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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

CAT To Expand Texas Plant With $130 Million Investment

June 17, 2011 7:55 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. says it will expand its hydraulic excavator plantcurrently under construction in Victoria, Texas, and add 100 more jobs to the original plans for 500 employees. Caterpillar announced the $130 million, 850,000 square foot plant in August.

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Plastic Manufacturer To Invest $6 Million In Va. Plant

June 17, 2011 5:03 am

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Plastics manufacturer Presto Products Co. is expanding its operations in Halifax County, creating 22 jobs over the next three years. Gov. Bob McDonnell said Friday that the company will invest $6 million to add five new manufacturing lines. Presto is a supplier of products ranging from private label food and disposer bags to packaging closures, soil stabilization materials and specialty stretch films.

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HP Sues Oracle In Friend-Turned-Foe Scenario

June 17, 2011 4:50 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co. has sued its friend-turned-foe Oracle Corp. in another sign of how badly the relationship between the information technology big shots has frayed. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, accuses Oracle of behaving illegally in deciding that future versions of its database software won't support a particular line of HP servers.

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Kentucky Jobless Rate Drops Below Double Digits

June 17, 2011 4:20 am | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's jobless rate in May dipped below double digits for the first time since early 2009, but high gas and food prices coupled with supply disruptions from Japan that hit manufacturing "weighed down" the job market, a state labor official said Thursday. The unemployment rate fell to 9.

RIM Earnings Down As Blackberry Fails To Compete

June 17, 2011 4:13 am | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.'s quarterly results on Thursday provided fresh evidence of the company's struggles to come up with a device to compete with the iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android operating system. The Waterloo, Ontario, company reported a nearly 10 percent drop in its fiscal first-quarter net income.

Bunk Beds Recalled After Boy Dies In Accident

June 17, 2011 4:12 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 30,000 bunk beds have been recalled because of the threat of children becoming entrapped in the bed, a federal consumer agency said Thursday. A 3-year-old Iowa boy died after such a mishap in March 2010. Big Lots of Columbus, Ohio, issued the voluntary recall of the metal futon bunk beds, which can entrap a child when the futon and its metal frame are lowered to a flat position.

Toyoda Promises Full Recovery, A Revived Automaker

June 17, 2011 4:06 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — President Akio Toyoda promised shareholders a revived Toyota despite the production disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami that decimated northeastern Japan on March 11, and first offered his prayers for those killed. The disaster dominated Friday's annual shareholders at Toyota Motor Corp.

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United Tech. Exec: Boeing Will Win Labor Dispute

June 16, 2011 9:37 am | by Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The chief financial officer of United Technologies Corp. said Thursday that Boeing Co. will ultimately prevail in its battle with the National Labor Relations Board over the plane-maker's decision to build a non-union production line in South Carolina. At an investor analyst conference, Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes said unions and their political allies are on the losing side of the argument.

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Terex Ups Offer For Demag To $1.38 Billion

June 16, 2011 9:33 am

WESTPORT, Connecticut (AP) — Machinery products manufacturer Terex Corp. raised its offer for Demag Cranes AG on Thursday by more than 9 percent to $1.38 billion, and the German company indicated it expects to be able to recommend that its shareholders accept it. Terex's German unit is now offering euro45.

Unemployment Data Offers Hope Of Spring Slump Recovery

June 16, 2011 9:27 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber and Derek Kravitz, AP Economics Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and builders broke ground on more homes in May. The latest data offered some hope that the economy may be improving after hitting a slump in late spring. Unemployment benefit applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the Labor Department said.

BMW To Add New Shift At S.C. Plant

June 16, 2011 9:18 am

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — BMW in South Carolina is adding a new shift of workers in October to increase production by at least 20,000 more vehicles. BMW president of manufacturing Josef Kerscher says the Greer plant is at capacity after a $750 million expansion. Kerscher says he wants to move from 240,000 vehicles to more than 260,000 vehicles annually.

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IBM Succession Chatter Heats Up Near Centennial

June 16, 2011 9:14 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As IBM turns 100 this year, the anniversary coincides with another milestone: CEO Sam Palmisano is turning 60, the typical age at which an IBM CEO retires. With succession chatter growing, Palmisano has tried to tamp down speculation that he's ready to step aside, even as he's put a spotlight on his possible heirs.

Boeing: Airlines Will Need $4 Trillion In Jets By 2030

June 16, 2011 9:10 am | by Greg Keller, AP Business Writer

PARIS (AP) — Boeing Co. upped its forecast Thursday for aircraft demand over the next 20 years, saying airlines will need $4 trillion worth of new planes to meet a pickup in passenger numbers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Airlines will need 33,500 new jets from now through 2030, Boeing said in a statement.

Honeywell Expands Its Limitless Platform

June 16, 2011 6:57 am

Revolutionary industrial wireless receiver connects up to 14 Limitless™ inputs to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)   MINNEAPOLIS, June 15, 2011 — Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today introduced its new Limitless™ WDRR Wireless Din-Rail Receiver for industrial, construction, machine, material handling, and heavy transportation applications, including agricultural equipment, cranes, lifts, conveyors, grain diverters, and door positions.

Polaris To Close Fargo Plant, Move Production To Iowa

June 15, 2011 9:32 am

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Polaris Industries Inc. plans to close the Global Electric Motorcars plant in Fargo by the end of the year. GEM builds electric-powered vehicles. The business started in 1997 and was sold to Chrysler in 2000. Polaris bought GEM from Chrysler in April. Polaris plans to move the GEM manufacturing operation to its plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

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Boeing To Produce More 737s On 'Unprecedented' Sales

June 15, 2011 9:07 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. will ramp up production of the next-generation 737, its most popular jet. The world's second-biggest maker of commercial planes said Wednesday that it plans to build 42 of the jets per month by the first half of 2014. Then it will boost production further to an average of two of the planes per workday for a total of nearly 500 a year.

J&J To Stop Making Stents, Cut Jobs, Take $500M Charge

June 15, 2011 9:02 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it will stop making and developing heart stents to focus on other stent types, a case of the pioneer in effect ceding that territory of the stent market to later entrants amid increasingly fierce competition and flat sales. In a surprise move, the company that produced the first drug-coated heart stent, Cypher, now will abandon it, with sales barely a quarter of their peak five years ago.

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Dolby Sues Blackberry-Maker For Patent Infringement

June 15, 2011 8:39 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dolby International, a unit of audio equipment maker Dolby Laboratories Inc., is suing Research In Motion Ltd. for patent infringement in the U.S. and Germany. Dolby alleges that RIM's Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablet devices use its patented digital audio compression technology, which enables the playback of high-quality audio files using limited amounts of storage space, without a license.

Styrene-Cancer Warnings Could Trouble Industries

June 15, 2011 8:35 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A Jefferies analyst said Wednesday that chemical companies that make styrene could suffer following its addition to the government's list of cancer-causing chemicals, but the food industry and manufacturers will still need them. Analyst Laurence Alexander said in some cases there are few alternatives to styrene.

U.S. Factory Output Rebounded, Recovered In May

June 15, 2011 8:03 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories rebounded in May to produce more business equipment and construction materials. The gains offset supply disruptions stemming from the Japan crises that have weighed on American auto companies. Factory production increased 0.4 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

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