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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

March 17, 2010 7:42 am

OK Go, known for their low-budget and very-viral music videos, takes on the Rube Goldberg machine for their latest project. With the help of Synn Labs and director James Frost, the band designed and built what is arguably the most impressive Rube Goldberg machine to date. Any engineer or manufacturer can not only see the fun and whimsy in this creation, but also its incredible attention to detail and immaculate craftsmanship.


China's Communist Billionaires

March 17, 2010 7:41 am

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that China is a Communist country. When the government used to condemn its richest citizens for greed, a newfound love for capitalism has sprouted among the more than 1 billion citizens, creating a new land of immense wealth. With all those people and all that productivity, China now has the world’s most billionaires except for the U.


Soup Start-Up Finds Path For Growth

March 16, 2010 10:57 am

Having recently retired, Philip Wilbur-with family in tow-opened the doors to HURRICANE'S Café & Deli in 2005. Among the traditional deli fare, HURRICANE'S offered quality soups and chowders, which were made entirely from all-natural, local ingredients. Soup sales took off, with volume quadrupling in a single year.


In Search Of Universal Sensors

March 16, 2010 10:16 am | by Wesley Sund, Brooks Instrument

You are working in a process development research laboratory. Wouldn’t it be easy if you could take a flow device off the shelf, install it, and have immediate, accurate and reliable measurements? This is a dream, a fantasy for some. Advances in sensor design, electronics and software, however, is bringing this day closer than ever through recently introduced developments.


Managing Energy With Modern Drive Systems

March 16, 2010 10:11 am | by Michael Perlman, Siemens Industry Inc., Motion Control Marketing Manager

While it is valid to state that energy efficiency is defined as the same level of production being achieved at an overall lower energy cost, it is equally important for today’s machine builders and automation engineers alike to remember than an energy-efficient system can actually translate into higher productivity.


Manufacturers Working To Save American Jobs

March 16, 2010 10:08 am | by Amanda Earing, News Editor, Manufacturing.Net

In an economy where manufacturers are struggling to stay afloat, some are also fighting to find ways to keep their workers employed. Save An American Job (SAAJ) is a branding and networking initiative designed to do just that. Save an American Job, founded by Don Rongione, CEO and President of the Bollman Hat Company, is a proactive initiative to encourage more Americans to buy American-made products and help manufacturers prevent job losses in the industry.

A Discussion Of HVAC Coil Coatings

March 12, 2010 8:52 am | by Joshua D. Sole, Ph.D., Senior Mechanical Engineer, and Alan H. Brothers, Ph.D., Senior Materials Engineer, Mainstream Engineering Corp.

Many HVAC manufacturers and distributors may not realize that hundreds of thousands of coil failures have occurred during the last decade from corrosion. The cause is most typically environmental pollutants, which range anywhere from salt-air, to household cleaning agents, pesticides, formaldehydes, building materials, and even off-gassing of food.


Ten Steps To DIY BPI

March 12, 2010 3:42 am | by Amy Radishofski, Features Editor,

Companies are always striving to make their businesses leaner and more efficient, so the concept of business process improvement (BPI) is nothing new to them. However, many companies default to a third party to help with the process. “There are several reasons why companies use consultants, usually either because they think BPI is more complicated than it is, they don’t feel that their employees have the required skills to do the work, they feel that they need better facilitation skills to lead the work, or they don’t believe that existing employees will eliminate a step in a process if it negatively affects their job,” said Susan Page, Manager, HRIS for a major entertainment company located in Orlando, FL.


Our 'Elements In Action'

March 10, 2010 11:22 am

The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) celebrates its centennial this year with this video dedicated to the importance four conspicuous metals have in our daily lives: iron, carbon, nickel, and aluminum. Although manufacturers deal with these materials on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget how our lives outside of work would be significantly different without them.

GM Robots Aim For Space

March 10, 2010 11:16 am

Continuing their long history of collaboration, NASA and GM partner up once more to design and build the R2, an industrial robot with human-like movements and dexterity. For GM, these robots are great at automating repetitive, dull, or ergonomically-challenging tasks. Whether it’s in manufacturing plants or in space, this new generation of robotics will help free workers up from repetitive manual labor and allow them to do things only humans can do: think.


Is Time Travel Possible?

March 10, 2010 11:13 am

TIME ’s resident science comedian Brian Malow asks a simple question: Is time travel really possible? According to Hollywood, it’s already happened, but if you ask world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, the answer is no. A few interesting paradoxes keep the nay-sayers with plenty of evidence, namely that if time travel were possible, we would already have seen travelers from the future.


From Racing To Hybrids

March 10, 2010 11:10 am

To the tune of some—ahem—sexy music, CNN's Jim Boulden takes a look into last week’s Geneva Auto Show, where the biggest automakers in the world unveiled their newest wheels. Between Spyker’s attention to detail, Morgan’s oh-so-British roadsters, and a Ferrari hybrid, this show has something for just about anyone.


Dribbling, Catching, Chopstick-Loving Robots

March 10, 2010 11:07 am

The Ishikawa Komuro Lab in Japan is developing some robotic “hand” technology that far outpaces its human counterparts. Using high-speed actuators with harmonic drive gears, the hand can open and close in 1/10 of a second. In addition, tactile sensors inside the fingers allow the robotic hand to grasp and handle almost any object with a grace normally reserved for humans.


When Words Collide

March 10, 2010 4:26 am | by Kim H. Pries and Jon M. Quigley PMP, Value Transformation, LLC

This is what many organizations espouse every day. However, these words often don’t match the actions of an organization toward its employees. If you consider a person as a consumable item, then perhaps this perspective is valid. 


How Does Your Gearbox Sound?

March 9, 2010 6:21 am | by Todd R. Bobak, Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Introduction Sound can be a very subjective thing. What may sound “unusual” to one individual may very well sound “normal” to another. As a method of diagnosing a potential problem with a gearbox or gearmotor, the sound coming from it should not solely be relied upon to determine whether-or-not a problem exists.


Bottler Bets On Stretch Wrapping Technology

March 9, 2010 3:23 am

The Lantech No Film Break stretch wrapper in action at Buffalo Rock Company, Birmingham, Alabama. Buffalo Rock Company—a private, family-owned Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes bottler—has the flexibility to make quick decisions, so when given the opportunity to shakedown an alpha model of Lantech's patent-pending No Film Break stretch wrapping machine in 2008, the company took the offer.


Turning Trash Into Cash

March 5, 2010 6:15 am

The holiday season always proves to be a busy time for retailers and wholesalers alike. Alexandra Foods Co., makers of the finest pierogies and Polish dumplings in the Chicago area are no different. The year-end rush for their products places an undue burden on their factory, which is unable to keep up with the amount of cardboard and plastic shipping and packing materials.


I Have Seen Many Weird And Wonderful Things

March 4, 2010 8:31 am | by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

In early 2010, Rollon added more than twenty years of linear motion experience to its roster by bringing Rick Wood on board as managing director. In the latest PD&D Fireside Chat, Wood taps into those 20 years to discuss bearing jokes, one-piece flow, silly ways to make money and the further weakening of the dollar — among other things.


Tweeting For Popcorn

March 3, 2010 10:36 am

Every once in a blue moon, someone comes up with a machine that’s utterly… worthless. Well, worthless but cool. A couple of guys hooked a hopper filled with popcorn to an Archimedes’s screw that only turns when someone uses the #popcorn hashtag on our favorite social media website, Twitter.


Aww, Shucks!

March 3, 2010 10:35 am

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame meets up with some oyster shuckers to learn the ins-and-outs of a dirty business. If you thought your job was tough, just think about shelling out thousands of oysters a day for $0.50 a pound. 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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