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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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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GM, Ford Sales Fell Due To High Gas Prices

June 1, 2011 8:50 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto sales cooled off in May after setting a torrid pace earlier in the year. General Motors' sales fell 1.2 percent as it offered fewer deals to customers and cut sales to rental car companies. The largest U.S. car company says it sold 221,192 vehicles last month, led by smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

Feds: Xcel Knew Of Safety Issues That Killed Five

June 1, 2011 8:46 am | News | Comments

DENVER (AP) — Federal prosecutors say Xcel Energy knew of workplace safety violations that led to the death of five workers. A defense attorney Wednesday shot back that it was an Xcel contractor that violated regulations and called the deaths an accident. Xcel Energy and a subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, are each charged in federal court with five counts of violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for the October 2007 fire inside a water tunnel at the Cabin Creek hydroelectric plant near Georgetown, Colo.

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Geithner: Gov't Will Lose $14 Billion From Auto Bailout

June 1, 2011 8:37 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday that the government will lose about $14 billion in taxpayer funds from the bailout of the U.S. auto industry. In a report from the president's National Economic Council, officials said that figure is down from the 60 percent the Treasury Department originally estimated the government would lose following its $80 billion bailout of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009.

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From A Different Mold

June 1, 2011 7:53 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

It was not so long ago that someone with a strong throwing arm—so the expression goes—might hurl a rock from the front lawn of Hansen Plastics Elgin, IL-based facility and hit half a dozen other plastic injection molding companies. But times have been tough and this industry—while still highly competitive, even just domestically—is thinning out in Northern Illinois; fewer, over time, have been able to hang on.

Efficient Operations And Maintenance LEED To Savings

June 1, 2011 7:39 am | by Tom Bauer, Product Manager, The Garland Company, Inc. | Articles | Comments

In January 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) component of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) green buildings rating system. According to the USGBC, the system is aimed at managers and others “who wish to drive down operating costs while increasing the occupants’ productivity in an environmentally responsible manner.

Robotic Trucks To Take Over Army

June 1, 2011 7:07 am | Videos | Comments

Lockheed Martin is hard at work on trucks for the U.S. military that aren’t held back by their human drivers. A number of technologies, such as LADAR — or laser radar — allow the vehicles to see obstacles, and each other, in zero-visibility conditions. Lockheed’s solution is the best of both worlds as well, allowing soldiers to take over the wheel when needed, while remaining a passenger the rest of the time.

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Patriotism Pays Off

June 1, 2011 6:55 am | Videos | Comments

Matthew Quinn, the owner of Quinn Flags, says that his American flag business has been booming since Osama bin Laden's death. In an industry that has been saturated with competitors since 9/11, Quinn says that the latest development has been exactly what the business needed to stay ahead of the game, with sales increasing upwards of 50 percent.

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