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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Q&A: The New Global Supply Chain

February 28, 2011 5:04 am | Articles | Comments

Q&A with Barry Jaruzelski, Partner, Booz & Company IMPO: How is the supply chain changing in 2011? Jaruzelski : It’s a bit of a good news/bad news scenario. Obviously, the good news is that we’ve turned the corner on the recession. Production is back up, which means there is more demand throughout the supply chain.

Operate More Efficiently With Clean Oil

February 28, 2011 4:53 am | Articles | Comments

Filtering the hot oil in your plant to remove contaminants can minimize unscheduled maintenance that could disrupt operations and interrupt reliable supplies of asphalt for road surfacing, aggregates and roofing materials production during your busy months. Top priorities for asphalt producers during seasonal downtime are preventive maintenance (PM) and upgrades to their plants to assure an uninterrupted supply of product from hot and warm mix plants during the busy road building season.

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Toyota: Our 'Crown Jewel' Is Source Code, Not Cars

February 28, 2011 3:59 am | by Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press | News | Comments

SANTA ANA, California (AP) — A federal judge overseeing lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. for sudden acceleration problems indicated Friday that he will allow the automaker to monitor plaintiffs' access to its proprietary source code. And he proposed a number of other ways to prevent leaks of what Toyota says is the "crown jewel" of its intellectual property.

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Auto Industry Can't Catch A Break As Gas Prices Rise

February 28, 2011 3:54 am | by Colleen Barry, Associated Press | News | Comments

GENEVA (AP) — The car industry, it seems, just can't get a break. Just when automakers thought it safe to roll out new models in the wake of the devastating economic crisis — 170 premiers are advertised for the Geneva Auto Show opening this week — confidence is shaken by a spike in oil prices due to civil unrest in Libya and other energy-producing nations.

Buffett: It's Time To Be Optimistic About Our Future

February 28, 2011 3:50 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett wants Americans to be optimistic about the country's future but wary about borrowing money and the games public companies play with profit numbers they report. Buffett said in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders Saturday that he still believes America's best days are ahead.

Boeing's Helena Workers Get Two-Decade Job Security

February 28, 2011 3:41 am | News | Comments

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Workers at a plant in Helena recently acquired by Boeing will likely have steady work for another two decades following the Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion defense contract to the company, a Boeing spokesman said. The Helena facility makes the main landing gear beams for 767 widebody jetliners, which the Air Force intends to use for its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

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Mazda Forced To Pay Family For Worker Suicide

February 28, 2011 3:39 am | by Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Monday ordered automaker Mazda to pay 63 million yen ($770,000) in damages to the parents of an employee who was ruled to have committed suicide over depression from being overworked. Japan, a workaholic nation where people often take pride in suffering in silence, has been plagued with deaths of overworked people, some resorting to suicide and others dying from exhaustion.

Bi-Partisan Effort Battles Business To Overhaul Patents

February 28, 2011 3:34 am | by Jim Abrams, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The patent system hasn't changed much since 1952 when Sony was coming out with its first pocket-size transistor radio, and bar codes and Mr. Potato Head were among the inventions patented. Now, after years of trying, Congress may be about to do something about that. The Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, which would significantly overhaul a 1952 law and, supporters say, bring the patent system in line with 21st century technology of biogenetics and artificial intelligence.

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Miniscule Proximity Sensors

February 25, 2011 9:06 am | Product Releases | Comments

AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) has extended its offering of industrial sensors to include the PEW series of stainless steel DC proximity sensors. The sensors are flush-mountable and feature a 2mm sensing range. They are available with either M8 or M12 quick disconnects, and have LED status indicators, which are visible and wide angles.

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Push Around 150,000 Pounds

February 25, 2011 9:06 am | Product Releases | Comments

NuStar, Inc. (Shakopee, MN) has developed the new Super Power Pusher, which is a pedestrian-operated, battery-powered pusher with a new handle. It can push, pull, and maneuver almost any heavy industrial load, and can use a range of attachments for handling rolling loads up to 150,000 pounds.

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Smarter Solids Pumping

February 25, 2011 9:05 am | Product Releases | Comments

Moyno 500 Grinder Pumps from Moyno, Inc. (Springfield, OH) use compact, lightweight designs that combine a solids reduction unit with a progressing cavity pump. According to the company, they are ideal for environmental clean-up and industrial wastes. The replaceable carbide tips on the cast iron cutter disc rotate against a stationary tool-steel cutter ring.

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Enclosures Ready For Extreme Environments

February 25, 2011 9:04 am | Product Releases | Comments

The TG Series enclosure products from Altech (Flemington, NJ) provide protection for electrical, electronic control, and measuring equipment in extremely harsh industrial environments. The small-to-medium enclosures are available in 16 sizes (84x82x55mm to 302x232x110mm), and are rated to protection class IP67 (NEMA 4X) against dust and ingress of water during short-term submersion.

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Survey: Business Still Volatile, But Improving

February 25, 2011 6:11 am | News | Comments

Sixty-four percent of finance executives expect the overall economy in 2011 to fare better than in 2010 — an optimistic outlook reflected by reports of improving economic conditions, reduced fears of a “double-dip” recovery and increased expectations for revenue growth. These results are part of the findings of a quarterly poll of finance executives conducted in December 2010 by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Innovation Network.

Going Visual

February 25, 2011 5:41 am | by Chris Ortiz, President and Founder, Kaizen Assembly and the LEAN Marketplace | Articles | Comments

As companies decide on which path to take with their lean journeys, they often get stuck when just getting started. There are numerous opinions out there coming from lean practitioners like myself, trainers, educators, and lean organizations. Lean is a business strategy. Metrics weigh heavy as one of the reasons to implement various lean tools, so does customer satisfaction, and culture change.

Clinton: Ethanol Fuel Could Lead To Food Riots Worldwide

February 25, 2011 3:41 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — With global food prices rising and more corn being diverted to the production of ethanol fuel, Bill Clinton is warning of food riots in poor nations. The former president told farmers and Agriculture Department employees on Thursday that while producing biofuels is important for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, farmers should also look beyond domestic production and consider the needs of developing countries.

Boeing Wins $35 Billion Tanker Contract

February 25, 2011 3:28 am | by George Tibbits, Associated Press | News | Comments

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. states of Washington and Kansas are celebrating a decision to award Boeing Co., a $35 billion contract to build nearly 200 airborne refueling tankers, one of the biggest defense contracts ever that will add tens of thousands of jobs to the struggling economy and bolster regional air industries for a generation.

Obama: Business Leaders Must Back The Middle Class

February 25, 2011 3:26 am | by Julie Pace, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — As corporate profits rise and Wall Street earnings soar, President Barack Obama is pressing American business leaders to create more jobs and find ways for struggling middle-class families to share in the nation's economic recovery. Obama says the private sector has to do its part to ensure that "we're not simply creating an economy in which one segment of it is doing very well, but the rest of the folks are out there treading water.

Volvo To Invest $11-12 Billion In Global Expansion

February 25, 2011 3:22 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — Volvo Cars said Friday it will invest $10-$11 billion worldwide over the next five years in an ambitious expansion following its acquisition by a Chinese automaker. CEO Stefan Jacoby's announcement came as Volvo unveiled plans to target fast-growing China for stronger sales.

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Miss. Company Pleads Guilty To Hiring 600 Illegal Workers

February 25, 2011 3:17 am | by Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press | News | Comments

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — One of Mississippi's most successful private companies pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to violate immigration laws related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants, federal authorities said. Immigration agents detained more than 600 illegal immigrants at Howard Industries' electrical transformerplant in Laurel during a massive raid on Aug.

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Toyota Recalls Another 2.17 Million Vehicles In U.S.

February 25, 2011 3:14 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States on Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker.

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