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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

FBI Investigates Solar Firm That Got $535M U.S. Loan

September 9, 2011 4:55 am | by Jason Dearen, Kiven Freking, Associated Press | News | Comments

FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — FBI agents executed search warrants Thursday at the headquarters of California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received more than $500 million in federal loans before filing for bankruptcy last week. Blue-jacket-clad agents swarmed the company's headquarters in Fremont as part of an investigation with the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General into the manufacturer once touted by President Barack Obama as a beneficiary of economic stimulus, FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn said.

Manufacturing Needs Targeted Tax Cuts

September 8, 2011 11:58 am | Articles | Comments

175 companies in Standard and Poors 500 Stock Index have a new model for making money. They don’t have to hire people or even invest in new equipment or facilities. In 2010 The New York Times reported that revenue increased 7 percent but profits soared by 42 percent (seven times faster than revenue).


From Axes To Wrenches

September 8, 2011 11:52 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel | Articles | Comments

The oldest known tools date back to two million years ago, to the earliest period of human development. Hand tools represent humans’ first steps in using things in the world to get what we want. These tools may have started as sticks and rocks, but have evolved into tools of efficiency, and are safer and stronger than ever before.


Sitting On The Bulls-Eye

September 8, 2011 11:47 am | by George F. Brown, Co-founder of Blue Canyon Partners | Articles | Comments

One of my all-time favorite Far Side cartoons showed a deer with a target on its chest. The caption has another deer commenting, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.” In our work with firms serving business markets, we’ve come across many organizations that feel they are the ones sitting squarely in the bulls-eye, with supply chain managers and competitors alike taking aim on an ongoing basis.


Don't Let Employee Poaching Hijack Your Exit Plan

September 8, 2011 11:39 am | by Bob O’Hara, CPA/PFS/MST/CExP founder of O’Hara & Company | Articles | Comments

While the U.S. economy remains in a fragile state, statistics point to a resurgence of sorts in manufacturing, especially on high tech factory floors. In fact, manufacturers added 25,000 new jobs in April, the seventh month of gains in a row. While this is certainly encouraging news it also creates a serious problem – “baby boomer” business owners who are preparing to leave their businesses behind may find there isn’t enough trained and experienced talent to adequately fill their shoes upon succession… with the added concern that those who have “all the right stuff” may be lured away by rival companies.

ERP Trends That Can Affect Your Software Selection

September 8, 2011 11:30 am | by Dylan Persaud, Managing Director, Eval-Source | Articles | Comments

In order for organizations to capitalize on cloud computing and its benefits, there are new and emerging trends within the ERP cloud market that organizations should be cognizant of. These trends can affect IT strategy, architecture, and may even determine the specific software an organization selects.


Q & A: Quick Response Manufacturing

September 8, 2011 11:20 am | Articles | Comments

Rajan Suri is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelors degree from Cambridge University (England) and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Professor Suri is the Founding Director of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM).

Energy Intelligence: Making The Sustainable Choice

September 8, 2011 11:07 am | by Anna Wells | Articles | Comments

Equipment purchases are one thing, but getting involved with your community, utility providers, and employees may be what makes a bigger impact. When it comes to the modern sustainable plant, making the energy efficient equipment choice isn’t always enough. While it certainly pays to have the latest and greatest—much of which can mean the difference between sips and gulps of energy use—these purchases can only take users so far.


Cut Downtime, Energy Costs In F&B With Advanced Alignment

September 8, 2011 10:59 am | by Paul Michalicka of SKF USA Inc. and Linda van Merkesteijn & Mark Ely of SKF Maintenance Products | Articles | Comments

A growing number of food and beverage manufacturers are turning to advanced shaft and belt alignment systems, often equipped with laser sighting. The trend, which affects diverse food sectors, is fueled by the prospect of lower energy costs, reduced downtime, and better overall machine reliability.


Glass Blending With Abrasion Resistant Rotary Mixer

September 8, 2011 10:54 am | Articles | Comments

From a humble beginning more than 80 years ago, as a manufacturer of red glass for railroad signals, Kopp Glass now claims to be the world’s leading producer of precision molded industrial quality technical glass. The company is known worldwide among the industries it serves as a producer of molded borosilicate glass, a tough material that can withstand harsh industrial environments and is resistant to degradation from sunlight and weathering.


RAM Grinding Cools Off

September 8, 2011 10:46 am | Articles | Comments

At RAM Grinding, precision is measured in ten-thousandths of an inch. Whether it’s a less expensive part or a $100,000 part, the precision tolerance is often not more than .0002”. With those tight margins, the company needed a consistent air temperature to prevent metal expansion and errors.

What Has Your Utility Done For You?

September 8, 2011 10:17 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Articles | Comments

The city of Riverside constitutes part of the “Inland Empire,” an urban area just east of Los Angeles, CA, and as the sun rose through a layer of fog on a recent August morning, it didn’t seem like the heart of a manufacturing hub. But just five minutes outside the city’s still-growing downtown sits the Hunter Business Park, home to a handful of influential area manufacturers: Sabert, Mackie, Parker Hannifin, Bourns Inc.


CYCLO COOL Synthetic Coolants

September 8, 2011 9:28 am | Product Releases | Comments

The new CYCLO COOL 900 and 5000 series synthetic coolants from MAG (New York, NY) are additive free, low foaming, and specially formulated for machining titanium, Inconel, beryllium copper, hardened steels, stainless steels, and other superalloys. Developed for the aerospace industry, the new coolants use unique synthetic formulations to provide boundary lubricant properties, while penetrating the heat barrier in the cutting zone, even at lower pressure (300 to 400 psi), to absorb heat from the tool and part, and minimize chemical reactions between tools and workpieces.


750 Series Documenting Process Calibrators

September 8, 2011 9:27 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA) has introduced the 750 Series Documenting Process Calibrators, to calibrate temperature, pressure, voltage, current, resistance, and frequency. With three operating modes: measure, source, or simultaneous measure/source, technicians can troubleshoot, calibrate, or maintain instrumentation with one tool.


Megamat RS Vertical Carousel

September 8, 2011 9:27 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Megamat RS Vertical Carousel from Kardex Remstar, LLC (Westbrook, ME) features a new intelligent drive design, providing part and supply operations a more reliable vertical carousel requiring less maintenance and lower energy requirements. The new drive design is made up of a drive track, carrier arms, transportation chain, drive motor, drive chain, and hand crank.


Handheld Thermometer/Hygrometer Data Logger

September 8, 2011 9:25 am | Product Releases | Comments

The new RHXL3SD Handheld Thermometer/Hygrometer Data Logger from Omega (Stamford, CT) comes with a temperature-humidity probe, 2 GB SD card, and features automatic temperature compensation for dew point, wet-bulb, and thermocouple measurements. It has the ability to hold readings and display maximum and minimum readings and an automatic power off function that extends battery life.


Brunswick To Expand Boat Plant

September 8, 2011 8:28 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. (AP) — The Brunswick Corp. has announced plans to expand its Lund Boats plant in New York Mills. Brunswick, which owns and operates Lund Boats, plans to add 22,000 square feet to the western Minnesota plant. The company says demand has been high for both the Crestliner and Lund boat brands.


Man Hit With Environmental Charges At KY Plant

September 8, 2011 8:27 am | News | Comments

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A Wisconsin man has been charged with tampering with environmental monitors, then covering it up at a southern Kentucky secondary aluminum production plant. A federal grand jury in Bowling Green on Wednesday charged 59-year-old Daniel Evanoff of Plymouth, Wis.


UAW, Ford, Chrysler Far Apart In Talks

September 8, 2011 8:25 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Ford, Chrysler and the United Auto Workers remain far apart in labor talks with just a week left before their contracts expire, two people briefed on the talks said Wednesday. Negotiators for the two companies and the union have started serious talks on wages in the past few days, even though the union's contracts with all three Detroit carmakers expire at 11:59 p.


Unemployment Applications Increasing

September 8, 2011 8:24 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, evidence that the job market isn't improving. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The report suggests companies aren't significantly increasing layoffs, despite weak economic growth.


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