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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China Scares, Alienates Foreign Companies

March 24, 2010 11:10 am | Articles | Comments

Companies doing business in China are experiencing a growing uneasiness, including feeling as though they are unwelcome among local brands. A recent survey found that 38 percent of companies are concerned about their Chinese-based business, a 12-point increase since December of last year, a mere three months ago.

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Running Cars On Old Beer

March 24, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

The E-Fuel MicroFueler consists of a simple idea: bring ethanol production to the residential level. The MicroFueler is a 250-gallon tank, with an attached fuel pump just like the ones you would find at the local Shell station, which converts organic feedstock into pure ethanol. Chances are you have some old, skunky beer or a bottle of red wine that’s aged a little past its prime.

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Cover Your Bases When Combating Combustible Dust

March 24, 2010 10:31 am | by Jon A. Barrett, Business Development Specialist, Interior Maintenance Company, Inc. and Paul R. Miller, General Manager, Nilfisk CFM | Articles | Comments

Combustible dust is fine particulate generated from products such as wood, metals, grains, chemicals, plastics, paper, and more. Manufacturers often pulverize, mill, grind, crush, macerate, and cut this bulk product, which in turn generates dust that settles on equipment and facility structure surfaces.

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A SCHOTT In The Arm

March 24, 2010 10:13 am | by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Schott built its pharmaceutical packaging facility with twice the footprint necessary for existing operations. When advances in biotechnology created a demand for syringes, the company had room to install a state-of-the-art production line. Extra space is a luxury not afforded by most plants.

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Are You Overlooking A Prime Source Of Cost Reductions?

March 24, 2010 10:06 am | by Bob Zak, President, Powerit Solutions | Articles | Comments

With the economy still weak and competitive pressures continuing to rise, reducing expenses is imperative for industrial businesses. Yet many underestimate or neglect a key source of savings: the electricity bill. That’s because we have a tendency to see energy as a largely uncontrollable cost—we need the energy we need when we need it, and often are dealing with a monopoly provider.

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Smucker Cutting 700 Jobs, Closing Four Plants

March 24, 2010 8:50 am | News | Comments

ORRVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The J.M. Smucker Co. is closing four plants and cutting 700 jobs, about 15 percent of its workforce, the food maker said Wednesday. The company, which makes Folgers Coffee, Smucker's jams and other products, said it is closing its fruit-spread plants in Memphis, Tenn.

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Purchase Power

March 24, 2010 6:15 am | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

If you took a stroll through the aisles of Columbia Tech, the turnkey contract manufacturing division of Coghlin Companies, Inc. in Worcester, MA, you’d stumble across a bevy of items in various stages of production: one might be a subsystem for an Ion implanter, another a cellulite reduction tool, and steps away, an explosion sniffing device used for security and detection.

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Diversification As A Primary Strategy

March 24, 2010 6:04 am | by Mike Collins | Articles | Comments

A more hopeful scenario comes courtesy of SRC Holdings in Springfield, MO. When the company first started (following the recession of 1983), it was doing engine remanufacturing and had taken on $8.9 million of debt. “When we were starting out in the 1980s, more than 75 percent of our labor hours were in the truck market,” says CEO Jack Slack.

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Hazardous Chemical Control Is Turning Green

March 24, 2010 5:57 am | by Art Stevens for Justrite Mfg. | Articles | Comments

A recent Google search revealed 290 million hits on “economy,” compared to 405 million on “environment.” Even a cursory review of the annual reports of publicly traded companies reveals goal after goal related to the environment. Why? Not only do both federal and state legislation incentivize these efforts, but also regulatory statements mandate compliance.

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Tube Bending Cell Changes Production Of Heat Exchanger Elements

March 24, 2010 5:46 am | Articles | Comments

RathGibson is a leading provider of precision engineered stainless steel, nickel, and titanium welded, welded and drawn, and seamless straight lengths, coil, and U-bend tubing to a wide variety of markets such as chemical, petrochemical, power generation, oil and gas, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology, and general commercial.

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Australia, China Sign Agreement With Rio Tinto Case In Limbo

March 24, 2010 4:50 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — Australia and China signed a multibillion dollar energy deal Wednesday, pushing ahead with business as the trial of four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto ended in Shanghai with a verdict still to be announced. The latest deal suggests that Australia and China's commercial ties have been largely unaffected by tensions over the detention and trial of Australian citizen Stern Hu — who was head of Rio Tinto's iron ore business in China — and three Chinese co-workers on charges of taking bribes and stealing business secrets.

Collaborative Innovation: How To Partner With Retailers

March 24, 2010 4:46 am | by George Young, Founding Partner, Kalypso | Articles | Comments

At first glance, today’s retailers and food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers appear to be in a fierce battle of the brands. Retailers facing mounting pressures to differentiate continue to successfully expand and launch private brands in the marketplace. Meanwhile, F&B manufacturers are trying to protect their brand value and win back market share.

Daimler To Pay $185 Million To Settle Bribery Investigations

March 24, 2010 4:45 am | by Pete Yost, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Car manufacturer Daimler AG will pay $185 million to settle criminal and civil investigations in which the company is accused of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to officials of at least 22 foreign governments over the course of a decade, two people familiar with the deal said Tuesday.

NYC Crane Inspector Took Bribes, Faked Inspections

March 24, 2010 4:38 am | by Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — The city's former chief crane inspector admitted taking more than $10,000 in payoffs to fake inspection and crane operator licensing exam results, selling out a 26-year career bit by bit over nearly a decade. James Delayo showed no emotion Tuesday as he pleaded guilty to receiving bribes and read a short statement in court acknowledging his crimes in a case that helped raise questions about the city's oversight of construction and spurred changes designed to keep a tighter rein on cranes.

Fiat Puts 5,000 Italians Out Of Work

March 24, 2010 4:27 am | News | Comments

ROME (AP) — Fiat will cut 5,000 jobs in Italy, slash the number of car models and increase production as part of its new strategic plan, a newspaper reported Wednesday. La Repubblica said the cuts would affect about 15 percent of the 30,000 assembly line workers at Fiat. They would include between 2,000 and 2,500 workers at the historic Mirafiori plant in Turin and some 1,500 employee at the Termini Imerese plant in Sicily, which will stop auto production next year.

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BAE Systems Cutting 200 Jobs At Tenn. Plant

March 24, 2010 4:21 am | News | Comments

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — Body armor manufacturer BAE Systems is laying off about 200 employees at its East Tennessee plant because of a sluggish economy and the failure to win an anticipated contract. WBIR reported that the layoffs will leave about 120 employees on the job. The company cut 74 jobs at theplant in February.

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GM Creates 'Envy' With New Electric Concept Car

March 24, 2010 4:20 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — It's not quite as foldable as the space vehicle that cartoon figure George Jetson pops into his briefcase as he bops into the office. But the EN-V concept car, GM's "automobile solution" for the future, just might fit into an apartment foyer. General Motors and its Chinese partner SAIC will showcase the "Electric Networked-Vehicle" launched Wednesday in their joint pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, which opens May 1 and runs for six months.

Know Your Lifting Limits

March 23, 2010 12:29 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Keytroller’s (Tampa, FL) Weightroller 100 and 100+ are hydraulic scales accurate to within 2 percent of the lifting capacity of the machine. They now provide a forklift operator with a visual (flash) and audible (beep) at the approach of unsafe overload conditions.

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Lamination Made Safer, Easier

March 23, 2010 12:28 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Ttarp Industries, Inc. (Buffalo, NY) offers its 60-inch heat laminating system, which is designed to laminate, slit, and rewind heat-activated or cold-bonded adhesive products. The laminators process sheet or roll goods, including rubber, plastic, foam, and others. Other features include: Two sets of larger (5” diameter) silicone pinch rollers to improve bonding on thin materials.

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Cranes Tell You Where It Hurts

March 23, 2010 12:28 pm | Product Releases | Comments

The SMARTON from Konecranes (Springfield, OH) is an overhead crane designed to minimize total lifecycle costs and maximize productivity, along with being rugged and flexible in challenging industrial environments. The SMARTON can lift loads ranging from 30 tons to more than 500 tons.

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