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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

Candy And Capital Punishment

November 11, 2010 9:54 am | by by Amy Lawrence, News Editor, Manufacturing.net

When I was younger, the scariest thing about Halloween was Michael Myers and the creepy woman down the street who was straight out of  Hansel and Gretel . Who knows what could have been in that candy? Jump ahead a decade or so, and you still don’t know what’s in the candy. Children’s jewelry has toxic metal.

And I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time

November 11, 2010 5:13 am | by by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

Knowing the implications such a device would have on my life expectancy, I will be the first in line to propel into the night on one of Rossy’s custom-made jet-propelled wingsuits. On the road again. The travel distance was greater than a five-hour drive, which means that I allowed myself to succumb to the will of the airlines.

Making The Grade

November 8, 2010 6:26 am | by by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing

So, your facility just went through a food safety audit and passed with flying colors. It’s time to celebrate, right? Um, maybe not so fast. While inspections are the key to preventing a food recall disaster, it’s the quality of the audit that really counts. Remember that massive salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 1,800 people? According to a  Washington Post article , one of the companies involved in the recall, Wright County Egg, received a “superior” rating from its auditor, AIB International, just two months before the recall hit.

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We're All Just Bugs

November 5, 2010 6:10 am | by by Joel Hans, Associate Editor, IMPO

A number of news sources — including the Associated Press — have recently reported that Google has been quietly working on research and development of hardware and software solutions toward a lofty goal: autonomous cars. According to a post on Google’s corporate blog, the self-driving vehicles have rolled over 140,000 miles on California roads with drivers sitting behind the wheel, ready to intervene in case of a malfunction.

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It's A Lowercase i-Dominated World

November 2, 2010 7:05 am | by by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

Apple is on a path to overtake Exxon as the largest company by market capitalization, and it's a strong — and troubling — signal that the market is no longer placing as high of a value on industrial companies that depend on traditional manufacturing, business spending, or natural resources for revenue.

I Can’t Believe I Got This Jetpack

November 1, 2010 5:52 am | by by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

Last week, the mainstream media announced the “retirement” of Sony’s cassette Walkman. After 30 years, the world’s first low-cost portable music player would cease manufacturing and distribution. I have to admit, the announcement evoked a quick wave of nostalgia, even though this was a product I never actually owned.

The Heat Is On Industry

October 29, 2010 7:44 am | by How do you keep cool? Let me know by e-mailing me at carrie.ellis@advantagemedia.com .

by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info As I near the close of yet another issue of Chem.Info, I can’t seem to tune out “The Heat is On,” an old relic from Glenn Frey, which has played like a broken record in my brain over the last couple of weeks. (Why that song in particular? I have no idea.

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