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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Jobless Rate Rises To 9.1 Percent, AAM Responds

June 3, 2011 4:28 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — American employers hired only 54,000 new workers in May, the fewest in eight months, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent. The Labor Department report offered startling evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing, hampered by high gas prices and natural disasters in Japan that have hurt U.

Chrysler Ready To Sever Ties With U.S. Government

June 3, 2011 4:24 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC, newly profitable and confident in its revamped products, will soon sever its ties with the U.S. government after most — but not all — of the bailout loans it got two years ago are repaid. Italian automaker Fiat SpA agreed late Thursday to buy the U.

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RockTenn To Close Three Previous Smurfit-Stone Plants

June 2, 2011 9:33 am | News | Comments

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — RockTenn Co. will close three corrugated container plants that it picked up in its acquisition of Smurfit-Stone, the packaging manufacturer said Thursday, as it eliminates redundant operations to cut costs The plants in Birmingham, Ala., Jonesboro, Ark., and Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

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'Jetson' Takes A Spill In His Jetpack

June 2, 2011 9:29 am | Videos | Comments

The Martin Aircraft Company is hoping to be one of the first comanies to develop a jetpack that could be used in a variety of markets, like civil defense and recreation. While the jetpack does fly, they're currently testing the system for safety in emergency situations, hence the video below. I know I can’t be the only one who was hoping for a more dramatic fall-out, considering that only the company’s dummy, Jetson, was on the line.

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Manufacturers Push For Legalization Of Body Liquefaction

June 2, 2011 9:00 am | by Kantele Franko, Associated Press | News | Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hal Shimp didn't want a traditional send-off after death. He didn't want a big, somber service, and he certainly didn't want to be buried. When the 91-year-old World War II veteran died in February after a cancer battle, his body tissue was dissolved using heat and lye, turning it into a liquid that could be poured down a drain and a dry bone residue given to relatives, who plan to scatter it when they plant a tree in his honor.

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Ford Developing Its Smallest Engine Ever

June 2, 2011 8:46 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce its smallest engine ever by 2013, part of the race to improve fuel economy across the industry. Ford said Thursday it's working on a one-liter, three-cylinder engine that will be available in small cars globally. Ford didn't say which cars will get the engine, but it plans to release more details this fall.

Fewer Applying For Unemployment Benefits

June 2, 2011 8:43 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remain stuck at a level that signals weak job growth. The number of applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 422,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the third drop in four weeks.

Second Hoeganaes Employee Dies From Fire Injuries

June 2, 2011 8:37 am | News | Comments

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — Two employees have died from injuries received in a fire at a Gallatin factory, bringing the total number of workers killed in accidents at the Hoeganaes Corp. plant this year to four. Meanwhile, investigators said Wednesday evening they have reached no definitive conclusions about the cause of three accidents at the facility this year.

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Businesses Cut Back On Factory Orders In April

June 2, 2011 8:35 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses cut back on their orders for heavy machinery, computers and autos in April, partly because the March earthquake in Japan has made components parts harder to come by. Orders to U.S. factories fell 1.2 percent in April and a measure that signals business investment dropped 2.

Plant Floor Collaboration, Online

June 2, 2011 7:17 am | Product Releases | Comments

Librestream (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) has created a mobile collaboration system called Onsight, which allows users to take video collaboration onto the plant floor or to a supplier location. Using the system, users can receive live video and audio, and share feedback to assess operations and resolve issues quickly.

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A More 'Zippy' Bagging Solution

June 2, 2011 7:17 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Zippy Bagger models from WeighPack (Lachine, QC Canada) operate at speeds up to 35 cpm within a compact footprint, according to the company. They will automatically draw a bag, open it, and seal it after filling. The systems can run both polyethylene and laminated wicketed bags in 6” to 20” lengths.

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Greener Magnetic Systems

June 2, 2011 7:16 am | Product Releases | Comments

Eriez (Erie, PA) has developed an eco-certification designation for a variety of its magnetic separation products, including the entire line of Plate and Grate Magnets and Liquid Line Traps. These products are manufactured with energy-saving features, including the use of energy-free permanent magnets, and, according to the company, the products have a positive impact on recycling processes and the recycling industry.

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Better Sensors For Gas Detection

June 2, 2011 7:15 am | Product Releases | Comments

Detcon (The Woodlands, TX) has released the Model SG1 portable single-gas detector that uses electrochemical sensor technology to detect and monitor any one of five gases: hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, oxygen, or sulfur dioxide. The detector is controlled by an advanced microprocessor for automatic zero-calibration and easy set-up.

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Building A Car For The Blind

June 2, 2011 5:34 am | Articles | Comments

Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS, and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. The founder and director of RoMeLa, a robotics lab, notes that it's not a "self-driving" car. Instead, it's a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity, and route — and drive independently.

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Better Nylabones With Detecting Conveyors

June 2, 2011 5:21 am | Articles | Comments

TFH Publications, the maker of Nylabone® dog treats and chews, is dedicated to producing products that are safe and effective. To assure the highest final product quality, they rely on PowerPhasePLUS metal detectors from Mettler-Toledo Safeline on their nine packaging lines at their two production facilities.

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Keeping Faith In An Age Of Uncertainty

June 2, 2011 5:19 am | Articles | Comments

The past few months have seen an attack on one of our spin-off businesses by the one who was entrusted to lead it. I am sure that historians would argue but from the perspective of an old man in AD 2011, I can’t think of a more unsettled, more uncertain period — at least within my lifetime.

Alcoa CEO On Lessons Learned From The Recession

June 1, 2011 10:06 am | Videos | Comments

The world's largest producer of aluminum, Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Alcoa is nothing short of an industrial titan. In this video, Alcoa CEO and former Siemens executive Klaus Kleinfeld discusses his approach to corporate leadership and lessons learned from the all-too-recent “Great Recession.” 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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Indy 500 Hopes To Foster Another Century Of Innovation

June 1, 2011 9:34 am | by Michael Marot, AP Sports Writer | News | Comments

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Motor Speedway has not changed its master plan in the last century. It is still a test facility at heart. Engineers have spent 100 years improving engines, modifying fuel mixtures, and designing new safety features, and now the 2.5-mile is ready to roll into its second century as a high-tech proving ground for the American automotive industry.

Toyota's U.S. Sales Fell 33 Percent On Earthquake Shortages

June 1, 2011 9:06 am | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota says its U.S. sales fell 33 percent in May because of earthquake-related vehicle shortages. Toyota said sales of all Toyota and Lexus cars but one — the new Scion tC — declined from last May. Among SUVs and trucks, only the Tacoma pickup saw sales increase over last May.

Judge Refuses To Reduce Fines For Burning Death

June 1, 2011 8:55 am | News | Comments

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to reduce the $1 million fine and $2 million in restitution he ordered paid by a Colorado company that admitted partial responsibility for the death of a Baton Rouge plant worker. On Tuesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson said Chemical & Metal Industries Inc.

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