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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

A 'Star Wars' Future Is Here

July 21, 2010 10:45 am | Articles | Comments

The future of equally dangerous and awesome technology is getting ever closer. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy and Raytheon announced they had successfully used a high-powered, solid state laser to shoot down multiple drones over the coast of California. Once the technology is perfected, the defense contractor hopes to deliver a laser system that can shoot down incoming missiles, UAVs, or even aircraft.

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Need A Beer?

July 21, 2010 7:22 am | Articles | Comments

You're working hard at your desk, but you feel like a nice, cold refreshment is exactly what you need to make it through the grind. Typically, you need to break your concentration and get up in order to procure said refreshment. Not anymore, thanks to some bright minds at Willow Garage. 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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Digging Through A Copier's Guts

July 21, 2010 6:51 am | Articles | Comments

Most of us probably use copiers on a pretty regular basis, but how many of us actually know how they work? Turns out the science is fairly simple, but the engineering certainly isn't. The most fundamental principles involved are electrostatics (materials sticking together due to static electricity) and photoconductivity (light causing current to flow).

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In Tokyo, Ads Watch You

July 21, 2010 5:31 am | Articles | Comments

We're all used to watching ads, but if one Tokyo-based company has its way, the ads will be watching us right back. Facial recognition technology allows billboards to track faces, estimate ages, and gauge reactions to advertised products. The billboards are even able to personalize an advertisement based on your demographic, with the hope of greater interaction between consumer and marketer.

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Unemployment Checks Reduce 'Double-Dip' Recessions?

July 21, 2010 5:07 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — For jobless Americans struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes, the restoration of unemployment benefits could keep their crisis from getting worse. The same might be said of the broader economy. The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday to keep providing unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks to more than 5 million long-term unemployed.

Coca-Cola Income Rises 16 Percent, Volumes Up

July 21, 2010 4:41 am | by Emily Fredrix, AP Retail Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola Co.'s second-quarter net income climbed 16 percent as the world's largest drink maker sold more soft drinks and juices in every part of the world except Europe. The Atlanta-based maker of Coke and Sprite left its 2010 guidance unchanged Wednesday but said it remains cautious about meeting its targets.

Gerber To Upgrade Ark. Facility, Hire 50 Workers

July 21, 2010 4:40 am | by Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Gerber baby food plant in Fort Smith will get a $90 million upgrade and hire 50 more workers to operate a new infant cereal line, parent company Nestle Nutrition North America announced Tuesday. The plant already employs 650 people and plays an important role in the economy of the city of 84,000.

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Devastating Fire At Go-Kart Manufacturer Caused By Arson

July 21, 2010 4:38 am | News | Comments

BRUNDIDGE, Ala. (AP) — The state fire marshal's office says a fire at a go-kart manufacturing plant in Pike County last week was caused by arson. Steve Holmes, a spokesman for the fire marshal's office, said Tuesday inviestigators have discovered the origin and cause of the blaze at the Carter Brothers manufacturing plant, located off U.

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Fiat Posts Profit, Agrees To Split Into Two

July 21, 2010 4:37 am | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

MILAN (AP) — The Italian automaker Fiat, which controls Chrysler, on Wednesday reported a return to second-quarter profits on improved sales of agriculture equipment and trucks, and said it may raise its 2010 forecasts. Fiat also said its board approved the plan to separate its industrial vehicle and auto businesses into two distinct companies in order to "give birth" to a global automotive company that will incorporate Chrysler LCC.

Plane Makers Rack Up $25 Billion In Orders

July 21, 2010 4:36 am | by Emma Vandore and Jane Wardell, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

FARNBOROUGH, England (AP) — Plane makers notched up more orders on the third day of the Farnborough International Airshow on Wednesday — bringing the tally past $25 billion — as a resurgence in commercial aviation offset the gloom from governments' sharp cuts to defense programs.

All The Right Pieces

July 20, 2010 10:59 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

Modular production systems have gone past just Lego-like pieces of equipment or construction plans, and into the very fabric of many processing plant’s design for growth. Modular approaches to new equipment and processing plant construction is not a new concept. However, the enhancements in many areas, along with their increased frequency of use, have driven these concepts to the top of many facilities’ plans for increasing production, while cutting costs and improving overall production efficiencies.

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World Cup Oil Spill Awards

July 20, 2010 8:59 am | by by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, Chem.Info | Blogs | Comments

FIFA’s quadrennial World Cup soccer tournament came to a close a few weeks ago with Spain beating the Netherlands 1–0 in a yawn-fest of a final. The only goal came near the end of extra time and I celebrated not because I think Spain deserved it (I did), but because it meant that the world champion would not be decided by a penalty shootout — the soccer equivalent of flipping a coin.

ESD-Protective Labels

July 20, 2010 7:06 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Desco (Chino, CA) is introducing ESD Susceptibility Labels (2” x 2”) in a new Integrated Dispenser, which can be used to identify assemblies and devices that have sensitivity to ESD events. They are ideal for closing shielding bags and seal ESD-protective packaging, according to the company.

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Compressed Air At All Angles

July 20, 2010 7:05 am | Product Releases | Comments

The ½” Super Air Wipe from EXAIR (Cincinnati, OH) produces a 360° airstream that can blow off, dry, clean, or cool the material passing through it. A split design can be clamped around continuously-moving material such as wire, cable, pipe, hose, and extruded shapes. The Super Air Wipe uses a small amount of compressed air through a thin slotted nozzle.

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Chemical Control, Analytics

July 20, 2010 7:04 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Scaletron Industries, Ltd. (Plumsteadville, PA) has announced the Scaletron Model 1020 5-Digital Controller, which is designed to provide monitoring of water treatment chemicals when used in conjunction with the company's line of drum, tank, platform, and spill containment scales. The controller is available in one or two channels, each with 4-20mA standard, and can be configured to simultaneously monitor levels in two separate chemical containers independently.

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Workholding In Your Jaws

July 20, 2010 7:04 am | Product Releases | Comments

Northfield Precision Instrument Corporation (Island Park, NY) has introduced their latest custom workholding chuck, the Model 450L. The company has mounted aluminum pie jaws, with custom flex inserts bolted to the jaws, to the top of a standard 450 air chuck. The flexing inserts compensate for any out of roundness in the work piece, according to the company.

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LED Obstruction Lighting Saves Energy, Reduces Maintenance

July 20, 2010 5:49 am | Articles | Comments

PPL Generation LLC works diligently to reduce its environmental impact and encourage the responsible use of energy through innovative technology, conservation initiatives, and educational programs both inside its facilities and in the surrounding communities. Like many Americans, the company recently discovered that changing out a few light bulbs to install Dialight’s highly efficient LED-based obstruction lighting can make a big difference in reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs, while providing more reliable safety lighting to meet FAA requirements.

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FDA Scrutinizes Another J & J Manufacturing Facility

July 20, 2010 5:07 am | News | Comments

by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A second Johnson & Johnson medicine factory is under scrutiny from federal regulators, while the company struggles to deal with bad publicity and repeated recalls at another factory. The healthcare giant in April shut down a plant in Fort Washington, a Philadelphia suburb, that's now linked to eight recalls of Tylenol and other nonprescription drugs for children and adults.

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Toyota Subpoenaed By Grand Jury Over Steering Rods

July 20, 2010 4:59 am | by Shino Yuasa, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in New York to submit documents related to problems with rods that connect a vehicle's steering system to its front wheels. The world's largest automaker, which is trying to repair a reputation damaged by recalls of millions of cars worldwide since October, said the federal grand jury issued the subpoena to its U.

Not In My Backyard, Or With My Money

July 20, 2010 4:50 am | by Jim Lane, Editor and Publisher, Biofuels Digest | Articles | Comments

A recent U.S. poll, taken in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, revealed that 58 percent of Americans believe that U.S. energy policy needs to “fundamentally” change, but 51 percent say that they would oppose a tax to pay for the development of renewable energy. That’s a remarkable statistic that reminds us that when it comes to the failure to fix energy policy, in the immortal words of the cartoon world’s Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.

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