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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

One In An Undecillion

February 10, 2011 3:12 am | by by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

CNN Tech taught me a new word last week: Undecillion. That’s right… we’re making stuff up now. Numbers, in fact. If forced to guess what exists an undecillion times in our world—in order to require this made-up sounding number—I might start with plankton or fleas, grains of sand or former child actor felonies.

Consumer Choice: Beyond The Labels

February 8, 2011 6:49 am | by by Krystal Gabert, Editor, Food Manufacturing

At a time when many businesses — especially those in the manufacturing sector — are hurting, facing employee layoffs and severe cutbacks, companies in the food industry are faring better. As 2010 data is released, it paints a picture of a fairly resilient industry, one not as vulnerable to the whims of consumers or the general state of the economy.

Reaping The Green

February 7, 2011 7:38 am | by by Lauren Kiesow, Associate Editor, Manufacturing.net

Manufacturers have a lot to worry about these days. From the competitiveness of the global marketplace to the seemingly never-ending attempts at heightening efficiency, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae without a clear idea as to where to begin.  But becoming bigger and better often requires some sort of expenditure.

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Scared Straight By Foreign Object Damage

February 4, 2011 10:28 am | by by Joel Hans, Associate Editor, IMPO

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Dallas at the request of Snap-On, the well-known manufacturer of all things tooling. At the event, they educated me and other members of the press on a tool crib that takes all of the hassle out of asset management. All tools removed from the crib are automatically detected by the system.

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Outsourcing My Self-Control

January 31, 2011 5:24 am | by by Kim Ukura, Associate Editor, Product Design & Development (PD&D)

Most of my New Year’s resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits or developing good new ones: cutting back on frivolous spending, wasting less time online, and getting to the gym more often. The problem that I have — a problem shared by about almost 70 percent  of American and British adults — is breaking a bad habit alone.

Pouring Your Efforts Down The Drain

January 25, 2011 10:12 am | by by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed cooking. There is something about dancing around the kitchen with a glass of wine, listening to jazz and testing the limits of my mind’s intuition for spices. I’ve heard it said that being a cook is one of those ‘either ya got it or ya don’t’ kind of things, and I tend to agree.

Calling Out Costco 

January 24, 2011 5:30 am | by by Lauren Kiesow, Associate Editor, Manufacturing.net

After calling on Costco for years and getting nowhere, one manufacturer took some unorthodox steps toward gaining access to a targeted distributor. Mitch Liss is the president of Edsal Mfg. Co. Inc., an American manufacturer of steel shelving based out of Chicago. His company started humbly, opening in the 1950s out of a small garage with roughly $800 and some simple machinery.

Drunken Birds

January 17, 2011 8:35 am | by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, Chem.Info

It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but I’ll take it. The dozens of birds found dead in Romania on Saturday was the latest in a spate of mass bird deaths around the world. Whereas noconcrete explanations have been found for the deaths reported throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, Romanian officials were able to trace the problem back to a substance known as “marc” — the residue left over from wine grape processing.

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Safety In A Bottle

January 14, 2011 4:40 am | by by Krystal Gabert, Editor, Food Manufacturing

This Editor's Note first appeared in the  November/December 2010 issue  of  Food Manufacturing . Though reports on the safety of using BPA in plastic packaging conflict, the industry must ensure that the chemical is safe at all exposure levels. As someone who has begun to feel more comfortable inside a convention hall than inside my living room, I’m very happy to report that November’s PACK EXPO was definitely the busiest trade show I’ve been to this year.

Singing The 'Blue-Collar Blues' On $10 Million A Year

January 11, 2011 5:08 am | by by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

It is time to begrudgingly accept that we live (and work) in a world of haves and have-nots, and there’s a growing difference between the two groups. One cannot help but wonder why General Motors CEO Dan Akerson didn’t think twice — or perhaps even once — before he opened his mouth and started speaking.

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Give Your Brain A Break Today

January 7, 2011 9:48 am | by by Nancy Maas, Editor in Chief, Wireless Design & Development

We need to cut back on our consumption of media, our connectivity, and how much we multitask, even if it is only for a few minutes a day to start. There is a lively debate going on among scientists over whether technology’s influence on behavior and the brain is good or bad, and how significant it is.

A Quality New Year’s Resolution

January 6, 2011 11:16 am | by by Meaghan Ziemba, Associate Editor, Product Design and Development

Excellence without exception. What a great mission to live by, especially in today’s markets where some companies seem to have forgotten the importance of quality and replaced its importance by prioritizing quantity. Before the New Year I made a visit to Forest City Gear (FCG), a small gear manufacturer in Roscoe, IL.

What Is The Future Of Food Manufacturing?

December 22, 2010 10:15 am | by by Lauren Kiesow, Associate Editor, Manufacturing.net

Salmonella. E-coli. Listeria. These are the words people have started to fear more and more; they’re practically swears. From cilantro and spinach to peanut butter and eggs, food recalls have been springing up with increased frequency in the past year or so. The litany of outbreaks — resulting in product fear, illness and, in some instances, death — has people demanding safer consumables.

Talk About The Sleeping Dragon

December 22, 2010 3:58 am | by by Kim Ukura, Associate Editor, PD&D

Anyone who has ever worked in an office can appreciate some of the humor of NBC’s  The Office  – even if we haven’t had a boss like the bumbling and offensive Michael Scott. In an episode earlier this month, Michael arrived to work after a morning dentist appointment with some alarming news: “China is going to pass us as the number one global super power! When did this happen?” Michael’s concerns about China – repeated to his coworkers from the news magazine feature he read at the dentist’s office – are both serious and ridiculous.

Merry Christmas — You're Fired

December 17, 2010 9:05 am | by by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

The fireplace is burning, heated blanket warming, frosting mixed, cookies cut, ornaments hanging, everything is perfect. You sit on the plaid and slightly tattered couch under the glow of the Christmas tree, and you smile when you hear a frigid hand scraping the key against the lock. The deadbolt loosens, the door slowly opens, and after a hard day’s work, she stands before you in the red and green speckled glow.

Fiscal Responsibility Is A Double-Edged Sword

December 14, 2010 4:32 am | by by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

When it comes to spending money, a prudent approach is a wise approach. But it’s when we allow fear and doubt about our financial future to creep into our minds that we prevent ourselves from seizing opportunities, leaving us unable to act in the best interests of ourselves, or our families, and/or our business enterprises.

(Re)Calling Upon Our Nation

December 10, 2010 5:27 am | by by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info

I’m admittedly not much of a cook (plus, who has the time?), so I defect frequently to a diverse range of restaurants in Madison, whether chain or independent, and I relish that I have enough freedom to do so. But this year, I’ve found myself surrendering celery at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Counterpoint: Threats To A Safe Food Supply

December 7, 2010 7:52 am | by by Krystal Gabert, Editor, Food Manufacturing

The exemption of small producers from the regulations contained within the Food Safety Modernization Act may ease the burden of an agency already spread too thin. Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, granting more regulatory authority to the FDA. The future of the bill is uncertain, as the  senate’s inclusion of a fee structure  to fund the bill deviates from parliamentary rules, and even if the congress is able to get the bill on track, it must return to the house to be reconciled with the original version passed there.

Point: Small Doesn’t Mean Safe

December 7, 2010 7:51 am | by by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing

The food safety bill has cleared the Senate and is headed back to the House, but not without some changes. One amendment looks to exempt smaller producers from FDA regulation which, if kept in the legislation, will compromise the agency’s ability to ensure a completely safe U.S. food supply.

Breaking Up Over Coffee

November 23, 2010 9:08 am | by by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing

Breaking up is a very delicate art with so many intricate details. There is the venue—do you do it over the phone or in person? If you do it in person, should you do it over dinner, or maybe something shorter like a cup of coffee? The café breakup is often a popular choice. It’s short and sweet, and let’s face it, the pang of heartbreak may be slightly lessened by ingesting legal stimulants.

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