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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Trade Deficit Rises To 15-Month High

May 12, 2010 4:27 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit rose to a 15-month high as rising oil prices pushed crude oil imports to the highest level since the fall of 2008, offsetting another strong gain in exports. The larger deficit is evidence of a rebounding U.S. economy. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit rose 2.

Remington Arms Plans Expansion, 100 New Jobs

May 12, 2010 4:22 am | News | Comments

ILION, N.Y. (AP) — About 100 new jobs are expected within the next year at a Mohawk Valley firearms manufacturing plant scheduled for a nearly $6 million expansion project. State and Herkimer County officials announced the new jobs and expansion Tuesday at the Remington Arms Co. plant in Ilion (IHL'-ee-uhn), 55 miles east of Syracuse.

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Foxconn Defends Labor Practices After Eigth Suicide

May 12, 2010 4:21 am | News | Comments

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's Foxconn Technology, a contract maker of the iPhone and other consumer electronics, insisted Wednesday its treatment of workers is world class after a female employee became the company's eighth Chinese worker to commit suicide this year. "We regret to see the recurrence of such incidents," Foxconn said in statement that came a day after a 24-year-old Foxconn factory worker surnamed Chu killed herself by jumping from her rented apartment in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

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GM Teams Up To Helm Hawaii's Hydrogen Car Project

May 12, 2010 4:20 am | News | Comments

HONOLULU (AP) — The Gas Co. and General Motors Co. have teamed up on a pilot project to test hydrogen refueling technology for fuel cell vehicles in Hawaii. The companies said Tuesday that the project will take advantage of The Gas Co.'s 1,000 miles of pipeline on Oahu and its ability to produce hydrogen at its plant at Campbell Industrial Park, which makes synthetic natural gas from byproducts of imported petroleum.

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The ERP Umbrella

May 11, 2010 9:33 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

In any modern plant, communication is key. But just what level does your facility really need and, perhaps more importantly, what can you manage? ERP (enterprise resource planning) was once considered a software solution for large manufacturers. Designed to serve as a tool to integrate all business facets into a real-time communication platform—from operations and materials considerations, all the way to accounting and human resources elements—ERP is widely used as a customized solution, requiring manufacturers to build a system from the ground up, rather than cannibalizing current software platforms.

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Cable Carrier Addresses Repetitive Motion Issues

May 11, 2010 9:24 am | Articles | Comments

Any application involving moving machinery and constant repetitive motion will benefit from a cable carrier system.  In recent years, plastic cable carriers have emerged as an alternative to metal and steel cable carriers and have replaced these types of systems on most kinds of automated machinery.

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Keep Your Documents Safe

May 11, 2010 8:35 am | Product Releases | Comments

RNR Plastics, Inc. (Raynham, MA) has developed a clear vinyl pouch that allows technicians, mechanics, and maintenance personnel to keep important documents nearby while protecting them from oil spills or other contaminants. The Critical Documents pouch is made from clear PVC and is ideal for instructions, schematics, production schedules, maintenance logs, or other documents that need to be used close to the work.

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Protect Fingers With Light

May 11, 2010 8:35 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

The PSENopt safety light curtains from Pilz Automation Safety (Canton, MI) can be used for finger, and body protection by safeguarding danger zones whenever a production process requires active yet safe access. According to the company, the PSENopt barriers comply with stringent industry standards.

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All The Bubble Wrap You Want

May 11, 2010 8:34 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

The NewAir I.B. Express system from Sealed Air (Saddle Brook, NJ) is the newest inflatable cushioning system that quickly creates Barrier Bubble material for cushioning, or blocking and bracing applications. The I.B. Express allows operators to make cushions with widths of 12” and 24”, plus the availability of options for film strength.

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From The Kitchen To The Plant Floor

May 11, 2010 8:34 am | Product Releases | Comments

Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP, Winchester, VA) introduces a new line of heavy-duty carts and trucks, which consists of 55 products made out of Rubbermaid’s Duramold structural resin and metal composite structure. According to RCP, the Duramold compound has been tested to hold and transport up to 2,500 pounds of weigh load capacity.

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Real-Time Wireless Halves Nagging Inspections

May 11, 2010 6:29 am | Articles | Comments

Apprion and the Enterprise Mobility Solutions business of Motorola, Inc. recently announced they have completed work at Huntsman Corporation’s facility in Port Neches, TX on one of the largest and most ambitious industrial wireless application networks to date. Huntsman Corporation undertook an aggressive program to eliminate injuries, product defects, and environmental releases at their Port Neches facility.

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Obtaining Better Carrier Rates With Market Intelligence

May 11, 2010 6:25 am | by Niko Michas, President & CEO, BridgeNet Solutions, Inc. | Articles | Comments

If you’re a manufacturer, you know how gather materials and put them together for the purpose of creating a product that is of value to you as well as your customers. You know how to design products according to safety requirements and government regulations, and you know where you can and can’t cut costs before and during production.

Updates To PPE Requirements In NFPA 70E

May 11, 2010 5:59 am | by Byron Jordan, Senior Field Engineer, Ferraz Shawmut | Articles | Comments

Recent updates to the NFPA 70E offer increased safety and protection for workers working on energized electrical conductors or circuit parts. One of the ways the new edition of the NFPA 70E seeks to improve safety is through its expanded requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

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Just What Is Innovation?

May 11, 2010 5:51 am | by Mike Collins | Articles | Comments

Innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas and products— it's also about changes that lead to growth and differentiation. Before you address new products, services, technologies, and processes, you need a foundation that leads to innovation. Here are 6 factors that will help foster an organization of innovation: 1.

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Tuning The Forgotten Loop

May 11, 2010 5:41 am | by Stephen E. Rubin, President & CEO, Longwatch, Inc. | Articles | Comments

We can tune PID controllers, but what about tuning the operator? The purpose of tuning loops is to reduce errors and thus provide more efficient operation that returns quickly to steady-state efficiency after upsets, errors, or changes in load. State-of-the-art manufacturers in process and discrete industries have invested in advanced control software, manufacturing execution software, and modeling software to “tune” everything from control loops to supply chains, thus driving higher quality and productivity.

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U.S. Automakers Paying On Par With Foreign Rivals For Labor

May 11, 2010 4:46 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT — After years of paying their U.S. manufacturing workers more than their foreign rivals, Detroit's automakers are now paying the same amount as foreign companies and could even achieve a labor cost advantage in the next few years, an economist with the Center for Automotive Research said Monday.

LaHood Wants High-Speed Rail—If It's Manufactured In U.S.

May 11, 2010 4:37 am | by Jay Alabaster, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

TSURU, Japan (AP) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took a ride Tuesday on the fastest passenger train in the world, a Japanese maglev, as part of Tokyo's sales pitch for billions of dollars in high-speed train contracts from the U.S. Washington is attempting to drive development of a new train network that will eventually span the country, but the U.

Toshiba Puts $14 Billion Bet On Chips, Nuclear Power

May 11, 2010 4:26 am | by Tomoka A. Hosaka, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toshiba Corp. unveiled an ambitious three-year agenda Tuesday, aiming to quadruple profits and spend $14 billion to amplify its strengths in semiconductors and nuclear power. The Japanese conglomerate's business right now is vast, spanning household appliances and computers to health care equipment and industrial machines.

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Textron To Build 423 Armored Cars For U.S. Army

May 11, 2010 4:23 am | News | Comments

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Textron Marine & Land Systems has agreed to build another 423 armored security vehicles for the U.S. Army. The Textron Inc. unit says the value of the contract is $461 million. The vehicles will be built at Textron's plant in New Orleans. The contract includes an option to buy up to 272 more vehicles at a price of up to $239 million.

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Ex-Auto Czar: U.S. Could Get Back $40 Billion Of GM Bailout

May 11, 2010 4:22 am | by Tim Martin and Tom Krisher, Associated Press Writers | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government could get back $40 billion of its $50 billion investment in General Motors Co., and the difference will have been well spent because it prevented mass job losses and at least a regional depression in the Midwest, the former head of the autos task force said Monday.

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