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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Occam’s Razor, Resharpened

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

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

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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Forget The Hybrid, Let's Start Composting

December 22, 2009 11:14 am

Vertal, a British composting company, has introduced some of the most innovative technology when it comes to turning our organic waste — you know, that steak you couldn't quite finish last weekend — into energy. Unlike other technologies, the process is entirely self-heated, so the company does not have to use any energy in the composting process, which is called autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion.

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Hackers: Criminals Or Just Unemployed?

December 22, 2009 11:05 am

Hackers can bring down government agencies, hijack websites, and snoop on private information. But sometimes, they're just looking for a job. At the U.S. Cyber Challenge, hackers battle each other in a multi-faceted battle — they have to exploit other systems while protecting their own. The contest isn't just about being able to hack into another system, but rather finding these intelligent and tech-savvy youth constructive and non-exploitative outlets for their hacking skills.

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Making Candy Canes... As Hard As Steel

December 22, 2009 10:43 am

Like most anything else eaten during the holidays, most of us don't know where candy canes come from, or how they're made. Turns out it's not all that different from making steel. Just more... sweet. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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How An Engineer Puts Up Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:35 am

Christmas lights are a trademark of the season, but some homeowners take the tradition a little further than others. While some settle for a single dim string on the bush beside their front door, others opt for something more luminescent. See what happens when a database engineer from Middletown, OH gets into the holiday spirit.

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'Greening' Building-Sized Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:25 am

Every year, Hong Kong lights up for the holidays. That is, they decorate their high-rise buildings in millions lights, all in dazzling displays and patterns. For years, the bulbs were a drain on the city's electrical supply, until the designers began to switch to energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights.

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Bad Assumptions About Hearing Protection

December 21, 2009 10:25 am | by Brad Witt, Director of Hearing Conservation, Howard Leight / Sperian Hearing Protection

Any good proof is based upon assumptions: if the assumptions are good, the proof is valid. If the assumptions are bad, then the proof is worthless, or as writer Angelo Donghia puts it, “Assumption is the mother of screw-up.1”  In the world of personal protective equipment, bad assumptions are hazardous and often injurious.

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Lifting Spirits This Holiday Season

December 18, 2009 10:19 am

The holiday season already is fast upon us. In light of this festive time of year and the spirit of goodwill, those in the material handling industry can maximize the use of some of the equipment at their disposal—in particular, their forklift(s). Consider these options to leverage the lift trucks in your facility for spreading holiday cheer: 1.

Reducing Emissions While Recouping Costs

December 18, 2009 4:05 am | by Karl Walby

The aluminum division of CMWA approached the Environmental and Energy Systems group of Dürr Systems Inc. in keeping with their green factory efforts and a focus on reducing fuel consumption. The plant was in the midst of a company-wide initiative to reduce energy at both the aluminum and steel wheel divisions.

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Trash-Talking Intelligently, Or Not At All

December 18, 2009 2:54 am | by Masha V. Petrova, founder/CEO, MVP Modeling Solutions

  Or to put it simply — do not talk trash about anyone, whether you know them or not, on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc, because your words WILL comeback to bite you. Here is a real life example. I am a member of the Board of Directors of a newly formed non-profit, called the Franklin Foundation.

CSB Warnings: The Fiery Side Of Ice

December 16, 2009 11:24 am

An idled pipe and cold temperatures set off a series of events that culminated in a gas explosion and chlorine gas release at Valero's McKee refinery. The CSB looks at ways the incident could have been avoided. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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The Snowman And His 1 µm Nose

December 16, 2009 11:18 am

Researchers at the Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) made a tiny snowman out of two tin beads, and then went as far as to mill out a smile and eyes using a focused ion beam. The little guy's nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), was made out of platinum and was deposited by an ion beam.

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The Coolest Gadgets Of 2009

December 16, 2009 10:21 am

TIME technology editor Peter Ha counts down his top 10 gadgets released this year, and it runs the gauntlet from cool to crazy. There's the standard cell phones and digital cameras, with some interesting additons from a wristwatch (who wears those anymore?) and a bladeless fan . [ Time.com ] If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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The 787 Dreamliner (Finally) Takes Flight

December 16, 2009 10:00 am

As most of us know, Boeing's long-awaited 787 Dreamliner took its maiden voyage on Tuesday, marking the end of a construction process that has been delayed for more than two years due to labor issues and malfunctioning components. While the plane still has a battery of tests to complete before the first models are shipped off to airlines around the world, the first flight represents a significant leap forward for the project.

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Renegade Electric Cars In China

December 16, 2009 9:54 am

In the Shandong province of China, some entrepreneurs have started building their own emission-free electric vehicles, much like what we will someday see in the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt, to an extent. Thing is, these cars weren't exactly legal to start out. But now that so many companies and individuals have stepped up to retrofit cars with electric drivetrains, demand is steadily rising.

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The Brainstorm: Innovation In A Recession

December 14, 2009 10:23 am | by Tim Bowe, CEO & Co-Founder, Foliage

It has been suggested that the recession is, in part, a result of a lack of innovation in America? Do you buy that?  This question has been discussed by economists for quite some time. The basis of the question is that in the 1980’s, the U.

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Q&A: Debunking The Myth Of Chinese Rubbish

December 14, 2009 5:53 am | by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

Star Prototype China is owned and run by Gordon Styles, British businessman and engineer. In 1993 he began building what became the U.K.’s largest rapid prototyping technology (RPT) company, which he later sold. Styles then founded Star Prototype in 2005 with the intention of offering western clients the opportunity to use a reliable and high-quality rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing supplier in China.

Flying Into The Wind-Powered Future

December 11, 2009 9:00 am

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expecting to achieve 20 percent wind energy or 300 GW of wind generating capacity by 2030. Unlike many traditional energy sources, the challenge to achieve this goal is not related to availability of raw materials but rather increasing the manufacturing capacity of wind energy generation equipment.

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The Post Industrial Myth

December 10, 2009 9:29 am

In 1973, Daniel Bell wrote a book entitled The Coming of the Post Industrial Society , in which he correctly predicted the global diffusion of capital, trade deficits, and the decline of the manufacturing sector in the economy. In a recent article on this phenomenon, The Economist makes the case that we can transition to a “post industrial” service economy with continued economic growth.

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