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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

High-Accuracy Pressure Regulator

August 21, 2009 6:18 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fairchild Industrial Products (Winston-Salem, NC) has designed a pressure regulator — the model M4100 — with a large diaphragm to provide accuracy for precision control in low-pressure applications like leak detection or tank blanketing. The M4100 shines in applications requiring accuracy within +/- 0.

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Chrysler Workers Wait For Answers From Italy

August 21, 2009 4:56 am | by Tom Krishner, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DETROIT (AP) — At a Jeep factory in Toledo, Ohio, workers fear that Chrysler's new Italian management will scrap one of the two models they make, costing some of them their jobs. The same anxiety is felt at Chrysler Group LLC plants around the country as Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne, who now controls the company, readies a new plan that will include cutting redundant models and adding smaller Fiats to the lineup.

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PA Gov. Fights to Keep Harley from Relocating

August 21, 2009 4:21 am | News | Comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. is reportedly considering Kansas City and three other towns for a new assembly plant. The Kansas City Star reported on its Web site that company officials met with city and economic development leaders Thursday about locating a second plant near the existing Harley plant north of town.

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Chinese Smelter 500 Yards From Schools Poisons 1,300

August 21, 2009 4:13 am | by Alexa Olesen, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China has detained two factory officials after 1,300 children were poisoned by pollution from a manganese processing plant, days after emissions from a lead smelter in another province sickened hundreds. Both cases have sparked unrest and come amid growing anger in China over public safety scandals in which children have been the main victims.

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Toyota Increases Production At Multiple US Plants

August 21, 2009 3:56 am | News | Comments

ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) — Toyota said Friday that it will boost capacity at its engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., to allow it to produce four-cylinder engines for two additional North American assembly plants. The expansion will allow the Alabama plant to produce 216,000 four-cylinder engines annually.

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Workplace Suicides Surge 28 Percent

August 20, 2009 11:40 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workplace suicides surged 28 percent last year, the Labor Department said Thursday, as experts said anxious workers watched colleagues depart in a rash of layoffs and faced survivor's guilt. At the same time, the agency's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of workers who died on the job from any cause fell by 10 percent.

Cash For Clunkers To End Monday

August 20, 2009 11:32 am | by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's revived business at car dealerships, taken gas-guzzlers off the road and given a badly needed boost to struggling auto factories. By many measures, the government's Cash for Clunkers program has been a success. Yet as it winds down, there is another lasting image: the hasty planning and troubled execution that nearly derailed the program early on and, lately, has led some frustrated dealers to drop out amid long waits for the government money.

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Lifting To The Next Level

August 20, 2009 11:31 am | Product Releases | Comments

After 80 years of New Orleans’ humid summers, a distribution facility for Lafarge, one of the largest cement producers in the United States and Canada, was literally crumbling. So the company called in a team of maintenance experts to salvage the distribution facility.  David Soch and Emmett Moore quickly compiled a laundry list of maintenance problems, ranging from mechanical issues with the gates used to control the flow of cement, to changing the light bulbs that illuminated the truck loading area.

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Cleaning Out the Web Cobwebs

August 20, 2009 11:07 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO The web is a strange place to live because there is such a disparity in structure from place to place. In real life, my neighborhood is all maples, condos, and serious lawn care. I don’t accidentally turn a corner and find myself in a sewer.

ND Burns Off 1/3 Natural Gas Supply

August 20, 2009 10:12 am | by James MacPherson, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Enough natural gas to heat every home in North Dakota through at least two brutal winters was burned off as an unmarketable byproduct in the state's oil patch in 2008, records obtained by The Associated Press show. North Dakota produced a record 62.8 million barrels of oil last year, up nearly 18 million barrels from 2007.

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Porsche Ex-CEO Investigated For Market Manipulation

August 20, 2009 8:01 am | News | Comments

FRANKFURT (AP) — Porsche SE ex-chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and his former finance chief are under investigation in a probe that involves suspicions of market manipulation. Company spokesman Frank Gaube on Thursday confirmed German media reports that Wiedeking and ex-CFO Holger Haerter are being investigated by Stuttgart prosecutors in connection with the company's unsuccessful attempt to acquire larger automaker Volkswagen AG.

Q&A: Rediscovering the Edison Nation

August 20, 2009 4:54 am | Articles | Comments

N.J. Slabbert is an award-winning writer and scholar, and co-author of the recent book, “Innovation, The Key To Prosperity: Technology & America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy,” with Aris Melissaratos. The book explains how science and technology drove America’s previous economic prosperity but that America lost its technological momentum in the second half of the 20th century.

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Full Speed In Reverse

August 20, 2009 4:43 am | by by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, IMPO | Blogs | Comments

Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, IMPO I know, I know, the U.S. auto industry has been an easy target for quite a while now, but a release came across my screen last week that made putting it back within the crosshairs of my keyboard way too appealing. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve all become familiar with the Cash For Clunkers program.

Unit Load AS/RS Acts As A Temporary Buffer

August 19, 2009 11:42 am | Articles | Comments

This automated storage and retrieval system at the Cox Target Media Valpak facility has two storage retrieval machines and is configured to hold both full and empty print rolls. Rolls are delivered and removed from the AS/RS by automatic guided vehicles (AGVs).

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'Extract' Draws Out Manufacturing Humor

August 19, 2009 11:38 am | Articles | Comments

Mike Judge, creator of Office Space , returns with Extract , a film about the owner of a food manufacturing plant. Starring Jason Bateman as the plant operator and Ben Affleck as a local bartender. If nothing else, the film will no doubt thoroughly tackle the important issues of employee relations, co-worker romance, and the various safety hazards presented to male workers.

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The Chinese Steel Steal

August 19, 2009 11:19 am | by OurFuture.org | Articles | Comments

China has created a larger steel-manufacturing infrastructure in the last four years than the US has in existence. Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, explains how Chinese steel manufacturers are able to undercut American producers for lesser-quality product.

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Microsoft: Future Manufacturing Will Be Beautiful, Seamless

August 19, 2009 11:11 am | Articles | Comments

Microsoft's Future Vision: Someday, the manufacturing of old will be gone, and in its place will be 21st century innovation in order to create a seamless transition from design, to prototyping, to manufacturing, and finally the showroom floor. While most of these technologies are within our grasp, it will take an enormous effort to push old infrastructures into a new age.

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Ramen-Making Robots Kick Chefs To The Curb

August 19, 2009 11:09 am | by ITN News | Articles | Comments

High-tech robots mix and match a seeemingly-endless flavor selection of Ramen noodles at a restaurant in Japan. The owner-designer claims his robots are more efficient and accurate than their human counterparts. Could these automated food connoisseurs be the next revolution in food preparation? The American equivalent — hamburgers and french fries — might be the next target for restauranteers looking to save a buck.

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NY Dealers Withdraw From CARS Program By Hundreds

August 19, 2009 9:39 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of auto dealers in the New York area have withdrawn from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, citing delays in getting reimbursed by the government, a dealership group said Wednesday. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which represents dealerships in the New York metro area, said about half its 425 members have left the program because they cannot afford to offer more rebates.

Deere Down 27 Percent

August 19, 2009 5:11 am | by Daniel Lovering, AP Manufacturing Writer | News | Comments

Deere & Co. posted a 27 percent decline in third-quarter profit Wednesday as the slumping global economy continued to depress sales of its tractors, bulldozers and other products. But the results easily beat Wall Street expectations. The world's largest maker of farm equipment said it expected the biggest single-year sales drop in at least 50 years in 2009, but reiterated an annual profit forecast of $1.

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