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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

New Biomass Conundrum: Where To Get Biomass?

May 17, 2010 4:34 am | by Becky Kramer, AP Writer

KETTLE FALLS, Wash. (AP) — Roaring furnaces unleash the energy of wood at Avista Corp.'s Kettle Falls generating station. Chips and bark become white-hot ash as temperatures soar to 2,500 degrees inside the massive seven-story furnaces. The searing heat produces steam, which runs a turbine for electricity.

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Explosion At Gun Manufacturer Caused By Single Machine

May 17, 2010 4:31 am

COLEBROOK, N.H. (AP) — The investigation into a series of explosions at a gun and ammunition manufacturing plant in far northern New Hampshire that killed two people has led to one machine, the state's fire marshal said Saturday. Bill Degnan said that the investigation into Friday's explosions at the MDM Muzzleloader building has led to a machine in the manufacturing section of the plant.

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GM Rides Expense Cuts, Strong Sales To Profitability

May 17, 2010 4:30 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin & Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. rode expense cuts from its bankruptcy and strong sales of redesigned models to its first quarterly net income in nearly three years. The $865 million first-quarter profit is a dramatic reversal from the huge $6 billion loss in the same period last year. The last time the company made a quarterly profit was the second quarter of 2007, when it earned $891 million.

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Building Solar Panels On The Strip

May 17, 2010 4:29 am

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A California company is planning to build a $20 million manufacturing plant for solar power cells in the Las Vegas area. The operation will employ about 278 workers, according to officials at Amonix Inc., which is based in Seal Beach, Calif. The plan was announced Saturday during a dedication ceremony in Henderson for a 308-kilowatt solar installation that the company sold to Southern Nevada Water Authority.

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Navistar Turns Stimulus Cash Into Electric Trucks

May 14, 2010 4:48 am

WAKARUSA, Ind. (AP) — An Elkhart County assembly line has begun turning out Navistar e-Star electric trucks that can travel 100 miles on a single charge. Navistar says the all-electric eStar medium-duty commercial truck being turned out in Wakarusa has batteries can be replaced in about 20 minutes and recharged in six to eight hours.

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China Releases American Engineer After 17 Months

May 14, 2010 4:41 am

by Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press Writer BEIJING (AP) — An American engineer held in China for more than a year on accusations he misused trade secrets has been released, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said Friday. Hu Zhicheng remains in China but plans to return home soon. The embassy said he was released late last month, but did not have an exact date.

Toyota To Idle Thai Plant Over Political Unrest

May 14, 2010 4:37 am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota said Friday it will halt production at one of its four auto plants in Thailand and transfer the workers to the other factories in a move the carmaker says is unrelated to political unrest in the Southeast Asian country. Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Takanori Yokoi said decision to stop production at a Toyota factory on the outskirts of the Thai capital Bangkok was made in November last year.

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Ohio Unlikely To Land $1 Billion Russian Steel Plant

May 14, 2010 4:30 am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The governor is acknowledging that hope has faded for a Russian steelmaking company's plans for a $1 billion steel mill in southern Ohio. Amanda Wurst, spokeswoman for Gov. Ted Strickland, said Thursday the state has not heard from Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works for some time.

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The 'Clouds Are Breaking' On Manufacturing

May 14, 2010 4:28 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industrial production is growing more strongly, more evidence that manufacturing is helping to power the economic recovery. Output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.6 percent in April, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters. If they are right, that would mark an improvement from the 0.

The Great Neck Invests $1 Billion In S.C Plant

May 14, 2010 4:26 am

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is getting some big economic news with word of a New York-based paper products company spending up to $1 billion on a new plant. State Rep. Dan Cooper of Piedmont says Friday's announcement would be good news for Anderson County, which has a 12.5 percent unemployment rate.

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EPA Moves To Regulate Industrial Greenhouse Gases

May 14, 2010 4:25 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency moved Thursday to more tightly control air pollution from large power plants, factories and oil refineries, a step to limit emissions widely blamed for global warming. The EPA said it is completing a rule requiring large polluters to reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that they release into the air.

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Manufacturing Tech Consumption Up 33.7 Percent

May 13, 2010 10:52 am

March U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $258.00 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association, and AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was up 58.

Ford Leads The Way For American Automakers

May 12, 2010 5:15 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Stephen Manning, AP Auto Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — During the depths of the auto industry's collapse a year ago, Ford told shareholders at its annual meeting that they might have to wait until 2011 before the company started making money again. It turns out they didn't have to wait that long. Thanks to well-reviewed cars and trucks, aggressive cost-cutting and goodwill from consumers for avoiding a taxpayer bailout, Ford Motor Co.

'Green' Movement Hopes Oil Spill Will Spur Major Change

May 12, 2010 4:45 am | by Tamara Lush, Associated Press

VENICE, La. (AP) — In the weeks after an oil rig exploded and killed 11 men in the Gulf of Mexico, worried environmental groups scoured the water for oil plumes, set up animal triage centers and stretched boom across shorelines. Activists hope their involvement doesn't end there; maybe, they contend, this is the catalyst that America's green movement needs.

Nikon Workers Protest Over Gas Poisoning

May 12, 2010 4:29 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Officials in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi are investigating after workers from a factory of Japanese camera maker Nikon Corp. protested over the handling of an apparent gas poisoning incident. Local media reports said more than 50 workers at Nikon Imaging (China) Co.

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Trade Deficit Rises To 15-Month High

May 12, 2010 4:27 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit rose to a 15-month high as rising oil prices pushed crude oil imports to the highest level since the fall of 2008, offsetting another strong gain in exports. The larger deficit is evidence of a rebounding U.S. economy. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit rose 2.

Remington Arms Plans Expansion, 100 New Jobs

May 12, 2010 4:22 am

ILION, N.Y. (AP) — About 100 new jobs are expected within the next year at a Mohawk Valley firearms manufacturing plant scheduled for a nearly $6 million expansion project. State and Herkimer County officials announced the new jobs and expansion Tuesday at the Remington Arms Co. plant in Ilion (IHL'-ee-uhn), 55 miles east of Syracuse.

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Foxconn Defends Labor Practices After Eigth Suicide

May 12, 2010 4:21 am

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's Foxconn Technology, a contract maker of the iPhone and other consumer electronics, insisted Wednesday its treatment of workers is world class after a female employee became the company's eighth Chinese worker to commit suicide this year. "We regret to see the recurrence of such incidents," Foxconn said in statement that came a day after a 24-year-old Foxconn factory worker surnamed Chu killed herself by jumping from her rented apartment in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

GM Teams Up To Helm Hawaii's Hydrogen Car Project

May 12, 2010 4:20 am

HONOLULU (AP) — The Gas Co. and General Motors Co. have teamed up on a pilot project to test hydrogen refueling technology for fuel cell vehicles in Hawaii. The companies said Tuesday that the project will take advantage of The Gas Co.'s 1,000 miles of pipeline on Oahu and its ability to produce hydrogen at its plant at Campbell Industrial Park, which makes synthetic natural gas from byproducts of imported petroleum.

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U.S. Automakers Paying On Par With Foreign Rivals For Labor

May 11, 2010 4:46 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT — After years of paying their U.S. manufacturing workers more than their foreign rivals, Detroit's automakers are now paying the same amount as foreign companies and could even achieve a labor cost advantage in the next few years, an economist with the Center for Automotive Research said Monday.

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