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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Russian Plant Deemed Unsafe In 1998, Infrastructure Failing

August 21, 2009 9:03 am | by Nataliya Vasilyeva

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities were reportedly warned back in 1998 that Siberia's massive Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant had fallen into serious neglect and was unsafe. On Friday, 47 people were confirmed dead and dozens were still missing after an explosion Monday at the plant — an accident that has revealed the dangers of Russia's creaking infrastructure.


MN Ethanol Plant Fined For Lake Dumping

August 21, 2009 8:26 am

WINNEBAGO, Minn. (AP) — Owners of an ethanol plant in Winnebago have agreed to pay a $100,000 fine after pleading guilty to a federal charge of violating the Clean Water Act. Corn Plus also agreed to make a $50,000 contribution to benefit Rice Lake. Federal and state pollution officials charged the company Aug.


Chrysler Workers Wait For Answers From Italy

August 21, 2009 4:56 am | by Tom Krishner, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — At a Jeep factory in Toledo, Ohio, workers fear that Chrysler's new Italian management will scrap one of the two models they make, costing some of them their jobs. The same anxiety is felt at Chrysler Group LLC plants around the country as Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne, who now controls the company, readies a new plan that will include cutting redundant models and adding smaller Fiats to the lineup.


PA Gov. Fights to Keep Harley from Relocating

August 21, 2009 4:21 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. is reportedly considering Kansas City and three other towns for a new assembly plant. The Kansas City Star reported on its Web site that company officials met with city and economic development leaders Thursday about locating a second plant near the existing Harley plant north of town.


Chinese Smelter 500 Yards From Schools Poisons 1,300

August 21, 2009 4:13 am | by Alexa Olesen, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China has detained two factory officials after 1,300 children were poisoned by pollution from a manganese processing plant, days after emissions from a lead smelter in another province sickened hundreds. Both cases have sparked unrest and come amid growing anger in China over public safety scandals in which children have been the main victims.


Toyota Increases Production At Multiple US Plants

August 21, 2009 3:56 am

ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) — Toyota said Friday that it will boost capacity at its engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., to allow it to produce four-cylinder engines for two additional North American assembly plants. The expansion will allow the Alabama plant to produce 216,000 four-cylinder engines annually.


Workplace Suicides Surge 28 Percent

August 20, 2009 11:40 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workplace suicides surged 28 percent last year, the Labor Department said Thursday, as experts said anxious workers watched colleagues depart in a rash of layoffs and faced survivor's guilt. At the same time, the agency's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of workers who died on the job from any cause fell by 10 percent.

Cash For Clunkers To End Monday

August 20, 2009 11:32 am | by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's revived business at car dealerships, taken gas-guzzlers off the road and given a badly needed boost to struggling auto factories. By many measures, the government's Cash for Clunkers program has been a success. Yet as it winds down, there is another lasting image: the hasty planning and troubled execution that nearly derailed the program early on and, lately, has led some frustrated dealers to drop out amid long waits for the government money.


ND Burns Off 1/3 Natural Gas Supply

August 20, 2009 10:12 am | by James MacPherson, Associated Press Writer

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Enough natural gas to heat every home in North Dakota through at least two brutal winters was burned off as an unmarketable byproduct in the state's oil patch in 2008, records obtained by The Associated Press show. North Dakota produced a record 62.8 million barrels of oil last year, up nearly 18 million barrels from 2007.


Porsche Ex-CEO Investigated For Market Manipulation

August 20, 2009 8:01 am

FRANKFURT (AP) — Porsche SE ex-chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and his former finance chief are under investigation in a probe that involves suspicions of market manipulation. Company spokesman Frank Gaube on Thursday confirmed German media reports that Wiedeking and ex-CFO Holger Haerter are being investigated by Stuttgart prosecutors in connection with the company's unsuccessful attempt to acquire larger automaker Volkswagen AG.

NY Dealers Withdraw From CARS Program By Hundreds

August 19, 2009 9:39 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of auto dealers in the New York area have withdrawn from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, citing delays in getting reimbursed by the government, a dealership group said Wednesday. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which represents dealerships in the New York metro area, said about half its 425 members have left the program because they cannot afford to offer more rebates.

Deere Down 27 Percent

August 19, 2009 5:11 am | by Daniel Lovering, AP Manufacturing Writer

Deere & Co. posted a 27 percent decline in third-quarter profit Wednesday as the slumping global economy continued to depress sales of its tractors, bulldozers and other products. But the results easily beat Wall Street expectations. The world's largest maker of farm equipment said it expected the biggest single-year sales drop in at least 50 years in 2009, but reiterated an annual profit forecast of $1.

Dump Truck Flips, Killing 25 Indonesian Plantation Workers

August 19, 2009 4:19 am | by Niniek Karmini, Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A dump truck packed with more than 60 Indonesian plantation workers and their families overturned, killing at least 25 and injuring dozens, police and a doctor said Wednesday. At least three children were among the dead. The passengers were riding in the back of the open truck Tuesday night when the driver swerved to avoid damage in the road, which was under construction, and the vehicle flipped over near Sampit town in Central Kalimantan, police spokesman Made Ardana said.


Gerber Fined $900,000 For Discrimination

August 19, 2009 4:15 am

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that Gerber Products Co. in Fort Smith will pay $900,000 to settle allegations of hiring discrimination. The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs on Tuesday announced the agreement to pay 1,912 minorities and females.

2 Guilty Of Hiring Illegal Workers In WA Plant

August 19, 2009 4:11 am | by Manuel Valdes, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Two members of a family that owns an engine company in Washington state pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of knowingly hiring undocumented workers. The case stems from an immigration raid in February on Yamato Engine Specialists of Bellingham — the first such action after President Barack Obama took office calling for stepped up efforts to prosecute the companies that hire undocumented workers.


Death Toll In Russian Plant Rises To 14, 60 Missing

August 19, 2009 4:07 am | by Nataliya Vasilyeva, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW (AP) — Rescue workers found two bodies Wednesday in the destroyed engine room of Russia's largest hydroelectric plant, raising the accident's official death toll to 14, officials said. Sixty other workers are missing and feared dead at the massive Sayano-Shushenskaya power station in southern Siberia after an explosion during repairs Monday blew out walls and caused the turbine room to flood.


'Flowers For Clunkers'? No Joke For IL Florist

August 19, 2009 4:02 am | by Michael Tarm, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) — The government is giving cash for clunkers. It isn't sending flowers. Still, a small-town florist in central Illinois has been fielding hundreds of calls a day from people inquiring about the rebate program after General Motors began advertising a national toll-free cash-for-clunkers number that's nearly identical to the shop's toll-free number.


Ford Envisions Vehicles Interacting With Power Grids

August 19, 2009 3:59 am | by Kimberly S. Johnson, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday its future electric cars will "talk" to power grids across the country, allowing car owners to control when they charge vehicles and for how long. The nation's second-largest automaker released details of a two-year collaboration with 10 utility companies and the Department of Energy on the design of a system it hopes will drive greater interest in alternative energy vehicles.

GM Adds 60,000 Vehicles To Production, Re-Hires 1,350

August 18, 2009 9:49 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says it will add 60,000 vehicles to its production in the third and fourth quarters, spurred partly by demand from the government's Cash for Clunkers program. The automakers says it will bring back about 1,350 laid-off workers in the U.S. and Canada to bolster production at factories.


Boeing Awarded $98M Air Force Contract

August 18, 2009 6:33 am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Boeing Co.'s McDonnell Douglas Corp. received a $98 million contract to provide integration and production services for the laser joint direct attack munitions systems on various aircraft, the Pentagon said late Monday. The deal from the Air Force would apply to aircraft purchased under foreign military sales.


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