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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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.

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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.

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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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OLED Displays: Wearing Your Plant Around Your Wrist

December 10, 2009 4:01 am

First came those clunky CRT monitors that could kill a man even when unplugged, then dainty LCD panels that were thin and light, but looked like you could snap them in two. Now there’s OLED—the latest and greatest in display technology. Just imagine the possibilities of flexible, wearable OLED monitors in manufacturing.

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Fake Thunderstorms And A Few Thousand Spot Welds

December 10, 2009 3:55 am

Many of us have ridden one, but do any of us know where—or how—the New York subway trains are put together? National Geographic takes us through the Brazilian plant that produces the NYC staple. There’s even a thunderstorm involved, but you’ll have to see just how that fits in for yourself.

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Got $200,000? Step Aboard The Virgin Enterprise

December 10, 2009 3:54 am

On Monday, Sir Richard Branson introduced the world’s first commercial spacecraft, called the U.S.S. Enterprise, which will take six tourists 65 miles into space for a full five minutes of weightlessness and sightseeing. While Branson hopes the craft will finish testing in 2010, he’s making darn sure it’s safe before sending his family up into the abyss (his wife and children are among the first ticket-holders).

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Inside GM's $330 Million Detroit-Volt Investment

December 10, 2009 3:52 am

Earlier this week, GM announced a $330 million investment in its Detroit-Hamtramck to build its new electric Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle the company is riding on to bring the automaker back to its once-dominant standing. WSJ 's Neal Boudette and Dow Jones Newswires 's Jeff Bennett get together to discuss the impact this investment will have on Detroit automaking.

Spill Containment 101

December 8, 2009 10:53 am | by Karen Hamel, New Pig Corporation

The sooner you can stop a spill, the faster cleanup can begin. Containing spills at facilities is an essential first step in spill response that helps minimize environmental impact and lessen overall response time. According to National Response Center (NRC) statistics, over 10,000 reportable spills occurred in fixed facilities last year.

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Operating In A Carbon-Constrained Marketplace

December 8, 2009 10:28 am | by Casey Whelan, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Energy Services

As Congress moves towards implementing a mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) compliance system and a cap and trade market, industrial companies need to evolve to keep up with the changing risks and opportunities. In the past, manufacturers only needed to focus on price and reliability.

Don't Gamble With Mother Nature - Go UPS

December 8, 2009 5:51 am

El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) provides water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service to one of the region’s fastest growing areas — the greater metropolitan area of El Paso, Texas. The utility analyzes water samples with sophisticated, computer-controlled systems and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instruments to assure the sanitation and safety of the potable water supply.

2010 Industry Perspective: Take Your Recession Lessons With You

December 8, 2009 5:36 am

The financial meltdown and resulting economic crisis is easing, and the U.S. economy is showing signs of improving. The recovery remains fragile, however, and growth will remain modest for the foreseeable future. A Brief Look Back Matt Ericksen, Partner, Booz & Company The challenge of the past year for many engineered products and services (EPS) corporations—including those in aerospace and defense, industrials, the automotive sector, and transportation—was simply to weather the crisis.

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Going Under The Knife

December 7, 2009 11:45 am | by Anna Wells, Editor and Joel Hans, Associate Editor

Perhaps it’s a dramatic interpretation, but we are talking about life and death here. Based in Cambridge, MA, OmniGuide Inc. designs and manufactures the world’s most precise optical laser scalpels. Dedicated to expanding the reach of minimally invasive surgery, OmniGuide brings to surgeons the precision of CO2 laser surgery, enabling precision surgery around intricate anatomy and near critical structures.

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Preserve, Protect, Prosper: Packaging Sustainability

December 7, 2009 5:42 am | by Rush LaSelle, director of worldwide sales and marketing for Adept Technology, Inc.

Our world’s need to preserve resources for the future means the packaging industry’s ultimate goal is achieving packaging sustainability. Packaging sustainability balances economic prosperity with social responsibility, and packagers must find ways to preserve resources by minimizing environmental impact, energy consumption, and scrap by adopting new environmentally-friendly packaging.

Prevent Slip-Ups With A Slip Clutch

December 4, 2009 11:22 am

Previously, a prominent food manufacturer was unable to run one of its production lines at its rated capacity because of difficulty in managing drive chain slack that affected indexing. The line handles rectangular packages weighing about 10 pounds each. Each item moves down the conveyor straightaway on its narrow side, but as it is picked up and indexed, it needs to be moved along its length.

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Tiny Tools Key To Understanding Aerosol Dangers

December 4, 2009 11:10 am | by Fred J. Brechtel, Ph.D., Vice President, Brechtel Manufacturing Inc.

Particles thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair transform materials, micro-sensors, and energy-producing processes. And they can also severely pollute air quality and the integrity of technology products, like integrated circuits. Airborne aerosols in the air we breathe can damage our health, especially particles containing trace amounts of metals — largely from burning fuel — can wreak havoc on our nervous systems.

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What Floor? The Moon, Please

December 3, 2009 3:54 am

Space elevators — the final frontier. Kind of. See how a space elevator would revolutionize not only the way we get into space, but also the way us Earth-bound folk live. Not only would we have the capacity to ship large payloads into space, but we could build large solar arrays to catch the sun's energy.

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German Engineering And The Chainsaw Motorcycle

December 3, 2009 3:39 am

Leave it to the Germans. When you want to see the pinnacle of crazy engineering, go no further. A group of German gearheads have bolted 24 — yes, 24 — chainsaw engines, all working in unison, to a custom motorcycle frame. It's both beautiful and monstrous. But none of that would matter if it was mine.

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