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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Sunglasses That Blot Out The Sun

June 8, 2011 10:55 am | Videos | Comments

The Dynamic Eye is a new sunglass technology that uses liquid crystal displays — the same innovation that powers your computer or cell phone's screen — to block out the sun in a smarter fashion. Its inventor, Chris Mullin, says that his company needs another 12-18 months to fully develop the LCD technology, which needs to be made of very lightweight plastic.

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U.S. Economy Slows On Manufacturing Supply Troubles

June 8, 2011 9:15 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time this year, the economy slowed in several U.S. regions this spring. High gas prices weakened consumer spending, and the Japan crises reduced manufacturing output. Four of the 12 Federal Reserve bank regions suffered slower growth in April and May, compared with earlier this year, a Federal Reserve survey said Wednesday.

EU To Offer $300 Million To E. Coli-Affected Farmers

June 8, 2011 9:04 am | by Raf Casert, Associated Press | News | Comments

BRUSSELS (AP) — Pressed hard by outraged farmers, the European Union farm chief on Wednesday increased his offer of compensation for the E. coli outbreak to €210 million ($306 million). EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos had initially proposed €150 million ($219 million) to the struggling farmers, who have tons of unwanted produce rotting in fields and warehouses as Europeans shun vegetables, fearing they are contaminated with a deadly strain of E.

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The Re-Designed VW Passat: Almost American

June 8, 2011 9:02 am | by Ann M. Job, for The Associated Press | News | Comments

German automaker Volkswagen is making its mid-size Passat sedan affordable and accommodating for more American car buyers. The four-door, five-passenger, 2012 Passat is bigger than ever, with more back-seat legroom and a bigger trunk than in the Toyota Camry. Front-seat legroom of more than 42 inches is impressive, too, also exceeding Camry's.

Ford Finalizes $1.4 Billion Russian Joint Venture

June 8, 2011 8:58 am | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has finalized a deal with Russian automaker Sollers to build and sell cars and other vehicles in Russia, a key part of Ford's ambitious overseas growth plan. Ford said Wednesday that the two companies have lined up $1.4 billion in long-term financing from Vnesheconombank, the Russian development bank, for the 50-50 joint venture called Ford Sollers.

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Committee To Visit S.C. For Labor Lawsuit Against Boeing

June 8, 2011 8:55 am | by Meg Kinnard, Associated Press | News | Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A congressional committee is traveling to South Carolina later this month to hold a hearing over a federal labor lawsuit that claims Boeing Co. moved manufacturing facilities from Washington state to avoid unionized workers. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government planned to announce Wednesday that it will hold a June 17 hearing in North Charleston, home to Boeing's new 787 passenger aircraft assembly line.

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GM Invests $49 Million In Indiana Plant

June 8, 2011 8:52 am | News | Comments

BEDFORD, Ind. (AP) — General Motors Co. is investing $49 million in its Bedford, Indiana, plant, a move that will help to create or keep 91 jobs. Wednesday's news is part of an effort GM announced May 10 to create or retain about 4,000 jobs by investing $2 billion in 17 factories in eight states.

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Is The 'Cloud' Safe?

June 8, 2011 6:48 am | Videos | Comments

With more technology companies pushing their products onto the “cloud” — the distributed network that is powered by thousands of high-performance servers in dark data centers around the country — many are getting more concerned about security. When sensitive information takes flight on the cloud, it can more easily be hacked and taken.

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Tearing Down A Hard Drive

June 8, 2011 6:24 am | Videos | Comments

Bill Hammack, also known as the “Engineer Guy,” is back, and this time, he opens up a computer to see how a hard drive is engineered. As with many things he tears down, the level of sophistication is incredible, like the small tolerances between the head, which reads and writes data, and the platter of the hard drive itself.

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Blowtorch Your Hand Without A Wince

June 8, 2011 6:24 am | Videos | Comments

GelTech Solutions, based in Jupiter, Fla., has been marketing FireIce for years now, and seems to be on the precipice of a breakthrough. Their product is a fire suppressant gel that can protect skin from a 2,000 degree blowtorch, or say, a house from an approaching wildfire. In addition, it washes away quickly, and has no impact on the environment.

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Flaming Faucets: When Fracking Goes Wrong

June 8, 2011 6:23 am | Videos | Comments

By now, it’s a pretty common story. A natural gas drilling company offers a great deal to rural landowners to build a drill and pump out the gas from shale, deep beneath the ground. But some those who accepted the offer, like Sherry Vargson, are now experiencing numerous issues, like “flammable” water and increased concentrations of radioactive materials in their drinking water.

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Air Filter Maker To Invest $7 Million In N.Y. Facility

June 8, 2011 5:04 am | News | Comments

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A North Carolina air filter manufacturing company says it will put its northeast production facility in upstate New York, creating 180 new jobs. State economic development officials say Flanders Corp. will invest $7 million in the Columbia County town of Greenport, near Albany.

Chrysler Could Face $200,000 In Worker Death Fines

June 8, 2011 4:40 am | News | Comments

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — State regulators have issued $200,000 in fines against Chrysler for safety violations found during the investigation of a worker's death at a central Indiana factory. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration's investigation began in January after 62-year-old Claude Brock Jr.

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China Gives State-Run Miner Monopoly On Rare Earths

June 8, 2011 4:36 am | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — China is giving its biggest, state-owned rare earths miner and producer a monopoly for the northern part of the country in reforms aimed at bringing the strategically important sector that's crucial to advanced manufacturing under tighter control. The Ministry for Industry and Information Technology said in a statement seen Wednesday on its website that Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co.

GM, Ford Scramble To Reassure Investors On Profitability

June 8, 2011 4:33 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors and Ford are trying to reassure investors that their sales and profits will keep growing despite a weaker U.S. economy and slower auto sales Carmakers have been hit with a string of bad news this spring, from the March 11 earthquake in Japan that left dealers short on cars to rising gas prices and unemployment.

Eight-Alarm Tears Through Abandoned R.I. Rubber Mill

June 8, 2011 4:29 am | News | Comments

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — A massive, eight-alarm fire tore through a 112-year-old mill in northern Rhode Island on Tuesday, leaving one firefighter injured, forcing some residents to be evacuated and leaving hundreds without power, officials said late Tuesday. Firefighters were called to a blaze at the former Alice Mills Rubber Manufacturing Plant in Woonsocket, just miles from the Massachusetts state line at about 7:30 p.

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Eight Workers Hurt, One Burned In Ariz. Intel Blast

June 8, 2011 4:24 am | News | Comments

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say one employee is severely burned and three others are hospitalized after a substance ignited in a chemical-storage room at Intel's plant in Chandler. They say the flash fire occurred in a self-contained room containing petroleum-based solvents used for cleaning.

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Numerous Accidents Illuminate Perils Of 'Bounce Houses'

June 7, 2011 9:22 am | by Frank Eltman and John Seewer, Associated Press | News | Comments

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (AP) — They look like harmless fun — fluffy, inflated castles, ships and slides filled with children jumping around carelessly, their parents letting their guard down a bit during playtime. But an accident that sent three of the huge toys aloft on a breezy afternoon on New York's Long Island, left a woman seriously injured and hurt 12 other people is drawing attention to the little-known hazards of the inflatable playthings sometimes called "bounce houses" and the inconsistent regulations covering them.

NJ Recycler To Turn 900 Illegal Guns Into Art

June 7, 2011 9:03 am | by Samantha Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Workers at a recycling plant in northern New Jersey figuratively turned guns into plowshares Tuesday, accepting more than 900 illegal weapons that will be shredded and melted for use in the creation of a "Peace Angel" statue. The statue will be donated to the New York City Police Department's lower Manhattan headquarters.

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U.S. Challenges China's Subsidies In WTO Court

June 7, 2011 8:58 am | by Matthew Pennington, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. on Tuesday called for China to disclose all its government subsidy programs as Beijing backed down in a trade dispute between the world's two leading economies over clean energy technology. Washington filed a case with the World Trade Organization in December over grants provided by the Chinese government to wind turbine manufacturers that used key components made in China rather than purchasing imports.

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