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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

GM Robots Aim For Space

March 10, 2010 11:16 am | Articles | Comments

Continuing their long history of collaboration, NASA and GM partner up once more to design and build the R2, an industrial robot with human-like movements and dexterity. For GM, these robots are great at automating repetitive, dull, or ergonomically-challenging tasks. Whether it’s in manufacturing plants or in space, this new generation of robotics will help free workers up from repetitive manual labor and allow them to do things only humans can do: think.

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Is Time Travel Possible?

March 10, 2010 11:13 am | Articles | Comments

TIME ’s resident science comedian Brian Malow asks a simple question: Is time travel really possible? According to Hollywood, it’s already happened, but if you ask world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, the answer is no. A few interesting paradoxes keep the nay-sayers with plenty of evidence, namely that if time travel were possible, we would already have seen travelers from the future.

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From Racing To Hybrids

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

To the tune of some—ahem—sexy music, CNN's Jim Boulden takes a look into last week’s Geneva Auto Show, where the biggest automakers in the world unveiled their newest wheels. Between Spyker’s attention to detail, Morgan’s oh-so-British roadsters, and a Ferrari hybrid, this show has something for just about anyone.

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Dribbling, Catching, Chopstick-Loving Robots

March 10, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

The Ishikawa Komuro Lab in Japan is developing some robotic “hand” technology that far outpaces its human counterparts. Using high-speed actuators with harmonic drive gears, the hand can open and close in 1/10 of a second. In addition, tactile sensors inside the fingers allow the robotic hand to grasp and handle almost any object with a grace normally reserved for humans.

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Reid Supply Adds Dickies Workwear Online

March 10, 2010 6:47 am | News | Comments

Muskegon, MI (PRWEB) — Reid Supply Company, a Michigan-based, premier global distributor of industrial supplies, added the Dickies family clothing line as well as more safety products to its online offerings at  ReidSupply.com . “We have no doubt that many of our customers will appreciate the extra value that the  Dickies workwear  line offers the entire family.

When Words Collide

March 10, 2010 4:26 am | by Kim H. Pries and Jon M. Quigley PMP, Value Transformation, LLC | Articles | Comments

This is what many organizations espouse every day. However, these words often don’t match the actions of an organization toward its employees. If you consider a person as a consumable item, then perhaps this perspective is valid. 

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China Tells U.S. To 'Do More' On Climate Change

March 10, 2010 4:13 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China told the United States on Wednesday to make stronger commitments on climate change and provide environmental expertise and financing to developing nations. At the same time, China said its own efforts to reduce energy intensity have been hampered by its economic recovery in the latter part of last year, which brought growth in heavy energy-consuming industries.

Meatpacking Inspector Cuts Hurting Small Businesses

March 10, 2010 4:09 am | by Ken Kusmer, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's plan to lay off some meat inspectors to save money and reduce the time inspectors spend with small, independent processors has the industry and farmers fearing it could hurt what has been a growing industry. It's not clear how many of the state's 52 inspectors will be let go, but meatpackers say any layoffs will prevent them from growing to meet demand for locally raised meat.

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French Call Obama 'Anticompetitive' Over Tanker Contract

March 10, 2010 3:57 am | News | Comments

PARIS (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy will raise concerns that the U.S. Air Force's $35 billion tanker contract is anticompetitive when he visits President Barack Obama later this month, a spokesman said Wednesday. EADS, the parent company of Airbus, had partnered with Northrop Grumman to vie for the 179-tanker order, but their consortium pulled out on Monday.

Toyota Sales Up 50 Percent From Last March

March 10, 2010 3:36 am | by Jeffrey McMurray, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) — A high-ranking Toyota executive says the auto company's North American sales spiked around 50 percent the first eight days of March as incentives helped lure customers after a series of embarrassing safety recalls. Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, said in an interview Tuesday that the early numbers surpassed the company's expectations.

Federal Investigators Converge On Out-Of-Control Prius

March 10, 2010 3:31 am | News | Comments

Elliot Spagat, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS EL CAJON, Calif. — A Toyota Prius that sped out of control on a California freeway was towed to a dealership Tuesday while federal and company inspectors converged on the car to determine whether a stuck gas pedal was to blame. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent two investigators to examine the car after Monday's incident, said Olivia Alair, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, which oversees NHTSA.

GM Shreveport Recieves Order For 849 Hummers

March 10, 2010 3:29 am | News | Comments

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — General Motors has received a fleet order for 849 Hummers, so the Shreveport plantwon't shut down for two weeks in May, after all. GM spokesman Otie McKinley says the plant has a month to build the H3s and H3Ts. He says Hummer production will resume April 12, and the order must be completed by May 13.

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Chevron Cuts 2,000 'Downstream' Jobs

March 10, 2010 3:28 am | by Sandy Shore, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Chevron Corp. said Tuesday it will cut 2,000 jobs this year and sell some overseas operations as it revamps its struggling refinery, marketing and transportation operations. The job cuts represent almost 12 percent of its 17,000 workers in the so-called downstream part of its business and just over 3 percent of its overall work force.

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Reid Supply Ready For High-Speed Rail Surge

March 9, 2010 6:30 am | News | Comments

Muskegon, Michigan — Reid Supply Company, a Michigan-based, premier global distributor of industrial supplies for more than 60 years has responded to government’s need for a multipurpose convenience point for builders of rail systems, roads and bridges. The company recently added more than 8,000 items to its online web site and offers free CAD drawings of most of their industrial parts.

How Does Your Gearbox Sound?

March 9, 2010 6:21 am | by Todd R. Bobak, Sumitomo Drive Technologies | Articles | Comments

Introduction Sound can be a very subjective thing. What may sound “unusual” to one individual may very well sound “normal” to another. As a method of diagnosing a potential problem with a gearbox or gearmotor, the sound coming from it should not solely be relied upon to determine whether-or-not a problem exists.

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Prep For Compressed Air Drying

March 9, 2010 5:34 am | Product Releases | Comments

Van Air Systems (Lake City, PA) now offers the Prep40, a complete package in portable compressed air drying. All Prep40 models are designed for applications needing mobility and dew points down to -40 or -100°F. Typical applications include pipeline drying or critical sandblast and painting operations.

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10,000 Volts? No Problem

March 9, 2010 5:33 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Bondhus Corporation (Monticello, MN) introduces a full line of high quality insulated tools through its German marketing partner, FELO. The screwdrivers, bit drivers, and pliers are tested and certified to comply with all critical safety standards, including insulation safety testing at 10,000 volts.

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Advanced Controller Intelligence

March 9, 2010 5:32 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

The Baghouse controller from FilterSense (Beverly, MA) features DeviceNet communications for integration with Allen-Bradley PLCs. The B-PAC series of Baghouse analyzers and controllers feature advanced intelligence, such as the ability to instantly detect and locate failed solenoids and filter leaks.

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Magnetic-Free Positioning

March 9, 2010 5:31 am | Product Releases | Comments

TURCK (Minneapolis, MN) introduces the new LI-Q25 series linear position sensors, which replace magnetostrictive and potentiometer devices to deliver precise measurements in metal processors, rolling mills, or injection molding machines. The LI-Q25 sensors do not require a magnetic positioning device, so they are unaffected by metal debris.

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Detroit Downsizes To Save Itself

March 9, 2010 4:07 am | by David Runk, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile. Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods.

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