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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.


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.


'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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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 . [ ] If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Proper Considerations When Selecting An Epoxy

December 10, 2009 9:22 am | by Yitzy Feman, Master Bond Inc.

Industries worldwide employ epoxies for their highly reliable properties, especially those that are hard to come by in alternative solutions. Given the range of considerations involved with epoxy selection, manufacturers today offer a wide variety of solutions, each with optimized, application-specific properties.

Swanson Transitions From Pen-to-Paper To MES

December 10, 2009 9:18 am

Factivity fit Swanson Industries with its shop floor technology in August 2008—replacing pen-to-paper with a PC-based manufacturing execution system (MES). The transition proved easy company-wide; operators and top tier management are now equipped with real time business information to make informed decisions while jobs are on the line.

Simplicity On The Road To Recovery

December 10, 2009 7:45 am

Listen to talk radio or the cable news pundits, and it’s easy to believe Michigan, and its largest city (Detroit), are industrial wasteland. True, the unemployment levels are the highest in the nation, and the battering the automotive industry has taken has been significant and deeply felt.


Too Lazy To Do Dishes? There's A Robot For That

December 10, 2009 4:06 am

You just can’t stop the Japanese obsession with robotics. We’ve featured domestic robots on the IMPO Insider before, but they’ve never made us quite this lazy. For those who have decided that putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher is now too difficult—fear not, robotics will help you not only on the plant floor, but at home too.



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