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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

J&J To Stop Making Stents, Cut Jobs, Take $500M Charge

June 15, 2011 9:02 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it will stop making and developing heart stents to focus on other stent types, a case of the pioneer in effect ceding that territory of the stent market to later entrants amid increasingly fierce competition and flat sales. In a surprise move, the company that produced the first drug-coated heart stent, Cypher, now will abandon it, with sales barely a quarter of their peak five years ago.

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Dolby Sues Blackberry-Maker For Patent Infringement

June 15, 2011 8:39 am | News | Comments

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dolby International, a unit of audio equipment maker Dolby Laboratories Inc., is suing Research In Motion Ltd. for patent infringement in the U.S. and Germany. Dolby alleges that RIM's Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablet devices use its patented digital audio compression technology, which enables the playback of high-quality audio files using limited amounts of storage space, without a license.

Styrene-Cancer Warnings Could Trouble Industries

June 15, 2011 8:35 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — A Jefferies analyst said Wednesday that chemical companies that make styrene could suffer following its addition to the government's list of cancer-causing chemicals, but the food industry and manufacturers will still need them. Analyst Laurence Alexander said in some cases there are few alternatives to styrene.

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U.S. Factory Output Rebounded, Recovered In May

June 15, 2011 8:03 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories rebounded in May to produce more business equipment and construction materials. The gains offset supply disruptions stemming from the Japan crises that have weighed on American auto companies. Factory production increased 0.4 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

Bringing Bowling Back To The U.S.

June 15, 2011 7:13 am | Videos | Comments

Ebonite, a maker of bowling balls and gear for almost 100 years, recently bought a Mexican bowling-pin company to expand their reach into the market. But instead of simply running the factory out of the country, Ebonite decided to bring all the machinery back to Hopkinsville, KY, where they use a dozen workers to do the work of what used to be 27 employees.

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'Car Guys' Take On 'Bean Counters'

June 15, 2011 6:45 am | Videos | Comments

Bob Lutz was the former vice chairman of General Motors, and deeply considers himself one of the “car guys.” In a new book, he criticizes the automaker’s movement toward people he calls “bean counters,” which generally were incredibly business savvy, but cared little about the actual product they were creating.

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NASA Embraces The Private Sector

June 15, 2011 6:41 am | Videos | Comments

Astronaut Max Walheim will be the mission specialist for NASA's final shuttle mission, and he sat down with MSNBC to discuss how the agency has come under fire from various GOP presidential candidates. Instead of handing all the power over to the private sector, he wants to build a collaboration when it comes to space.

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Airbus Showcases Flying Of The Future

June 15, 2011 6:39 am | Videos | Comments

Airbus is looking ahead to 2050 with the unveiling of a new concept plane that pretty much revolutionizes everything we think about flying today. The company has envisioned seats that mold to the traveler’s body and a cabin that’s completely enveloped by glass, or some other transparent material.

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The 'SWITL' Works Its Magic On Ketchup

June 15, 2011 6:38 am | Videos | Comments

The SWITL in action doesn't exactly seem real. It uses a Teflon-covered plate to scoop up semi-liquid materials, like ketchup or mayonnaise, without disrupting their shape. While the SWITL is pretty cool to watch, it does have some applications in automated packaging, for example. 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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GOP Hopeful's Company Settles $33 Million Lawsuit

June 15, 2011 4:42 am | by Charles Babington, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman was a top executive of a large chemical conglomerate that is paying $33 million to settle a lawsuit alleging price-fixing. Huntsman International LLC recently agreed to pay the money to settle a suit filed by several competitors.

Economists: Gas And Food Prices To Fall, Hiring To Rise

June 15, 2011 4:39 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber and Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writers | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are finally getting some relief from high gas and food prices. Wholesale food prices fell last month by the most in nearly a year, and gas prices keep dropping after peaking in May. A separate survey suggests CEOs are feeling more optimistic and will hire more in the second half of this year.

Man Killed In Bedding Plant Roller Accident

June 15, 2011 4:31 am | News | Comments

WALLKILL, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a 47-year-old man has died after getting trapped between two rollers of a mattress-bagging machine at an upstate New York bedding factory. Police tell the Times Herald-Record of Middletown that Jainarine Depoo of Wallkill was injured Tuesday afternoon at Corsicana Bedding in the Orange County town of Wallkill.

La. Chemical Plant Succumbs To Explosions, Inferno

June 15, 2011 4:28 am | by Molly Davis, Associated Press | News | Comments

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) — A fire at a southern Louisiana plant where chemicals are blended and stored for oilfield operations is being allowed to burn itself out before investigators enter the facility to search for a cause. Tuesday afternoon's explosion and fire at the Multi-Chem Corp.

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Lockheed Martin To Cut 1,200 From Space Division

June 15, 2011 4:23 am | News | Comments

DENVER (AP) — Aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. plans to cut 1,200 employees in its space systems equipment division. The company said Tuesday that the cuts will be nationwide in America and trim the division's 16,000-person work force by nearly 8 percent. The company said middle management will be reduced by 25 percent.

Boeing Asks Judge To Dismiss NLRB Case

June 15, 2011 4:20 am | by Phuong Le, Associated Press | News | Comments

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing on Tuesday asked a judge in Seattle to dismiss a case brought by the National Labor Relations Board that accuses the plane maker of breaking the law when it built a non-union production line in South Carolina. The complaint by NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon accused Boeing Co.

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Aerospace Manufacturers Spared From Republican Cuts

June 14, 2011 9:29 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense cuts sought by House Republicans in fiscal 2012 are unlikely to hurt "modernization, readiness" or the bottom lines of top aerospace contractors, an analyst said Tuesday. In a plan released Monday, the GOP-controlled panel that approves defense budgets barely touched major programs and cut modestly from others compared to the president's budget request, Jeffries analyst Howard Rubel said in a research note.

Stocks Shake Off Two-Week Slump, Rally To June High

June 14, 2011 9:25 am | by Chip Cutter, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are shaking off a two-week slump after retailers had better sales in May than analysts had predicted. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed back above 12,000, and all three major indexes are on track to have their best day so far in June. The government reported Tuesday that retail sales edged down 0.

GM, Magna Get Michigan-Approved Tax Incentives

June 14, 2011 9:15 am | News | Comments

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state board has approved tax incentives for projects connected to General Motors and other companies in Michigan. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority on Tuesday approved an amended brownfield tax credit valued at $10 million for GM's Van Slyke complex in Flint. The new project is expected to retain up to 185 jobs.

Ford Announces $1.2 Billion Spanish Investment

June 14, 2011 9:04 am | News | Comments

MADRID (AP) — U.S. automaker Ford has announced an €812 million ($1.2 billion) investment for its plant in the Valencia region of eastern Spain. Ford Europe chief executive officer Stephen Odell said at an event in Valencia Tuesday the investment will create hundreds of jobs in a country with a 21 percent unemployment rate.

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FDA Finds Listeria In Atlanta Kellogg Plant

June 14, 2011 8:56 am | News | Comments

ATLANTA (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration found traces of listeria at a Kellogg Co. bakery in Augusta, Ga., during an inspection earlier this year. In a letter released Tuesday, regulators say that the pathogen was found in several spots along the production line that comes in direct contact with food.

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