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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Factory Output Grows For Fifth Straight Month

December 15, 2010 3:36 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output grew for the fifth straight month, adding to evidence thatmanufacturing remains an engine of economic growth. The Federal Reserve says output by the nation's factories, utilities and mines increased 0.4 percent in November, after falling 0.2 percent in October.

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GE Expects 'Substantially' Higher Profits In 2011

December 15, 2010 3:34 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said Tuesday he expects the company to deliver "substantially" higher profits in 2011, driven by growth in its industrial division and in China. Revenue in GE's industrial division, which makes everything from windmill turbines to ventilation fans, is expected to grow after being flat in 2010, Immelt said.

Chinese Authorities Nab Bosses Who Enslaved Workers

December 15, 2010 3:33 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities have rescued a group of mentally ill workers enslaved in a factory after being sold by a man who purportedly ran a beggars' shelter, state media reported Wednesday. Police on Tuesday nabbed Li Xinglin, the boss of the building materials factory in the far-western Xinjiang region who had fled Sunday after Chinese media reports exposed the plant's working conditions, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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GM's Flint Plant Shut Down Due To Crippling Blizzard

December 15, 2010 3:32 am | News | Comments

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The winter storm pushing through the Midwest forced General Motors Co. to temporarily halt production at its Flint Truck Assembly plant. GM says it sent workers home at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday because of a parts shortage. Hazardous roads in Ontario have closed the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Mich.

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China Won't Restrict Rare Earths, But They Will Tax Them

December 15, 2010 3:31 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China plans to raise tariffs on some rare earth exports starting next year in a move to limit shipments of the precious metals out of the country, state media said Wednesday. The Ministry of Finance issued a statement saying some rare earth products will have export duties increased beginning Jan.

Machine Guarding Comes In Any Shape

December 14, 2010 8:25 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Wireway Husky Corp. (Denver, NC) has developed a modular machine guarding system that is rugged, secure, and easy-to-install for protecting all types of machinery. The MATRIX GUARD sysem features welded wire mesh modular panels, which are reinforced with in-line folded flutes for rigidity, and high strength seam-welded tubular steel stiffening posts.

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Gas Analysis In Disposable Sensors

December 14, 2010 8:24 am | Product Releases | Comments

The updated BTU1100 Portable Combustion Analyzer from E-Instruments (Langhorne, PA) is an all-in-one unit to meet the needs for a variety of maintenance staff. The instrument now comes with replaceable sensors for easy diagnostics, which also cuts out downtime and costly repair charges. The BTU1100 can detect O2, CO, and CO2.

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Oscilloscopes For Any Environment

December 14, 2010 8:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA) has introduced the ScopeMeter 190 Series II handheld portable oscilloscopes, which are four-channel scopes designed for harsh industrial environments. They have been safety rated for CAT III 1000 V / Cat IV 600 V environments, and are fully isolated from each other to perform differential floating measurements.

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Metal-Detecting Conveyors

December 14, 2010 8:20 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

The E-Z Tec DSP Metal Detector Standard Conveyor Systems from Eriez (Erie, PA) provides users with protection against ferrous and nonferrous metal contamination. The standard conveyor system includes a continuously-welded 304 stainless steel frame, wash-down drive, variable speed control, UHMW slider bed, and more.

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Recalling The Recalls Of 2010

December 14, 2010 5:14 am | by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Digest these prevention strategies gleaned from 2010’s pharmaceutical and food processing recalls. While no one industry is guiltier than another for recalling product, the food and pharmaceutical industries are not only the most notorious and memorable, but also the most wide-ranging and criticized.

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Fiscal Responsibility Is A Double-Edged Sword

December 14, 2010 4:32 am | by by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to spending money, a prudent approach is a wise approach. But it’s when we allow fear and doubt about our financial future to creep into our minds that we prevent ourselves from seizing opportunities, leaving us unable to act in the best interests of ourselves, or our families, and/or our business enterprises.

Chinese Factory Bought, Enslaved Mentally Ill Workers

December 14, 2010 3:54 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official said Tuesday that authorities were on their way to rescue a group of mentally ill workers who state media reports said were enslaved in a factory and given dog food to eat. The official with the civil affairs bureau in Qu county in the southwestern province of Sichuan said authorities took a flight early Tuesday to the western region of Xinjiang.

Toyota Recalls 100,000 Siennas For Broken Brake Lights

December 14, 2010 3:50 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday it will recall nearly 100,000 Sienna minivans from the 2011 model year to replace a switch bracket on the brake lamp that could cause the brake lights to stay on. The Japanese automaker, which has grappled with several safety recalls during the past year, said a driver's foot could hit the switch bracket and deform it while applying the parking brake pedal.

Fire Rages Through Bangladesh Factory, Killing 25

December 14, 2010 3:47 am | by Julhas Alam, Associated Press | News | Comments

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A devastating blaze raced through a multistory garment factory near Bangladesh's capital on Tuesday, killing as many as 25 people and injuring more than 100, witnesses and news reports said. Fire official Golam Mostafa said the fire started in a 10-story factory owned by local business giant Hameem Group in the Ashulia industrial zone, just outside Dhaka.

Frozen Crops? Just Use A Few Dozen Helicopters

December 14, 2010 3:42 am | News | Comments

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) — Dozens of helicopters are whirring above Florida's valuable and sensitive veggie crops, an unusual approach by farmers worried that an uncommon freeze could wipe out their harvests. The choppers hover low over green bean and sweet corn fields, moving back and forth in the early morning hours to push warmer air closer to the plants — and, the farmers hope, save the plants from a deadly frost.

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Stinky Factory Goes To Court For Being Public Nuisance

December 14, 2010 3:38 am | News | Comments

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a lawsuit against the owners of a southwest Missouri plant that caused odor complaints will be allowed to proceed. The lawsuit filed in 2007 by Carthage residents against Renewable Environmental Solutions had been stayed since 2009, when the parent company of RES declared bankruptcy, closed the plant and laid off its employees.

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Nissan, Mitsubishi Put Aside Differences For OEM Partnership

December 14, 2010 3:37 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. and smaller rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will deepen business ties to get ahead in the fiercely competitive global car industry, including establishing a minicar joint venture in Japan that could eventually expand to other countries. In the agreement announced Tuesday, the two Japanese automakers will also make more cars for each other under what is known as an "original equipment manufacture" or OEM partnership.

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GM Offers Buyouts To 2,000 Skilled Tradesmen

December 14, 2010 3:35 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14plants around the U.S. The company estimates it has 2,000 more skilled trades workers than it needs right now. Skilled trades workers do jobs that need special training, like electrical work and welding.

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Prevent Falling Equipment

December 13, 2010 8:50 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

ASGCO (Allentown, PA) has developed the Safe-Guard Return Idler Cage to provide workers with a cost-effective, durable solution for guarding needs. The cage is designed to catch the return idler from falling onto unsuspecting workers or equipment, preventing injuries and downtime. It’s also built from powder-coated A36 steel and requires no welding.

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Hand-Held Diagnostics

December 13, 2010 8:48 am | Product Releases | Comments

RIDGID (Elyria, OH) has expanded its existing diagnostic line with the addition of three new hand-held diagnostic tools: the micro LM-100 laser distance meter, the micro CD-100 combustible gas detector, and the micro IR-100 non-contact infrared thermometer. The micro LM-100 laser distance meter provides quick readings at up to 164 feet.

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