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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

ISM: U.S. Manufacturing Still Growing, Albeit Slower

June 1, 2011 4:31 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in May at the slowest pace in 20 months, the latest sign that a sharp rise in energy prices is hampering economic growth. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 53.

Toyota Recalls 106,000 Prius Hybrids For Faulty Steering

June 1, 2011 4:28 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota recalled 106,000 first-generation Prius hybrid cars globally on Wednesday for faulty steering caused by a nut that may come loose. The single minor accident suspected of being related to the problem was reported in the U.S., according to Toyota Motor Corp. The latest recall from Toyota, which has taken hit to its reputation from massive recalls worldwide, affects 48,000 Prius vehicles in Japan, starting with the first Prius models that went on sale in 1997, and those manufactured through 2003.

Court Changes Patent System In Deep Fryer Ruling

May 31, 2011 9:32 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld a $5 million judgment to the maker of a patented deep fryer, but in a ruling that makes it harder to claim patent infringement. The justices voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of France-based SEB, S.A., on claims that a Hong Kong company copied features of its innovative home fryer in which the outside stays cool to the touch.

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Toyota: Production Will Be At 90 Percent In June

May 31, 2011 9:21 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota production in Japan will recover to 90 percent of pre-disaster levels in June, faster than the world's biggest automaker had projected and highlighting its power to bounce back from the supply disruptions caused by the March earthquake and tsunami. The disasters in northeastern Japan had damaged the plants of key parts suppliers, disrupting production at all Japanese automakers.

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Analyst: High Natural Gas Prices Can't Last

May 31, 2011 9:17 am

BOSTON (AP) — A recent rise in natural gas prices is unlikely to last, as U.S. nuclear capacity returns in coming weeks and gas demand consequently eases, a Raymond James analyst said on Tuesday. The analyst, J. Marshall Adkins, wrote in a research note that a surge in springtime nuclear plant refueling and maintenance "may be giving the natural gas market a temporary 'sugar high.

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General Dynamics Hires 100 Mass. Workers

May 31, 2011 9:12 am

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — General Dynamics Corp. has hired more than 100 employees to help work on a defense contract it was awarded by the Navy in December. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems ultimately hopes to hire 500 workers over the next five years to build, test and deliver the electronics systems for the Littoral Combat Ships.

Nokia Warning Sends Stock Plummeting To 13-Year Low

May 31, 2011 9:10 am | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia Corp. on Tuesday warned its second-quarter sales and margins will be much lower than expected as rivals challenge the world's largest handset maker in both smartphones and low-end devices. The announcement sent Nokia shares down more than 17 percent to a 13-year low of euro4.

Obama Calls On Businessman Bryson To Lead Commerce

May 31, 2011 9:07 am | by Julie Pace, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has chosen businessman John Bryson to lead the Commerce Department, bringing another private sector player into an administration that has been making a concerted effort to improve its relationship with the business community. Bryson, 67, is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, a California-based energy company.

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China Suspends Hundreds Of Battery Plants For Poisoning

May 31, 2011 5:13 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China has detained 74 people and suspended production at hundreds of battery factories in a widening crackdown on heavy metals pollution after dozens of people were sickened by lead and cadmium poisoning. The government in eastern China's Zhejiang province said Monday that some of the people were detained in connection with pollution that sickened 172 people, including 53 children, near a battery factory in the city of Taizhou.

Japanese Manufacturing Rebounds After Record Drop

May 31, 2011 5:04 am | by Shino Yuasa, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's unemployment rate in April rose for the first time in six months, while the nation's industrial production rebounded weakly from a record drop following March's earthquake and tsunami. But output was seen picking up strongly in May and June as automakers and other manufacturers get back on line.

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Workers At Japan Nuclear Plant Exceeded Radiation Limits

May 31, 2011 4:53 am | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Two workers at Japan's crippled nuclear plant might have exceeded a radiation exposure limit amid concerns about the risks the workers face struggling to contain the crisis. The two control room operators are being tested further and don't have immediate health problems, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

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Nokia: Competition Has Crushed Expected Earnings

May 31, 2011 4:49 am

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia Corp. says its second-quarter and full year earnings will be worse than earlier expected because of tough competition, especially in the smartphone market. The world's largest mobile phone maker says its second-quarter result will be "substantially below its previously expected range of euro6.

Ill. Senate Proposes An End To Worker's Compensation

May 31, 2011 4:42 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A proposal to end workers' compensation in Illinois moved a step closer to reality when it was approved by a state Senate committee. The legislation now goes to the Senate floor. Approval there would put abolition on the governor's desk. The Senate Executive Committee split along party lines in the 9-6 vote.

Honda To Add 1,000 Jobs At Ind. Civic Plant

May 31, 2011 4:39 am

GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Honda says it will add 1,000 jobs at its southeastern Indiana plant by the end of the year as it adds a second shift. Greensburg plant spokeswoman Anita Sipes said Tuesday that the additional shift will double its workforce. Sipes says the second shift has been planned since the factory opened in 2008 but the recession put those plans on hold.

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Ill. Company To Open Cardboard Ga. Facility, Hire 50

May 27, 2011 6:57 am

CONYERS, Ga. (AP) — An Illinois-based manufacturer says it will establish a corrugated cardboard sheet-feeder plant in Conyers, bringing 50 jobs to the area. Corrugated Supplies Co. announced Thursday it will put the plant in the former Solo Cup distribution center. The company says plant operations are expected to begin in September.

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Tate & Lyle Reopens Alabama Sweetener Plant

May 27, 2011 6:51 am

LONDON (AP) — Sugar and sweeteners company Tate & Lyle PLC says it plans to reopen a mothballed U.S.plant to meet surging demand for sweeteners after reporting a strong rise in full-year earnings. The London-based company on Friday reported net earnings of 163 million pounds ($268 million), up from 15 million pounds a year ago.

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High Energy Costs Take A Bite Out Of Economic Growth

May 27, 2011 6:37 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy hit a soft patch in the first three months of this year, caused by a big jump in oil prices, and the impact of those higher prices are likely to weigh on growth for the rest of the year. After growing at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the final three months of last year, the economy slowed to just 1.

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Timken Buys Philadelphia Gear For $200 Million

May 27, 2011 6:32 am

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Timken Co. is buying Philadelphia Gear Corp. for $200 million in order to expand its offerings, the auto parts supplier said Friday. Philadelphia Gear, based in King of Prussia, Pa., provides gear drives and components to the industrial and military sectors. Timken makes bearings, assemblies and alloy steels for auto producers and othermanufacturers.

Regulators Investigate Nissan, Jeep Safety Issues

May 27, 2011 6:29 am

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating brake problems with the Nissan Altima and complaints of air bag troubles with the Jeep Wrangler. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website Friday that brake fluid can leak on the Altima midsize car, causing a loss of stopping power.

Three Tenn. Workers Burned In Chemical Explosion

May 27, 2011 6:25 am | by Kristin Hall, Associated Press

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — Three workers have been critically injured in an explosion at a Middle Tennessee chemical plant where a January flash fire killed another worker. Gallatin Police said the accident that injured five at the Hoeganaes (HAY'-gan-eez) Corp. plant was reported at 6:37 a.m.

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