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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

What Floor? The Moon, Please

December 3, 2009 3:54 am | Articles | Comments

Space elevators — the final frontier. Kind of. See how a space elevator would revolutionize not only the way we get into space, but also the way us Earth-bound folk live. Not only would we have the capacity to ship large payloads into space, but we could build large solar arrays to catch the sun's energy.

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German Engineering And The Chainsaw Motorcycle

December 3, 2009 3:39 am | Articles | Comments

Leave it to the Germans. When you want to see the pinnacle of crazy engineering, go no further. A group of German gearheads have bolted 24 — yes, 24 — chainsaw engines, all working in unison, to a custom motorcycle frame. It's both beautiful and monstrous. But none of that would matter if it was mine.

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GM's Future? Getting Bossed By Hyundai

December 3, 2009 3:32 am | Articles | Comments

Just yesterday GM announced their CEO, Fritz Henderson, was leaving his position immediately, with then-chairman Ed Whitacre filling in the top role. While no one is particularly surprised by the decision, it does represent a significant shift in GM’s movement not only forward but — more importantly — up, back to its old position of being a global contender in the automotive industry.

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Fall Protection, Upgraded

December 3, 2009 3:25 am | Articles | Comments

When you have workers in elevated places, where falling is a distinct threat, a fall protection system is a no-brainer. But not all systems are the same. The people at SPANCO have conducted a series of tests between a standard wire rope system and a SPANCO rigid lifeline, and the results are pretty vivid.

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Gas Mask Bras And British Zombies: 2009's Worst Inventions

December 2, 2009 10:38 am | Articles | Comments

Every year, TIME reaches out and finds some of the best innovations, and we've already seen their opinion on 2009's best offering: NASA's Ares I rocket . But this year is the first they stopped spending so much time on the good stuff, in order to put the spotlight on the year's absolute worst inventions.

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Ford Gambling On Fiesta, Small Cars

December 2, 2009 3:48 am | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co.'s big U.S. gamble on small cars begins Wednesday when it formally unveils American versions of the new Fiesta subcompact at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Ford is hoping that the Fiesta and the U.S. version of the European Focus will take sales from the competition as the market shifts toward well-appointed smaller, more efficient vehicles.

GM CEO Henderson Ousted By Board

December 2, 2009 3:36 am | by Ken Thomas and Tom Krisher, Associated Press Writers | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 DETROIT (AP) — The leader of the new General Motors was done in by an old problem at the nation's largest car maker: Change wasn't happening fast enough. GM's board and CEO Fritz Henderson parted ways Tuesday, the board upset that the automaker's turnaround wasn't moving more swiftly and Henderson frustrated with second-guessing, two people close to the former CEO said.

ConAgra Fined For Deadly Slim Jim Explosion

December 2, 2009 3:29 am | by Emergy P. Dalesio, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Workplace inspectors cited ConAgra Foods Inc. and a contractor for dozens of serious safety violations in the June explosion at a Slim Jim plant that killed four people, the state Labor Department said Tuesday. Most of the citations against ConAgra Foods and Energy Systems Analysts Inc.

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Harley Workers To Vote Between Job Cuts Or No Jobs

December 2, 2009 3:25 am | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Workers at the Harley-Davidson plant in south-central Pennsylvania are poised to vote on whether to accept a labor contract that could keep the plant there. However, the contract up for a vote Wednesday also would pave the way for deep job cuts at the York plant.

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Daimler AG: Mercedes Benz, Meet Alabama

December 2, 2009 3:21 am | by George Frey, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 FRANKFURT (AP) — German carmaker Daimler AG said Wednesday it will move some of its Mercedes Benz C-Class car production to its Tuscaloosa, Ala., plant to take advantage of a growing market, lower production costs and to avoid currency fluctuations. Daimler said production of the new generation of the C-Class should start there in 2014.

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Northrop Abandoning $35b DOD Tanker Battle

December 2, 2009 3:15 am | by Joshua Freed, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

December 2, 2009 Northrop Grumman Corp. said on Tuesday it won't bid on a huge contract to make a new Air Force tanker plane unless the Defense Department changes the rules. Northrop has been tussling for years with Boeing Co. over a contract worth at least $35 billion to build 179 new Air Force tankers.

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To Be Honest, I'm Lying

December 1, 2009 9:39 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

December 2, 2009 Recently, opinion columnist Stanley Fish asked his New York Times readers to weigh in on their least favorite popular phrases— And the Winner: ‘No Problem’ —things people found to be overused, latently offensive, or just simply redundant.

Weld Anywhere

December 1, 2009 6:21 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Goff’s Enterprises (Pewaukee, WI) have designed a portable Weld/Grind Cell that features Goff’s weld/spark resistant curtain material, made for demanding industrial environments. The cell is ideal for a welding or grinding process that has just been added to the production line, or when your welding needs must be portable.

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Marking Lasers Fit Old Workflows

December 1, 2009 6:20 am | Product Releases | Comments

The TruMark 5020, a new fiber laser marker from TRUMPF (Farmington, CT), is ideal for applications on metals and plastics with high speed and excellent edge quality requirements. The 5020’s dynamic scanner module is able to convert pulse frequencies of up to 1 MHz into a correspondingly high processing speed.

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Magnetic Drilling With Safety In Mind

December 1, 2009 6:19 am | Product Releases | Comments

Hougen Manufacturing (Flint, MI) has launched a new line of portable magnetic drills, upgrading the long-standing HMD914 with a lightweight body and an ergonomic handle. In addition, the HMD914S features a swivel base drill-to-magnet coupling that provides versatility and precise positioning, which makes it ideal for challenging fabrication or jobs involving horizontal or overhead drilling.

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Compact, Precise Rototic Welders

December 1, 2009 6:19 am IMPO Product Releases | Comments

Motoman’s (Dayton, OH) new 6-axis MA1400 “Master Arc” welding robot significantly increases uptime by integrating the torch into the upper arm, and is available in floor-, wall-, or ceiling-mounted configurations. The MA1400 is ideal for high-density layouts with multiple robots working in close proximity due to its integrated cabling, which reduces interference and cable wear.

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Another Recession Possible For Midwest

December 1, 2009 4:12 am | News | Comments

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rural areas in middle America are being hit particularly hard by what could be another dip into recession for the region, according to a survey of business leaders and supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states released Tuesday. November's Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region stood at 47.

Newsprint Plant Still Running Despite Steep Declines

December 1, 2009 3:59 am | by Ruth Jensen | News | Comments

GRENADA, Miss. (AP) — The AbitibiBowater newsprint plant in Grenada now employs 181 people — its lowest number on record — but Manager Wade Taylor says they "have been willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the plant going." Newsprint sales have been shrinking over the years, and this year was difficult, Taylor said.

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Sharp Showcases New LCD Plant, 'Mother Glass'

December 1, 2009 3:50 am | News | Comments

SAKAI, Japan (AP) — Huge sheets of glass are guided by robotic arms, sliding and turning in a towering germ-free plant, the world's first making giant "10th generation" panels for flat screen TVs. Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp.'s futuristic-looking plant doesn't have a single worker on the floor.

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Boeing Completes 'Important Milestone' In 787 Hoopla

December 1, 2009 3:43 am | News | Comments

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Boeing Co. has completed a key test of the long-expected 787 jetliner, which an analyst called an "important sign of progress" Tuesday. The Chicago-based aerospace giant said Monday it completed the test, five months after it delayed the first test flight and said it needed to reinforce small areas near the connection of the wings and fuselage.

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