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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Make A More Flexible Robot

January 4, 2011 8:26 am | Product Releases | Comments

SAS Automation (Xenia, OH) has introduced the new Uni-Grip and Uni-Clamp Robotic Gripper Systems. The Uni-Grip is a universal system that allows for a precise gripper tool to be built with the added benefit of greater flexibility, such as the ability to use center-mountable components without disassembly or additional drop-in channel nuts.

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Auto Sales Surged In 2010, Bringing Hope For 2011

January 4, 2011 3:40 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — A surge in car and truck buying that began in October is expected to lift last year's U.S. auto sales above a dismal 2009. Customers gained confidence in the economy, loans were easier to get and deals got sweeter. Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other car companies will report 2010 and December sales throughout the day on Tuesday.

Factory Orders Rose In November After Slow October

January 4, 2011 3:36 am | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories are expected to strengthen in November outside of transportation in a further sign that manufacturers will be cranking up production in anticipation of greater spending by businesses and consumers in 2011. Economists at JPMorgan Chase are forecasting that factory orders will post a 0.

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Senator: Football Helmet Manufacturers Lying About Safety

January 4, 2011 3:34 am | by Howard Fendrich, AP Pro Football Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Senator is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate "misleading safety claims and deceptive practices" in the selling of new football helmets and reconditioning of used ones. In a letter dated Tuesday — a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday night — Sen.

Seven Insurers Sue Toyota Over Accelerator Fiasco

January 4, 2011 3:29 am | News | Comments

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota Motor Corp. in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. The insurers cite data that blames 725 crashes on the problem and fault the Japanese automaker for failing to equip its cars with an override system that would cause a car to idle if the brake and gas were deployed simultaneously.

Salmonella-Blocking Food Bill To Be Signed Today

January 4, 2011 3:28 am | by Darlene Superville and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — When salmonella-laced peanut products sickened hundreds during a recent scare, President Barack Obama said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe — and that included his daughter Sasha. "That's what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week," Obama said then.

Animal Fat Backs Up Into Basements Near Unilever Plant

January 4, 2011 3:24 am | News | Comments

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Hammond Sanitary District official says a greasy white substance backing up through basement drains into homes appears to be linked to operations at a Unilever soap factory. Unilever and Hammond city officials haven't determined the cause of the Friday backup but the district's pretreatment coordinator, Jeff Massey, said during a public meeting Monday night that sewage apparently backed up after animal fat and coconut oil from the plant solidified and clogged sewer lines.

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Automatic Tank Gauging Relieves Anxiety

January 3, 2011 7:47 am | Articles | Comments

To paraphrase an old public-service announcement: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know what the product levels are in the aboveground storage tanks at your bulk-storage facility?” For many bulk plant operators, the answer to this question would be a tentative (or wishful), “I think so.

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Reputation Protection: Avoiding Brand Implosion

January 3, 2011 7:44 am | by Andrew Gilman, CEO and President of CommCore Consulting Group | Articles | Comments

From Tiger Woods, to Toyota, to BP, to Wright County Egg, each crisis in 2010 seemed to top the other. Tylenol stands for best-in-class company values, decision making, brand management and recovery; while BP, Tiger, Wright County and Toyota represent the gravest risk of brand implosion, failure to anticipate calamities, and the media piling-on effect.

See What's Cooking

January 3, 2011 7:04 am | Product Releases | Comments

The No. 983 from The Grieve Corporation (Round Lake, IL) is an electrically-heated, 550°F bench oven. The oven has 3” insulated walls, a Type 304, 2B finish stainless steel interior, and a #4 brushed stainless steel exterior. Two 13” x 4” access slots are equipped with insulated covers on the rear wall of the oven, and the 8” x 10” double-pane Pyrex window can be used for viewing the oven chamber.

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Film Wrapping Goes 'Lean'

January 3, 2011 7:03 am | Product Releases | Comments

The automatic stretch wrappers equipped with the new metered film delivery systems and other LeanWrap innovations from Lantech (Louisville, KY) have been designated as the “L” Series of stretch wrappers. The new line includes the QL Automatic (turntable model), SL Automatic (cantilevered and straddle automatics), and RL Automatic (ring straddle automatics).

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Connectivity In All Sizes

January 3, 2011 7:02 am | Product Releases | Comments

As part of its expanding package of control connectivity products, Balluff (Florence, KY) has introduced a full line of I/O Hubs to their I/O-Link device offering. Because one size does not fit all, Balluff is offering a large range, from M8 to M12 with plastic or metal housing. The line is offered with or without diagnostics, thus giving a user’s application the same level of short circuit and overload diagnostics.

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A Tribute To Boilers

January 3, 2011 7:00 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fulton Companies (Pulaski, NY) has announced new products, including a signature boiler, the Tribute model (ICT). The boiler uses a pressure vessel design with high efficiency, and also has the capability to operate at sub-9 ppm NOx with an advanced boiler control system. The Tribute model also utilizes a fiber mesh burner, variable-speed fan, and integrated gas train, which provides low emissions combustion.

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Employee Engagement: More Than A Buzz Word

January 3, 2011 6:02 am | Articles | Comments

In today's hectic work environment, quick fixes are often favored over long-term solutions. Immediate improvements can be had when “band-aid” solutions are used to put out the fires, but these fixes rarely last. Short-term gain very often results in long-term pain. Management can no longer rely on old solutions because the problems we are facing in this fast-paced, competitive business environment are new.

Thinking Outside The Box; Literally

January 3, 2011 5:46 am | Articles | Comments

GM realizes “weeks to hours” reduction in line change and transmission build dynamics at Toledo Powertrain, resulting from Flexible Assembly Configuration System (FACS) and Siemens control/communication. OP 090/OP 100 in sequence at General Motors Toledo Powertrain plant.

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Water Filters Help You Go LEED

January 3, 2011 4:11 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

The self-cleaning water filters from Forsta Filters (Los Angeles, CA) can help reduce water use, improve energy efficiency, and are made entirely from sustainable materials. According to the company, implementing a Forsta water filter can help projects meet a variety of environmental and sustainability goals, such as LEED.

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Ovens For Clean Rooms

January 3, 2011 4:10 am | Product Releases | Comments

Carbolite (Hope Valley, UK) has developed a class 10,000 clean room oven solution in order to meet precise production requirements. A digital time temperature program controller manages the temperature of the oven and is capable of storing up to 20 programs, each with up to 16 segments. In addition, the oven employs forced air circulation that is carefully positioned to give optimum uniformity of the zones.

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Breakaway Cables Protect Technicians

January 3, 2011 4:09 am | Product Releases | Comments

IMI Sensors (Depew, NY) has announced the availability of breakaway safety cables designed to protect technicians and their equipment from being pulled into rotating machinery during route-based vibration monitoring. The cables quickly disconnect in the event that a sensor or analyzer cable becomes entangled when collecting data.

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Keep Predictive Maintenance On Track

January 3, 2011 4:08 am | Product Releases | Comments

The MaintenanceMaster whiteboard system from Magnatag (Macedon, NY) can help maintenance managers cut equipment downtime, track asset conditions, and eliminate confusion by visually scheduling and displaying a full year’s preventative maintenance activity. According to the company, users can use color-coded magnet symbols on the board to show a 52-week plan, and there is a visible item T-card for each row.

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China Manufacturing Eases Over More Regulation

January 3, 2011 3:57 am | News | Comments

HONG KONG (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased off slightly in the last month of the year, a survey said, reflecting tightening policies taken by authorities to keep inflation in check. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 53.

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