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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Why I Fired GM's CEO

October 21, 2009 9:13 am

Yesterday Steve Rattner, the former head of Obama's automotive task force, said he was alarmed by the "stunningly poor management" of GM and Chrysler earlier this year and considered GM to have "perhaps the weakest finance operation any of [the task force] had ever seen in a major company." Ouch.

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Bentley Motors Benefits From Design For Manufacture

October 21, 2009 7:30 am

With a heritage covering almost a century, Bentley Motors is among the world’s most iconic brands. The mixture of speed and luxury combine in the Continental and Arnage ranges to suit the world’s most discerning drivers. From Bentley’s Crewe, UK plant, the company produces limited numbers of hand-finished cars that incorporate the famous leather and wood craftsmanship that typify the brand.

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Workers' Compensation Loss Run Reports: How To Assess Your Safety Culture

October 21, 2009 7:20 am | by Teresa A. Long, Director of Agency Services, The Institute of WorkComp Professionals

While it may not sound very exciting, a Loss Run Report documents information about your company’s Workers’ Compensation claims––and that includes where your money is going. Loss run reports come from your insurance company or Third Party Administrator (TPA). While some reports are more thorough than others, there is always useful information on job-related accidents and claims.

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1959 vs. 2009: The Chevrolet Showdown

October 20, 2009 11:55 am

To celebrate its 50th year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (you know, those guys who crash cars together) lined up a classic 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air with its contemporary counterpart, the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. Let the games begin. If nothing else, this video presents a vivid example of why manufacturing must always innovate and improve, because nothing we've ever made is perfect, and everything we make now will soon be obsolete.

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Horizontal Motion Conveying FAQ

October 20, 2009 11:05 am

Horizontal motion conveying is proving to be an alternative to vibratory conveying. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions that come up when investigating conveying processes for the dry-bulk and food processing industries.  How does a horizontal motion vibrating conveyor work without any vertical motion? In horizontal, zero-pitch, conveying, the translation comes from a differential or slower forward movement relative to the retraction, which is quick.

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A Case For The Apprentice

October 20, 2009 8:58 am | by Mike Collins

American manufacturers are realizing that we cannot compete with foreign manufacturers on price and cost reduction. We are going to have to compete using innovation and new products, which requires highly skilled workers. Many government programs talk about the need for high skilled and high performance employees, but they never seem to define high skills.

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Earning Its Recognition

October 20, 2009 7:49 am | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

Energy savings sounds like a basic numbers game, but in TharpeRobbins’ experience, it’s all about perception. Its Own Rewards The Attleboro, MA-based employee recognition and awards company—manufacturing corporate gifts and tokens of achievement—recently announced that it has achieved zero discharge status with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

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Taking Them On, One Weld At A Time

October 19, 2009 12:33 pm

In 1972, Time published a special issue of their magazine, devoted to addressing the staus of women in the American workplace. One of the women they spoke to was Janie Cottrell, who had taken a liking to her welding class at school. At the age of 24, Janie couldn't get an interview because no male manager could possibly believe Janie had any talent in welding.

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The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

October 19, 2009 12:11 pm

Meet William Kamkwamba, author of the new book " The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind ," written with Bryan Mealer. At the age of 14, William Kamkwamba was a poor farmer in Malawi, a country blighted by years of drought and famine. After he was forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford to pay the fees, William was left to his own devices.

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Dog vs. Keyboard — The Ultimate Showdown

October 19, 2009 11:58 am

Many industrial components are designed and tested to withstand the rigors of the manufacturing plant, whether it's extreme temperatures, water, or intense shock and vibration. But have your components been tested to function under the terrifying dangers of the office dog? Reagan, iKey's in-house German Shepard, took the SLK-79 to task and gave it the rundown.

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What If Your Automation Is Anything But?

October 19, 2009 5:16 am

What is the most important thing on the mind of a manufacturing professional? Well, from most articles we read, there are two areas — improving manufacturing performance and reducing downtime with a wide array of solutions available to assist you with both. You can focus on integration with your business systems to improve the real-time aspects of production management and you can focus on better production analytics to squeeze additional performance out of the equipment you are monitoring.

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Getting Through The Recession v. 1.3

October 16, 2009 11:58 am | by David Duncan, president of IDWS.ca, helping companies develop Form with Function

Businesses that are struggling from the financial problems in the current economic slow down are under pressure to evaluate daily operations for new cost efficiencies. Particularly in the manufacturing sectors were profitability has been hit hard, companies that produce consumer products, commercial products, vehicle products, and even capital equipment have had to cut jobs and cut unnecessary costs to stay alive let alone competitive.

The Self-Lubricating Machine

October 15, 2009 4:48 am

A simple, self-lubricating machine. Now, if it could do something other than lubricate itself, the people at MIT who built it might be on to something. Wouldn't it be great if all our machines took this great care of themselves? Do you have any comments or questions about our Thursday video editions of IMPO Insider ? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in a future deployment? Email me at Joel.

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Making The Ultimate Office Weapon: Rubber Bands

October 15, 2009 4:33 am

We use them. We love them. Good 'ol rubber bands. Perfect for flinging at co-workers, or even just holding a pack of index cards together. Whatever floats your boat. But I bet you've never thought about how the stretchy brown things are made. I, for one, did not know latex came straight from a tree, just like maple syrup.

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Mechanical Walkthrough: The Differential

October 15, 2009 4:06 am

We all experience the engineering prowess of our car's differential every day when we head off to work, go errands, or, for some, hit the apex just right. But do we really understand how it works? This video, as old as it is, features an excellent step-by-step explanation of how the differential works.

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Building Airplanes, One Lego At A Time

October 15, 2009 3:51 am

Most children spend countless hours building Lego airplanes that just fall apart after their inaugural flight. These enthusiasts? They built a Lego factory that builds its own airplanes. Beat that. These dedicated Lego builders take no shame in the $12,000 they poured into the project, nor the 2,000 man hours it took to complete.

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A Historical Tour Of Autonomous Robots

October 14, 2009 12:01 pm

Take a tour of domestic robots throughout history. Now that we're approaching a time where autonomous, human-interacting, robots will take over the home, how long until industrial robots offer the same type of complex decision-making processes? We've already featured a video on the necessity for industial robots that can interact with humans ( Our Robot Future ), but the question begs to be asked again: why are industrial robots so unfriendly to their human co-workers? Should there be a movement in manufacturing toward robotics that is self-aware, do not harm people, and yet do its task just as efficiently? Via ROCKETBOOM .

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The Bowling Ball-Tossing Industrial Robot

October 14, 2009 10:23 am

Innovation is key to our industry, so here at IMPO we like to showcase ways that individuals and companies are doing something unique with the tools that get used every day to make the products we all know and love, even if they're a little off-beat. The guys from Mana Energy Potions program a KUKA industrial robot to hurl heavy objects like a medieval trebuchet.

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Take Back Your Facility

October 14, 2009 6:47 am

Managing storage space is critical in the effort to maximizing your productivity. In most storage facilities, a whopping 60 percent of floor space is wasted on aisles. So how do you add more SKUs to the same amount of square footage? What do you do when you run out of space? The Compact Storage Systems are a solution.

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'Don't Die On Me!': Staying Alive With Predictive Maintenance

October 13, 2009 9:45 am

In recent years, modern packaging machines have become more intelligent. They are incorporating more decentralized intelligence in order to protect the machine from expensive breakdown situations using error diagnostics and reactions without any detour through the control. With today’s generation of intelligent servo drives, predictive maintenance functionality is now built into the electronics.

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