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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

A Tom Swift Life

October 11, 2010 6:28 am | by Mike Rainone, Co-Founder of PCDworks | Articles | Comments

The foundation of becoming a theoretical powerhouse is to understand what it is to “know” something. Since I was child I have read science fantasy books, as did many a young man in a generation born to the awakening of electronics, rocketry, and the atomic era. But my earliest recollections are the adventures of Tom Swift Jr.

Danish 'Green' Manufacturer Plans Milwaukee Plant

October 11, 2010 4:57 am | by Thomas Content, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

NEW BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — A Danish firm's expansion is giving Wisconsin another player in the manufacturing sector geared toward alternative energy. Avanti Wind has been in operation here for several years, making service lifts used by technicians who inspect and repair wind turbines and need to scale the turbines' tall towers.

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Toyota Plans Two Cars Under Prius Name, Including Plug-In

October 11, 2010 4:53 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota plans to roll out two new cars under the Prius name by next year, according to a dealer briefed on the plans, as the automaker seeks to turn its popular hybrid into a family of vehicles. The Japanese automaker will begin selling a Prius station wagon starting next summer as either a 2011 or 2012 model, said Adam Lee, president of the Lee Auto Malls chain of dealerships in Maine.

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Mercedes-Benz Recalls 85,000 For Power Steering Failures

October 11, 2010 4:51 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mercedes-Benz is recalling about 85,000 of its 2010 and 2011 cars because of potential steering problems. The luxury automaker said in a report to federal regulators that the steering systems in the cars "may fail due to the loss of power steering fluid." Mercedes-Benz said that if that happens, drivers "may not have sufficient control of the vehicle .

Google Quietly Road-Testing Cars That Drive Themselves

October 11, 2010 4:49 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google Inc. is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver, the company says. The goal is to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions" through ride sharing and "the new 'highway trains of tomorrow,'" project leader Sebastian Thrun wrote Saturday on Google's corporate blog.

Hungarian Plant Apologizes For Sludge Spill, Expects Another

October 11, 2010 4:48 am | by Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — The owners of the metals plant whose reservoir burst, flooding several towns in western Hungary with caustic red sludge, expressed their condolences Sunday to the families of the seven people killed, as well as to those injured — and said they were sorry for not having done so sooner.

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Many Unemployed No Longer Qualify For Old Jobs

October 11, 2010 4:47 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them. They're running into a trend that took root during the recession. Companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers.

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Prevent Falls By 'Cynching'

October 8, 2010 8:58 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Cynch-Lok fall restriction pole strap from Capital Safety’s (Red Wing, MN) DBI-SALA line uses a unique design that will “cynch” around a pole to limit fall distances when used correctly. The system also offers slide-in-place adjustment to fit the pole and allows climbers to adjust to the pole diameter while climbing, while the strap maximizes versatility by eliminating the need for multiple devices.

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Cheap Mezzanine Flooring

October 8, 2010 8:57 am | Product Releases | Comments

Cornerstone Specialty Wood Products, LLC (Cincinnati, OH) offers the ResinDek, which is made for mezzanine flooring or remodeling of work platforms. The flooring is engineered to withstand up to 8,000 pounds, making it an alternative to concrete. According to the company, users can save a significant amount of money over other flooring solutions.

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Battery-Powered Impact

October 8, 2010 8:55 am | Product Releases | Comments

The cordless SIW 18T-A CPC lithium ion high torque impact wrench from Hilti (Tulsa, OK) packs battery performance into a rugged design for complete mobility, according to the company. The SIW 18T-A achieves an impressive number of fastenings per battery charge, all while allowing the motor to provide maximum torque when needed.

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More Durable Floor Markings

October 8, 2010 8:54 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Brady ID (Milwaukee, WI) has announced that it will be expanding its ToughStripe product line to include printable floor labels and pre-spaced floor dots, arrows, and dashes. The printable label cartridges allow users to create custom floor labels, which feature the same durability and performance as the original ToughScripe tape, making them ideal for identifying designated storage locations.

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Flavor Feeders Achieve Higher Throughput

October 8, 2010 7:33 am | Articles | Comments

Spiroflow Systems, Inc. and its sister company Spiroflow Ltd. report that over 200 Flexible Screw Conveyor (FSC) systems with integrated Bag Tip Stations known to the industry as ‘flavor feeders’ have been installed and are in operation at plants of leading snack food producers worldwide.

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Sorry, I Can’t Hear You, I’m Eating Sun Chips

October 8, 2010 6:38 am | by by Kim Ukura, Associate Editor, PD&D | Blogs | Comments

Yikes, Frito-Lay, your environmentally responsible packaging is making it harder for me to sneak a few delicious potato chips. For shame! About six months ago, Frito-Lay launched the new biodegradable bag for  Sun Chips  with a splashy marketing campaign that played up that the bags are compostable.

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Georgia Carpet-Maker Closes, Cutting 192 Jobs

October 8, 2010 4:41 am | News | Comments

ROYSTON, Ga. (AP) — Beaulieu of America says it's closing its carpet fiber plant in Royston next month, eliminating 192 jobs. Beaulieu, which is based in Dalton, plans to stop production Nov. 26 at the Royston plant, where spun yarn is manufactured. The plant ranks among Franklin County's 10 largest employers.

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Siemens Opens $50 Million Kan. Wind Turbine Plant

October 8, 2010 4:40 am | News | Comments

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson is getting in on the wind turbine business as Siemens Energy starts production at a new $50 million plant in the city. Plant Manager Claus Ungstrup says the facility already has enough orders to keep it busy through 2011. It makes 2.3-megawatt wind turbine nacelles, the housings that include the generator, transformer and gearbox.

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Transocean To Pay $4 Million To Brain-Damaged Worker

October 8, 2010 4:37 am | News | Comments

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A federal jury has ordered Transocean to pay more than $4 million in damages to an oilfield worker injured in an offshore rig accident. The judgment entered Tuesday capped a trial for the lawsuit that 32-year-old Dan Averette filed over the July 14, 2007, accident aboard the Amirante, a rig owned by Transocean Enterprise Inc.

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.

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