Ford Tough

September 17, 2013 3:45 pm | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive industry leader, manufacturing or distributing vehicles across six continents. With 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company has leveraged the dedication of its employees and UAW partnership to become more efficient, improve its product cadence, and be a more effective automotive industry competitor than ever before.

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The Center Of The Universe

September 17, 2013 3:40 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

A reader recently sent me an email lamenting some of the big business-big labor tensions that had been peppering IMPOmag.com’s news section. Paul’s point was about compromise, and how give and take was the necessary component to everything — whether it be tense negotiations in the workplace, or even a discussion with your family about how to spend your Saturday.

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Business Leaders: It Makes Sense To Put Jobs In U.S.

September 17, 2013 2:23 pm | by Matt Gouras, Associated Press | News | Comments

Business leaders from Oracle Corp., Ford Motor Co. and The Boeing Co. said Tuesday their companies have found that it makes sense to bring jobs back to the United States — even to smaller cities in places such as Montana. Oracle President Safra Catz said her company has been centering its cloud computing division in the nearby mountain town of Bozeman.

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European Auto Sales Hit New Low

September 17, 2013 2:21 pm | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Car sales in Europe are still sagging despite the return of modest economic growth. For the first eight months of the year, passenger car sales in the European Union were off 5.2 percent to 7.84 million compared with the same period last year, the European Auto Manufacturers' Association said Tuesday. That's the lowest January-August figure since the group started keeping track in 1990.

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Survey: Sluggish Global Economic Recovery Ahead

September 17, 2013 2:20 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

A robust recovery for the global economy remains well out of reach. That's the view that emerges from a survey of economists just as the Federal Reserve is expected this week to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy. Europe has finally emerged from recession. Japan is growing after two decades of stagnation. And the United States is trudging ahead. 

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FDA Halts Drugs From Top Indian Drugmaker's Plant

September 17, 2013 2:18 pm | by Kay Johnson, Matthew Perrone, Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. health regulators have placed a ban on imported drugs from a factory operated by India's largest pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy Laboratories, due to manufacturing and quality control problems. The import alert, issued Friday by the Food and Drug Administration, effectively stops imports of 11 drugs from Ranbaxy's Mohali factory in Punjab province. 

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Layoffs Loom In MN Despite Boise Acquisition

September 17, 2013 2:15 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dozens of layoffs are still expected at the Boise Inc. plant in International Falls, despite news the company is being acquired by Packaging Corp. of America. International Falls plant spokeswoman Lori Lyman tells WDIO-TV the acquisition doesn't change the loss of 265 local Boise jobs.

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