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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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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Toyota Nets $1.2 Billion Profit In First Quarter

May 11, 2010 4:19 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota cruised back to profit in the latest quarter as the world's top carmaker cut costs and hitched a ride on the global auto sales recovery while fighting to salvage its reputation for quality. But the automaker's top executive and analysts alike said Toyota is still far from a full recovery while another potential blow to its image looms after U.

Building The Curve

May 10, 2010 11:24 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

An example of EAC's lean production cells. AME Excellence Award winner Automation Engineering Corp. spent the last few decades learning how to grow through a fearless combination of project management, ISO, Six Sigma and good, old-fashioned company culture changes.

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Q&A with Mike Pulick and Deb Oler, Grainger U.S.

May 10, 2010 10:47 am | by Michael A. Pulick Deb Oler | Articles | Comments

W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2009 sales of $6.2 billion, is North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products with an expanding presence in Asia and Latin America. Michael A. Pulick was named President, Grainger U.

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Long-Term Peristaltic Pumps

May 10, 2010 7:29 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Airtec Products Corp. (Fall River, MA) now offers the Aspen Pumps’ Purple Series of peristaltic condensate pump kits for minisplit air conditioners. These pumps are ideal in applications where excess dirt or oil create blockages in conventional minisplit condensate pumps.

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Curtains Save Your Climate

May 10, 2010 7:27 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Climate Curtains from Goff’s Enterprises, Inc. (Pewaukee, WI) are designed to reduce temperature loss and separate space with double-paneled vinyl curtain walls lined with Thinsulate from 3M. These curtains are ideal in applications involving freezer and cooler areas, loading docks, food processing lines, and warehouse separation, according to the company.

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A Voice-Guided Warehouse

May 10, 2010 7:26 am | Product Releases | Comments

Voxware (Hamilton, NJ) has developed Voxware 3, a voice-recognition software suite for manufacturing facilities and warehouses. The Adaptive Voice Framework is customizable and highly flexible, according to the company, allowing customers to alter their voice control as their manufacturing assets grow from one warehouse to three, for example.

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Blow Guns Made Easier

May 10, 2010 7:25 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Coilhose Pneumatics (East Brunswick, NJ) introduces an extended trigger system for its high-force blow gun, the Coilhose Cannon. The metal handle retrofit kit enables the user to more easily operate the gun while wearing protective gloves with a long lever-style mechanism.

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Oil Rig Cutoff Valves Unreliable Under Weak Regulation

May 10, 2010 5:01 am | by Jeff Donn and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Writers | News | Comments

HOUSTON (AP) — Cutoff valves like the one that failed to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster have repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since federal regulators weakened testing requirements, according to an Associated Press investigation. These steel monsters known as blowout preventers or BOPs — sometimes as big as a double-decker bus and weighing up to 640,000 pounds — guard the mouth of wells.

Wisconsin Tops Nationwide Cheese Production

May 10, 2010 4:52 am | News | Comments

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal statistics show that Wisconsin is still the nation's big cheese. Wisconsin produced 2.65 billion pounds of cheese last year. That accounted for a nation-best 26 percent of the U.S. cheese output in 2009. Wisconsin also produced 477 million pounds of specialty cheese last year.

Apple Ups Our Fruit Intake... Again

May 10, 2010 4:48 am | by by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention last week that Apple had reached the distinguished honor of selling its one millionth iPad in just 28 days of the product’s market emergence. Not just an amazing figure for anyone, this feat is even outstanding for Apple—the teacher’s pet of technology.

Is Apple Smarter Than I Am?

May 10, 2010 4:48 am | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | News | Comments

It came to my attention last week that Apple had reached the distinguished honor of selling its one millionth iPad in just 28 days of the product’s market emergence. Not just an amazing figure for anyone, this feat is even outstanding for Apple—the teacher’s pet of technology.

Iowa Meatpacker Paid Disabled Workers 41 Cents Per Hour

May 10, 2010 4:40 am | News | Comments

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal report castigated a Texas company for abusing and underpaying several mentally disabled men who were housed in a ramshackle building while working at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Henry's Turkey Service underpaid the men at least $1 million over three years, verbally and physically abused them, and committed several major violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Des Moines Register reported Friday.

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Chinese Auto Sales Dip From March, Still Show Big Growth

May 10, 2010 4:34 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — The surge in China's auto sales has begun to falter with growth in passenger car sales for April easing to just over half the previous month's increase. There were 1.11 million passenger cars sold in April, up 34 percent from a year earlier, the state-affiliated China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Monday.

Automakers Unleash Electric Experiments On Oregon

May 10, 2010 4:26 am | by Richard Read | News | Comments

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Automakers are racing to unleash electric vehicles in Oregon, one of the nation's first significant test markets for plug-in cars. The Nissan Leaf, a four-door hatchback with 100-mile range, leads the pack of zero-emission sedans, with a suggested retail price of $23,780 after tax credits.

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