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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

DIY Engineering With An Industrial-Strength Workshop

March 28, 2011 4:41 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In the tech-obsessed South of Market neighborhood that digital sensations like Twitter and Zynga call home, a newfangled workshop for would-be inventors blends a startup sensibility with the area's historic manufacturing roots to give geeks a chance to get out from behind the keyboard.

Chinese Factory Manager Arrested For Lead Poisoning

March 28, 2011 4:33 am

BEIJING (AP) — State media say a battery factory manager was arrested after 168 villagers living near the manufacturer in eastern China suffered lead poisoning. The official Xinhua News Agency says Ying Jianguo, general manager of Taizhou Suqi Storage Battery Co. Ltd., was taken into custody Friday in the city of Taizhou in Zhejiang province.

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Auto Industry Supply Issues To Get Much Worse

March 28, 2011 4:31 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach and Sharon Silke Carty, AP Business Writers

TOKYO (AP) — The auto industry disruptions triggered by Japan's earthquake and tsunami are about to get worse. In the weeks ahead, car buyers will have difficulty finding the model they want in certain colors, thousands of auto plant workers will likely be told to stay home, and companies such as Toyota, Honda and others will lose billions of dollars in revenue.

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CAT CEO Threatens To Leave Illinois In Letter To Gov.

March 28, 2011 4:28 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The chief executive of Caterpillar wrote a letter to Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn raising the possibility the heavy equipment company could move out of Illinois because of concerns that the direction the state is heading isn't favorable to business. In a letter to Gov.

UAW: GM Plans To Boost Hiring With 2,000 Recalls

March 25, 2011 4:46 am

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union says General Motors Co. plans to recall the last 2,000 of its laid-off workers by this fall, clearing the way for new hiring at its U.S. plants. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report that word about the jobs came Wednesday at a union meeting in Detroit that set goals for bargaining a new labor contract with automakers later this year.

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Jobless Benefits Drop, Signaling Growth-Heavy 2011

March 25, 2011 4:37 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, adding to evidence that layoffs are slowing and employers may be stepping up hiring. The number of people seeking benefits dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 in the week ended March 19, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Bolt Failures Cause Blades To Fly Off Wind Turbine

March 25, 2011 4:35 am | by Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bolt failures caused a wind turbine's rotor and blades to fall from a tower in north-central North Dakota, and six other turbines have been shut down while their bolts are replaced, a state regulator said Thursday. Members of North Dakota's Public Service Commission, which oversaw the development of the 71-turbine wind farm, said Thursday they would seek more detailed information about how widespread the problems may be.

J&J Announces 20th Recall Since September 2009

March 25, 2011 4:28 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon unit is recalling a group of medical drainage products because of concerns about the sterility of the products. Ethicon, which makes sutures and other surgical products, said it received customer complaints that the sterile barrier in the product packaging was compromised.

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U.S. Economy Grew 3.1 Percent At End Of 2010

March 25, 2011 4:23 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew a little faster at the end of 2010 than the government had previously estimated, boosted by more inventory building and business investment in plants and equipment. But rising oil prices will likely limit growth this year. The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 3.

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Nissan Considers Shifting Engine Production To U.S.

March 25, 2011 4:21 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it is considering moving some engine production from Japan to the U.S. because of earthquake damage to a Japanese plant, another illustration of how seriously the disaster has upended the global network of auto supplies. Car factories could face serious shortages of Japanese parts by the middle of next month unless Japan's auto industry can quickly restart its shuttered production following a devastating earthquake and tsunami March 11, experts say.

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UAW President Says Ford CEO's Pay Is Excessive

March 23, 2011 4:40 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers President Bob King on Tuesday criticized the nearly $60 million in stock awards given to Ford CEO Alan Mulally earlier this month. King spoke at a union meeting that sets goals for bargaining a new labor contract with automakers later this year. "I think Alan Mulally is a great CEO, but I don't think any human being in the world deserves that much money," King said at the opening of a three-day UAW convention in Detroit.

Steve Jobs Deposed To Testify In Apple Antitrust Case

March 23, 2011 4:37 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently out on medical leave, will be deposed to testify in an antitrust suit related to its iPod music players and iTunes store. In a Monday filing in the U.S. district court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, Magistrate Judge Howard R.

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Judge Suspends California Cap-And-Trade Program

March 23, 2011 4:33 am | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A judge has temporarily halted California's ambitious program to provide financial incentives for the state's largest polluters to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled Friday that the state failed to properly consider alternatives to its so-called cap-and-trade program.

Census: Detroit Saw Population Plummet 25% In Past Decade

March 23, 2011 4:29 am | by John Flesher, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Hammered by the auto industry's slump, Detroit saw its population plummet 25 percent over the past decade, according to census numbers released Tuesday that reflect the severity of an economic downturn in the only state where overall population declined. The statistics show that the Motor City's population fell from 951,270 in 2000 to 713,777 last year.

GM To Sell Shares Of Failed Former Financial Arm For $1B

March 23, 2011 4:24 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. said Tuesday it will sell all of its series A preferred shares in Ally Financial Inc., its former finance arm which was bailed out by the federal government, for $1 billion. The shares to be sold represent all of Ally's series A preferred stock outstanding, the automaker said.

Economic Toll From Japan Disaster Could Exceed $300B

March 23, 2011 4:18 am

TOKYO (AP) — The government expects the economic toll from Japan's earthquake and tsunami could exceed $300 billion, considerably higher than other estimates, a report said Wednesday, Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano will present the estimate of 15 trillion yen to 25 trillion yen ($185 billion to $300 billion) at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

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Dow Climbs Above 12,000 On Major Business Dealings

March 21, 2011 10:47 am | by Stan Choe, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks climbed Monday on the strength of a major telecommunications deal and signs that that Japan's nuclear crisis was stabilizing. AT&T Inc. said it would buy rival T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, creating the largest U.S. cellphone company. Charles Schwab Corp. said it would buy online brokerage services provider OptionsXpress for $1 billion.

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GM Lays Off U.S. Workers Due To Earthquake

March 21, 2011 10:06 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. on Monday is halting some production and temporarily laying off workers at a Buffalo engine plant, another sign that Japan's disaster is affecting automakers around the globe. GM's Tonawanda plant in Buffalo, New York, makes four- and five-cylinder engines for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickups, which are assembled at a GM plant in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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Protecting The Robots That Protect Soldiers

March 21, 2011 8:47 am | by Abbott Koloff, Associated Press

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Because bomb-disarming robots cost about $140,000 apiece, Bernard Reger's superiors asked him to design a virtual training system that does not require using robots that might get blown up during an exercise or fall off a cliff. The Army already marketed a computer war game, America's Army, as part of a recruiting campaign.

Organic Grease Clogs City's Sewer Systems

March 21, 2011 8:07 am

CAMBRIDGE CITY, Ind. (AP) — Officials blame grease that an organic food company is releasing into the sewer system for ruining equipment at an eastern Indiana town's treatment plant. The Western Wayne Sewer District Board says the material from Really Cool Foods has been clogging pumps and damaging sewage equipment at the Cambridge City facility.

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