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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Official: China Will Not Use Rare Metals As 'Bargaining Chip'

October 8, 2010 4:36 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — China is not using its control over supplies of rare earth — exotic metals crucial in advanced manufacturing — as a diplomatic "bargaining chip," state media quoted Premier Wen Jiabao as saying during a visit to Europe. Recent reports that Beijing had temporarily suspended shipments to Japan of the metallic elements, used in computer disk drives, hybrid car components and other high-tech products, has drawn attention to China's near monopoly on the materials.

Africa's Cocoa Industry Still Supported By Child Trafficking

October 8, 2010 4:33 am | by Marco Chown Oved, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — West Africa's cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices, according to an independent audit published by Tulane University. A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor.

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GM, UAW Reach Wage-Cutting Deal At Small Car Plant

October 8, 2010 4:32 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — General Motors and the United Auto Workers have reached a cost-cutting deal that could help accomplish what once seemed impossible: Making a profit on small cars built in the United States. The deal, announced Thursday, could cut in half the hourly wage of some longtime UAW workers at a factory in Orion Township, Mich.

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FTC: 'Eco-Friendly' Isn't Always Consumer-Friendly

October 7, 2010 9:57 am | by Eileen AJ Connelly, AP Business Writer | Articles | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — It's an inconvenient truth: Many of the environmental claims in advertisements and packaging are more about raking in the green than being green. Aiming to clear up confusion for consumers about what various terms mean, the Federal Trade Commission has revised its guidelines for businesses that make claims about so-called "eco-friendly" products.

Minimizing Distributor Terminations: Preparation Is Key

October 7, 2010 9:55 am | by Roberta F. Howell, Attorney, Foley Lardner LLP | Articles | Comments

Don’t forget that the cost of litigation is not just the attorneys’ fees and out-of-pocket litigation costs that will be incurred, but also includes management and sales personnel time that must be devoted to the case, rather than day-to-day business. In the first two columns of this series ( Part 1 ,  Part 2 ), we discussed how to minimize the risks of terminating a distribution relationship before the relationship begins and during the relationship.

Interchangeable Chuck Collets

October 7, 2010 7:56 am | Product Releases | Comments

Northfield Precision Instrument Corporation (Island Park, NY) introduces their 5C Collet Chuck, which is interchangeable with their standard 4” chucks because of an identical bolt pattern. The chuck is air-actuated and uses Northfield’s standard air feed tubes (wet or dry). All components are hardened and ground to 58/63 R.

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Cleaner, Easier Dust Collection

October 7, 2010 7:55 am | Product Releases | Comments

The SFC downflow cartridge dust collector from United Air Specialists (Cincinnati, OH) uses a filter cleaning system, combined with nanofiber filter cartridges and an optimized cabin design, to deliver high air cleaning efficiency. The SFC uses MERV 15 filter cartridges as standard, which helps the system to be designed with higher air-to-media ratios.

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Make Drums Mobile

October 7, 2010 7:55 am | Product Releases | Comments

Morse Manufacturing Co., Inc. (East Syracuse, NY) has developed the Clamp+GO! drum dolly handle, which clamps onto dollies with various-sized sidewalls, making it ideal for any drum handling operation. A low center of gravity helps operators maneuver the drum with stability, helping to prevent accidents, and moving to the next dolly only requires a quick touch.

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Clamp Metering Gets Flexible

October 7, 2010 7:54 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA) has introduced its new iFlex flexible current probes, which are designed to make current measurement easier for industrial technicians. The probes use a large coil that allows users to reach around large or awkwardly-shaped conductors up to 6” in diameter, and expands the measurement range of select Fluke meters to 2000 amps.

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The Best Thing Since Sliced... Mouse?

October 6, 2010 9:07 am | Videos | Comments

A British bread maker recently came under fire for a certain disturbing find in a loaf of bread: a cooked, chopped-up mouse. The company was fined about $27,000 for the mistake, which they claim must have happened before the dough was even mixed together. The worst part of the whole story? The tail is missing, and no one's quite sure who might have washed it down with some turkey and cheese.

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Robots Perform Grape Surgery

October 6, 2010 9:03 am | Videos | Comments

While most manufacturing processes do not take this level of precision, this "surgery" on a grape proves just how advanced robotic technology has come in recent years. The drive of competition has pushed even the most heavy-duty of industrial robots to become increasingly accurate as well.

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Buffet: It's Time To Tax The Ultra-Rich

October 6, 2010 9:02 am | Videos | Comments

Warren Buffet, investor extraordinaire and current CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, recently sat down with CNN 's Poppy Harlow to talk the state of the U.S. economy. With deficits growing, Buffet offers a simple solution: raise taxes on the super-rich, even himself. With more money in the coffers from the greatest capitalist success stories, the country could better afford a tax break for the middle class.

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Inventing A Better (Less Sticky) Bubble Gum

October 6, 2010 9:01 am | Videos | Comments

Thanks in part to extensive university research, an American company is pushing to solve a timeless problem: chewing gum that's stuck to just about every surface imaginable. The solution is a chewing gum that retains much more moisture, making it easier to remove for a longer period of time. Even if the gum has hardened out, simply rewetting it can be enough to break the bond.

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Criminal Negligence Case Opened For Toxic Sludge Avalanche

October 6, 2010 4:58 am | by Bela Szandelszky and Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writers | News | Comments

KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — Police say Hungary's top investigative agency is taking over the inquiry into the toxic sludge reservoir that burst, flooding several towns in western Hungary and killing at least four people. Police spokeswoman Monika Benyi tells The Associated Press that the decision Wednesday by National Police Chief Jozsef Hatala reflects the importance and complexity of the sludge disaster.

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Geithner: Yuan Undervaluation Hurting U.S. Manufacturers

October 6, 2010 4:48 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stepped up pressure on China to make more progress in moving toward flexible exchange rates. Geithner said Wednesday that it is particularly important to see appreciation in countries where the currency is significantly undervalued. Geithner never mentioned China, but the speech was clearly aimed at the world's second-largest economy.

Majority Of 6,000 Kan. Beechcraft Jobs Saved By Gov.

October 6, 2010 4:41 am | by John Milburn, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An agreement has been reached that could keep "the vast majority" of the Hawker Beechcraft general aviation jobs in the Wichita, Gov. Mark Parkinson said late Tuesday. Parkinson said he brokered a "long-term deal" with the company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.

Mother Sues Bayer Over Son's Chemical Exposure Death

October 6, 2010 4:39 am | News | Comments

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The mother of a West Virginia State University student is suing Bayer CropScience and the school over her son's death in 2008. Portia Gray's lawsuit claims her 19-year-old son, Ra'Sean Gray, died as a result of exposure to substances released during an explosion at Bayer's Institute plant.

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Frito-Lay To Pull Noisy, Biodegradable SunChips Bags

October 6, 2010 4:37 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Retail Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Frito-Lay hopes to quiet complaints about its noisy SunChips bags by switching out the biodegradable bags for the old packaging on most flavors. The company is switching back to original packaging, which is made of a type of plastic, for five of the six varieties of the chips.

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Prius Sales Drop For First Time In 17 Months

October 6, 2010 4:35 am | by Shino Yuasa, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Sales of Toyota's Prius hybrid in Japan dropped for the first time in 17 months as government subsidies for green cars expired, an auto industry group said Wednesday. Despite the lower sales, the gasoline-electric hybrid was the top-selling car in Japan for the 17th straight month in September, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

Keep Your Bins In Sight

October 5, 2010 9:37 am | Product Releases | Comments

The InSight Ultra Clear Bins from Akro-Mils (Akron, OH) are made from autoclavable polycarbonate material and are available in four sizes to provide maximum visibility to users in a sleek design. The InSight bins’ “lock-in-place” design allows bins to be stacked, even with lids in place, and the molded rear hanger lip easily hooks the bins onto rails or louvered panels.

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