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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

August 26, 2009 12:18 pm

In this video from Gemba Academy, the history of “lean manufacturing” is dissected and presented in a simple, easy-to-follow manner. While the subject is usually, and ironically, obscured with buzzwords and unnecessary details, this video would be an excellent first base for a new employee or someone just arriving in the manufacturing field.

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Hop On The 10-Seater Harley

August 26, 2009 12:10 pm

Steve "Doc" Hopkins had the opportunity to show off his design and technical chops with this 10-seater Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he claims represents a “timeline” of Harley history, at the Sturgis rally in 2009. See how the Wisconsin native is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the customization-heavy Harley culture, however bizarre his latest creation.

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I Didn't Mean To Burst Your Bubble

August 26, 2009 12:04 pm

“How It's Made” takes you inside a bubble gum manufacturing plant. See how the process begins, as plastics and rubbers are combined with flavor and glucose syrup, and ends up as the confectioner's delight we all know and love. Did you know that bubble gum's traditionally pink flavor originated because the inventor had only that color on hand?

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Q&A: Rediscovering the Edison Nation

August 20, 2009 4:54 am

N.J. Slabbert is an award-winning writer and scholar, and co-author of the recent book, “Innovation, The Key To Prosperity: Technology & America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy,” with Aris Melissaratos. The book explains how science and technology drove America’s previous economic prosperity but that America lost its technological momentum in the second half of the 20th century.

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Unit Load AS/RS Acts As A Temporary Buffer

August 19, 2009 11:42 am

This automated storage and retrieval system at the Cox Target Media Valpak facility has two storage retrieval machines and is configured to hold both full and empty print rolls. Rolls are delivered and removed from the AS/RS by automatic guided vehicles (AGVs).

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'Extract' Draws Out Manufacturing Humor

August 19, 2009 11:38 am

Mike Judge, creator of Office Space , returns with Extract , a film about the owner of a food manufacturing plant. Starring Jason Bateman as the plant operator and Ben Affleck as a local bartender. If nothing else, the film will no doubt thoroughly tackle the important issues of employee relations, co-worker romance, and the various safety hazards presented to male workers.

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The Chinese Steel Steal

August 19, 2009 11:19 am | by OurFuture.org

China has created a larger steel-manufacturing infrastructure in the last four years than the US has in existence. Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, explains how Chinese steel manufacturers are able to undercut American producers for lesser-quality product.

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Microsoft: Future Manufacturing Will Be Beautiful, Seamless

August 19, 2009 11:11 am

Microsoft's Future Vision: Someday, the manufacturing of old will be gone, and in its place will be 21st century innovation in order to create a seamless transition from design, to prototyping, to manufacturing, and finally the showroom floor. While most of these technologies are within our grasp, it will take an enormous effort to push old infrastructures into a new age.

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Ramen-Making Robots Kick Chefs To The Curb

August 19, 2009 11:09 am | by ITN News

High-tech robots mix and match a seeemingly-endless flavor selection of Ramen noodles at a restaurant in Japan. The owner-designer claims his robots are more efficient and accurate than their human counterparts. Could these automated food connoisseurs be the next revolution in food preparation? The American equivalent — hamburgers and french fries — might be the next target for restauranteers looking to save a buck.

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The Future of Energy Harvesting

August 14, 2009 11:30 am | by Jonathan C. Smith, IDSA, Senior Industrial Designer

Energy Harvesting? Let’s begin by establishing a definition for the phrase. Energy harvesting as defined on Wikipedia - is the process by which energy is derived from external sources (e.g., solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy), that is captured, and stored.

Top 5 Energy Management System Considerations

August 14, 2009 10:15 am | by Gus Ezcurra, CEO, Advanced Telemetry

The economy has forced most if not all U.S. companies to seek ways to reduce non-essential and otherwise variable costs. A new opportunity has emerged in recent years with the advent of affordable lightweight energy management systems that can be controlled on-site or remotely.

Fighting Fire With Fire

August 13, 2009 10:04 am | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

“It was a scary night,” says Quandt, of the blaze that broke out around 8 pm back in May at the chemical distributor’s Columbus, WI facility. “We have a lot of inventory; there were well over 1,000 chemicals involved in that fire. Those of us who work here thought we’d lost it all.

Q&A with Greg Polli, MSC Industrial Direct

August 13, 2009 9:39 am

A: The recent economic crisis has obviously had an effect on most companies around the world. The credit crunch, along with instability and uncertainty, has temporarily reshaped how business is done and some of those changes may prove to be permanent. As demand has dropped off in many areas, manufacturers are facing increased pressure for high quality service.

Refloating The Boats

August 13, 2009 9:36 am | by Mike Collins

The old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats used to apply to the American economy. It used to mean that good economic policy could grow all sectors of the economy, which would raise the living standards of all Americans. It was a time when the American Dream was truly attainable by any American worker with determination.

IPM For The IMP

August 13, 2009 8:12 am | by Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services, Orkin, Inc.

As a maintenance professional, you know that for every preventive maintenance measure you take, you save dollars, time, and headaches in the long-run. Your pest management program is no different. By implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, you can help prevent disease-carrying pests from ever entering your facility, reducing possible product contamination and destruction, lost profits, or negative media attention.

Inside GM's Electrifying 2011 Chevrolet Volt

August 13, 2009 5:54 am | by MyRideVideos

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt represents a direction for GM, and maybe you guessed by the name, one that is focused on electricity. In fact, although technically a hybrid, the Chevy Volt uses only electric power to move the wheels. For trips up to 40 miles, the Volt is powered by electricity stored in its lithium-ion battery.

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Yes, It Could Even Scan And Print Jay's Chin

August 13, 2009 4:28 am

NextEngine's 3D Scanner — Everything you need to scan and digitize 3D models at a reasonable price. Made in America. Via Jay's Garage . See why 3D scanning and rapid prototyping could change the game for hobbyists, restoration specialists, and even the most mainstream of manufacturers.

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Bait And Switch: A Product Disaster Story

August 12, 2009 12:23 pm

3 tips for communicating the right product information to your suppliers every time. Tucked between the hills in a dense patch of pines halfway between Boise and Idaho City is the home office of Fogg Island Tackle. The brainchild of a cadre of entrepreneurial fishing enthusiasts who met as engineering undergrads at Stanford, FIT is a hip, young company frequently profiled in the trade press for its cutting-edge design and manufacturing processes and for pushing the technological envelope of recreational fishing.

Sweco Looks Up For Answers To Improving Its Painting Operation

August 11, 2009 9:31 am

Sweco, a manufacturer of industrial particle separation equipment, wanted to streamline its parts painting operation. The process includes blasting the many parts and components that go into the assembly of the company’s equipment with steel shot, then painting, and properly drying the parts after the primer or paint is applied.

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Inconvenient Sourcing Truths

August 11, 2009 8:20 am | by Josh Green

Josh Green This weekend, word spread that a major African supplier to Gap and Levi is suspected of harming people and the environment. According to a report in London’s Sunday Times , the Lesotho facility of Taiwan-based supplier Nien Hsing is dumping harmful chemicals into a river that serves as a source of drinking water.

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