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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Job Satisfaction Slips To 22-Year Record Low

January 5, 2010 3:38 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — We can't get no job satisfaction. Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue.

German Manufacturer To Build $300m Miss. Plant

January 5, 2010 3:37 am | by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A German company will build a $300 million plant in northwestern Mississippi to manufacture stainless steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, Gov. Haley Barbour and a company executive announced Monday. The plant in Tunica County — about 20 miles south of Memphis, Tenn.

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Licensed To Flex Feedstock Muscle

January 4, 2010 8:16 am | by Carrie Ellis & Luke Simpson, Editors, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Nobody would believe it until they saw it—especially leery investors. But FlexEthanol technology is here today and readily available. October 15 was the big day for Coskata Inc. After more than three years spent refining the technology that has excited investors like General Motors, the ambitious cellulosic ethanol company declared itself open for business.

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What's That Down the Road? A Head?

January 4, 2010 8:06 am | by Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International | Articles | Comments

With apologies to the old Red Skelton bit, this is the question that manufacturers are now asking about 2010. The 2009 recession has been replaced by the 2010 recovery but thus far it is hard to tell one from another. If this is the year of recovery what will that mean? How will this coming year be judged? Against the miserable performances of 2008-2009 or by the boom years that preceded them? In some respects both will serve as reference points.

Wireless C-Tracks

January 4, 2010 7:56 am | Product Releases | Comments

R&M Materials Handling, Inc. (Springfield, OH) has released the NRGmaster, an alternative to C-track festoons. The NRGmaster system eliminates dangling cables and provides a sleek design, increasing hook coverage on the shop floor and decreasing common C-track festoon maintenance pitfalls.

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Wide-Range Motion Detection

January 4, 2010 7:55 am | Product Releases | Comments

Baumer (Southington, CT) has developed the Long-Range ParCon for sensing applications involving distances as far as 200mm. The analog optical line sensors project a continuous 24mm-wide beam of parallel light to a reflector, creating a reliable detection of moving parts as small as 0.

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More Than Just Flowmeters

January 4, 2010 7:55 am | Product Releases | Comments

The MassTracker Insertion Turbine Multi-Variable Flow Meter from Spirax Sarco, Inc. (Blythewood, SC) combines measurement of mass or volumetric flow, density, temperature, and pressure into a single instrument. Typical applications include flow monitoring of steam or natural gas, flue gas for environmental compliance, or measurement of other liquids in line sizes from 3 to 80”.

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Cable-Free Hydraulic Lifting

January 4, 2010 7:54 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Wildeck, Inc. (Waukesha, WI) introduces the new V-Lift, a hydraulically-operated, cantilever material lift that can be installed either in a shaftway or free-standing, with optional structural framing. The V-Lift is designed to meet ANSI/ASME B20.1 standards for conveyors, and features a hydraulic ram with large 2-1/2” diameter dual pistons to deliver a smooth lifting motion.

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Electronics Makers Introduce Innovations At CES Show

January 4, 2010 4:09 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Electronics sales rebounded in the just-ended holiday season, but the industry's biggest event will still have the recession hanging over it. The International Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Wednesday, will be smaller than usual, with key products unveiled at prices that are far from extravagant.

Survey: Midwest Manufacturing Still Weak, Losing Jobs

January 4, 2010 4:02 am | News | Comments

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha economist says a December survey in nine Midwest and Plains states suggests that the region's economy will recovery weakly over 2010. The Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region rose above growth neutral last month, reaching 50.3, compared with 47.5 in November.

China's Manufacturing Expands For Ninth Month

January 4, 2010 3:53 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China's manufacturing expanded in December for a ninth straight month as government stimulus spending boosted domestic demand and foreign sales rose, according to a survey released Monday. The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI rose to 56.1 from November's 55.7 on a 100-point scale where numbers above 50 show activity expanding.

Kraft vs. Nestle Bidding War Over Cadbury Looms

January 4, 2010 3:50 am | News | Comments

LONDON (AP) — Speculation of a bidding war for British candy maker Cadbury PLC mounted on Monday after Swiss food group Nestle agreed to sell off its majority stake in eyecare unit Alcon and announced a smaller-than-anticipated share buyback program. Analysts suggested that Nestle could be clearing its decks in preparation to counter a hostile 9.

Cities, States Get Tough On Tax Breaks For New Jobs

January 4, 2010 3:46 am | by Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

CHICAGO (AP) — Cash-strapped communities have a message for corporations that promised jobs in return for tax breaks: A deal's a deal. As the recession drags on, municipalities struggling to fix roads, fund schools and pay bills increasingly are rescinding tax abatements to companies that don't hire enough workers, lay them off or close up shop.

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Novartis Pays $38.5 Billion To Swallow Up Alcon

January 4, 2010 3:41 am | News | Comments

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Drug maker Novartis AG said Monday it plans to take over Alcon Inc. by paying $38.5 billion for the 77 percent stake it does not already own in a deal that would make it one of the biggest players in the global market for eye-care products. The Swiss pharmaceutical company will purchase Nestle SA's 52 percent stake for $28 billion before carrying out a merger with Alcon that would give it control of the remaining 23 percent held by minority shareholders.

Hydraulic Bending To-Go

December 23, 2009 7:24 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dake (Grand Haven, MI) has released the VH200, a vertical hydraulic cylinder capable of bending tubing up to a 2” diameter. At 60 pounds, the unit it portable and can be operated in the field, with either a manual pump or an air-operated pump. The VH200 is furnished with one of three standard dies, for either a 6” or 7” radius, and 12 additional dies are available.

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Learn Who's In And Who's Out

December 23, 2009 7:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Kaba Access Control (Winston-Salem, NC) now offers the new LearnLok feature to its E-Plex PROX-based 5700 electric locks, in addition to the E5770 and E3700 series. The LearnLok feature simplifies programming of up to 300 user credentials (HID PROX cards, fobs, etc.) per door by “learning” them at the lock reader.

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Smart'-er Industrial Vending

December 23, 2009 7:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fastenal (Winona, MN) offers a solution to industrial vending with the SmartStore, which is managed by the customer’s local Fastenal store team and stocked with the products they use most. Installation requires only electricity and Internet access, according to the company. Advantages of industrial vending include: Reduction in consumption by tracking employee usage and setting limits.

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High-Speed Die Grinders

December 23, 2009 7:22 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dynabrade, Inc. (Clarence, NY) is introducing a series of air-powered Die Grinders, which feature high-quality steel housings. The grinders are available in either .5 or .6 hp air motors and use a rubber grip housing to insulate the operator from vibration and cold air transmission.

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Occam’s Razor, Resharpened

December 23, 2009 6:18 am | by Mike Rainone, co-founder of PCDworks | Articles | Comments

The Franciscan Friar William of Occam said it best about 700 years ago in the form of the principle of parsimony, which we now know as Occam’s Razor.   William said, “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem,” which for you non-Latin speakers (and who is a Latin speaker these days?) means: “Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Boiling Up A Pot Of Conservation

December 23, 2009 6:17 am | Articles | Comments

As part of its compliance with a PepsiCo corporate mandate on resource conservation, the Quaker Oats Bridgeview Division food manufacturing plant has installed two Miura Boiler LX200 gas-fired steam boilers to reduce fuel and water consumption, increase energy efficiency, and cut emissions.

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