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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

What's Watson's End Game?

March 8, 2011 7:07 am | by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Blogs | Comments

While I’m cautiously optimistic that we humans will not have to engage in a decades-long, post-apocalyptic war against power-hungry machines looking to wipe us off the face of the earth, I cannot help but wonder what the future holds for Watson and artificially intelligent computers like it.

Robotic Automation Raises The Organic Bar

March 8, 2011 6:56 am | Articles | Comments

To meet growing consumer demand for its line of nutritious FOOD BARS, ORGANC FOOD BARs, an organic foods manufacturer in Southern California teamed up with Bosch Packaging Technology to install three new packaging machines—including two Delta robots—at the company’s facility in Corona, Calif.

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Video Release: Track The Root Cause

March 8, 2011 5:43 am | Product Releases | Comments

Reliability Center, Inc. (RCI; Hopewell, VA) has developed the PROACTOnDemand, which allows companies to engage in process, equipment, safety, environmental, and human root cause analysis (RCA) investigations. They have produced the following video to explain how the system can be used in one particular scenario: Go to www.

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High-Strength Chain Lubricant

March 8, 2011 5:39 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Escalator Chain Lube — available from Royal Purple (Porter, TX) — is a high film strength synthetic lubricant designed for a variety of chains, including those used in automotive and industrial applications. According to the company, it can reduce lubricant consumption by as much as 75 percent, along with reducing noise levels and extending the life of chains.

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Take Control Of Your Power

March 8, 2011 5:39 am | Product Releases | Comments

Time Mark Corporation (Tulsa, OK) has announced the arrival of the new Model 64-5 Power Factor Regulator, which is a monitoring and power factor control system. The Model 64-5 uses a phase-angle sensing circuit to monitor the power factor of a three-phase power line and automatically respond to changing power by closing or opening the internal relays.

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Penetrating, Water-Resistant Grease

March 8, 2011 5:38 am | Product Releases | Comments

LPS Laboratories (Tucker, GA) has introduced the Clean Penetrating Grease, a high tack, clear grease that contains PTFE to enhance the lubrication performance and reduce friction. According to the National Lubrication Grease Institute (NLGI), Clear Penetrating Grease has a rating of 1 to 1.

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'Making' Trash Into Art

March 8, 2011 4:48 am | Videos | Comments

Two weeks ago, we featured a video of Dale Dougherty, publisher of MAKE magazine, talking about how we are all "makers." Well, this video shows almost exactly what Dougherty — and we — were talking about there. Reuben Margolin creates kinetic sculptures, which are a form of artwork he builds using found materials, such as cardboard tubes and scrap metal.

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The Blind Leading... Themselves?

March 8, 2011 4:18 am | Videos | Comments

Today's technology is being leveraged to actually help people, which is one of the most exciting and inspiring aspects of this most recent age of tech innovation. CBS News reports on an artificial retina that could restore partial vision to the blind and may soon be approved by the FDA. Then, the network discusses how the device works and how it could change the lives for people with certain types of blindness.

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'Old GM' To Pay $50.6 Million For Environmental Slip-Ups

March 8, 2011 4:06 am | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a $50.6 million deal to settle some environmental claims against the old General Motors Corp. The deal covers 34 sites in 11 states. It brings the settled environmental claims against old GM to more than $800 million, but more claims remain.

Hutchinson Technology To Cut 30 To 40 Percent Of Workforce

March 8, 2011 3:41 am | News | Comments

HUTCHINSON, Minn. (AP) — Hutchinson Technology will cut 30 percent to 40 percent of its U.S. work force as part of a consolidation plan, the company said Tuesday, sending shares plummeting 10 percent before the market opened. The cuts amount to between 680 and 910 of its 2,275 workers. Hutchinson said its needs fewer employees now because of advancements in manufacturing technology.

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Are We Experiencing A Little Benefit Envy?

March 8, 2011 3:35 am | by Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press | News | Comments

When Erin McFarlane looks at public workers, she sees lucrative pension benefits she doesn't ever expect to get. And it makes her mad. "I don't think that a federal employee or government employee is worth any more than anybody else who does their job and does it well," said the Slinger, Wis., woman.

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Toyota: Global Hybrid Sales Have Topped 3 Million

March 8, 2011 3:29 am | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that global sales of its hybrid models have topped 3 million vehicles on the back of brisk demand for the Prius. The world's No. 1 automaker has sold more than 3.03 million gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles worldwide since 1997 when Toyota first rolled out the Prius in Japan, it said.

Food Distributor Plans On Selling Company To Its Workers

March 8, 2011 3:25 am | News | Comments

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — The owners of a Goshen-based food distributor say they plan to sell the company to its 280 employees rather than risk selling it to a company that might move it. The Goshen News reports that Becky and Paris Ball-Miller will sell the company to its employees over the next 10 years.

Ford CEO Mulally Gets $56.5 Million Stock Reward

March 8, 2011 3:23 am | News | Comments

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has rewarded CEO Alan Mulally with stock worth $56.5 million before taxes. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., the man who hired Mulally, got stock worth $42.4 million. The Dearborn, Michigan, company disclosed the awards in filings Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Magna Rebounds Quickly After Devastating Plant Fire

March 8, 2011 3:20 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Part of a Michigan auto parts factory that was damaged by fire last week started producing again over the weekend, easing a parts shortage that had forced two auto companies to shut down some assembly lines. The fire Wednesday at a Magna International Inc. plant caused General Motors Co.

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Bill Gates Wants Energy Miracles

March 8, 2011 3:19 am | Videos | Comments

Bill Gates, well-known for being the founder and main proprietor of Microsoft for many years, now heads a foundation that invests in forward-thinking technology to help propel the world into a better future. As he explains in this talk, the key to solving the world's energy crisis isn't in making Americans use less, or taking away the services that we hold dear, but rather using technology that creates energy with little environmental backlash.

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Better Cordless Torque Control

March 7, 2011 9:58 am | Product Releases | Comments

Mountz, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has developed a new line of cordless screwdrivers to their FlexPower-branded lineup, designed for torque control and durability. The tools are built around the 10.8V and 14.4V high-capacity lithium-ion battery platforms. According to the company, they are ideal for applications where air or electric power is not easily accessible, and they automatically stop when the preset torque has been reached.

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Floor, Wall Cleaning Gets Easier

March 7, 2011 9:57 am | Product Releases | Comments

The new Oil Eater Floor Cleaner from Kafko (Skokie, IL) comes packaged in a 1.5 oz. pouch, and simplifies the task of cleaning floors and walls, according to the company. The pre-measured packets help maintain proper dilution and control wasteful overuse, while still being compatible with a mop bucket or floor scrubber.

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Completely Wireless Inspection

March 7, 2011 9:56 am | Product Releases | Comments

SKF (San Diego, CA) has developed the Microlog Inspector, the next generation SKF MARLIN inspection system, which provides the ability to manage workflow and data collection within and between different plant disciplines (operations, maintenance, safety, etc). The Microlog Inspector does not need to be connected to a PC running SKF’s @ptitude software package because it supports communication over LAN, USB, WiFi, and even cellular data networks (3G/GPRS).

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Forego Welds And Rivets For Adhesives

March 7, 2011 9:55 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Henkel Corporation (Rocky Hill, CT) has introduced two Loctite Structural Acrylic Adhesives formulated to fixture in just five to 20 minutes. The Loctite H8100 and H8110 Speedbonder Structural Adhesives provide excellent peel and shear strength once cured, and the bonds are designed to reduce or eliminate welds, rivets, and threaded fasteners.

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