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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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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All The Right ERP Questions

October 12, 2009 10:00 am | by Jay Deakins

Integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is the backbone of your business, as it handles everything from lab management to invoicing. So selecting and implementing an ERP system is a big decision and significant investment for any specialty chemical manufacturing company.

Honey, I Shrunk The Company

October 12, 2009 9:44 am | by Ron Melcher and Mark Fiquett, Step3 Consulting

As we emerge from unprecedented economic decline, past experience and common sense suggest that growth in these better times will not come without hardship.  Many companies were forced to take quick measures to reduce costs, and this approach often has negative consequences in terms of operating risks down the road.

Printing Up Cheesesteak

October 9, 2009 11:55 am

A Philly cheesesteak sandwich is a culinary indulgence to some and a dietary staple to others. Thin slices of beef, chicken or pork piled high on an Amoroso-style roll with lots of melted cheese is a palate-pleasing treat that originated in Philadelphia, but can now be found in sandwich shops all over the world.

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The Mysteries Of Ketchup

October 8, 2009 4:16 am

Ever wondered how ketchup is manufactured? This video will take you through (most of) the process, save for the "myserious" blue bags containing the Heinz secret recipe. And ironically enough, they actually have a test to make sure that the ketchup is next to impossible to extract from those glass bottles.

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Combustible Dust At Imperial Sugar

October 7, 2009 5:54 am

The CSB has investigated the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion of 2008, and has concluded that combustible dust was to blame for the deaths of 14 workers and injuries of many more. The company did not properly clean up after combustible dust, particularly that which accumulated on hard-to-reach places like light fixtures and beam, and did not provide adequate ventilation systems for dust in the air.

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Forget The Cling Wrap

October 6, 2009 9:04 am | by ScienCentral

Scientists have created a new type of food wrapping that will someday leave the traditional plastic wrap unused in the back of some kitchen drawer. The new material is anti-microbial, which means things like fresh fruit stay fresh considerably longer. In addition, it's completly edible and environmentally-friendly.

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The Cloaking Cop Car

October 6, 2009 8:57 am | by HARD Lifestyle

These guys have developed a paint that changes colors when applying heat, and they thought it would be perfect for a cop car that goes from jet black to fully-marked in seconds. They strip the interior of an Escalade to attach massive heaters to the doors and, well, you can see the rest for yourself.

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Respect The Nerd: Part 3

October 6, 2009 8:21 am

Watch the exciting conclusion of Gerard's long struggle with keeping his processes quick and error-free. With a robotic arm from FARO, Gerard manages to not only capture the attention and respect of his boss, but also a special someone... 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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Respect The Nerd: Part 2

October 6, 2009 8:18 am

Gerard still can't seem to stay on top of his work. After that many complaints, it's no wonder he gets sent to his supervisor. At the end of his rope, it seems like Gerard won't ever catch a break... Stay tuned for Part 3 . 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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Respect The Nerd: Part 1

October 6, 2009 8:14 am

Poor Gerard. The nerdy quality control inspector is mocked incessently by his co-workers for being slow and keeping things off schedule. In Part One of the series, see how Gerard finds a glimmer of hope in his effort to revolutionize his quality control process.

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Super Lathe

October 5, 2009 8:36 am | by Joyce Laird

Dual ScrewRails and a linear actuator resulted in a series of semi-complex parts in the LA3200 XZ-Axes housing. Microabrasive blasting has been around for decades and is in use in a wide range of industries from metalworking to medical. Comco, headquartered in Burbank, CA has been focused on this technology since 1968.

Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Material

October 2, 2009 11:54 am

Poly(lactic acid) cup before and after adding hot water. Interest in biodegradable disposable plastic items has steadily grown over the last decade. With packaging materials, the reduction in usage of raw materials, re-use, and recycling is of course the best route to a sustainable lifestyle.

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Raising The Bar

October 2, 2009 9:15 am

Harry London Candies of North Canton, Ohio has been manufacturing high quality chocolates and other gourmet confections since 1922, when Harry London, a steelworker, left his job at the local mill and began making family recipes by hand in his own kitchen. Over the years, Harry London Candies has progressed from these humble beginnings to become a world class provider of luxury candies while retaining the London family traditions of high standards and the purest ingredients.

Automated Storage Makes A Play For Sustainability

October 1, 2009 8:13 am

Although the term “carbon footprint” has been added to the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, few users of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) have added it to their corporate dictionary. As a result, most companies still focus on traditional justification measures, overlooking the value of a facility’s carbon footprint.

Steamlining For 'Incredible' Efficiencies

October 1, 2009 6:41 am

For any large industrial manufacturer handling 13,000 SKUs in their assembly parts warehouse, it is no small organizational challenge to keep production requirements satisfied without a hitch. But integrate into that system a full-scale aftermarket fulfillment distribution center with 80,000 additional active SKUs needing to be processed simultaneously, and you have the recipe for a potential logistics meltdown.

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