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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Average Age Of U.S. Autos Hits 10.8 Years

January 17, 2012 7:36 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — That clunker in America's driveway has reached a record old age, but there are signs that people may be growing confident enough in the economy to get a whiff of that fresh new car scent very soon. The average age of a car or truck in the U.S. hit a record 10.8 years last year as job security and other economic worries kept many people from making big-ticket purchases such as a new car.


American Crystal Calls Union Offer 'Stunt'

January 17, 2012 7:33 am

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — American Crystal Sugar Co. on Monday rejected a proposal to end the cooperative's six-month lockout of its factory workers in three states, calling it a "publicity stunt" by the leadership of the union that represents them. Separately, the Moorhead, Minn.

Malaysia Auto Sales To Grow After 2011 Drop

January 17, 2012 4:14 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Auto sales in Malaysia fell unexpectedly by 0.9 percent in 2011 but will rebound to grow a modest 2.5 percent this year, underpinned by a robust domestic economy, an industry group said Tuesday. Sales fell to 599,877 vehicles last year after production was disrupted by Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March and then by crippling floods in Thailand, said the Malaysian Automotive Association.


Deere CEO Gets 35 Percent Pay Hike

January 17, 2012 4:11 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

Deere & Co.'s CEO got a 35 percent pay hike in 2011 as the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment continued to generate strong global sales and sizeable profits, according to documents filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company's filings show Samuel Allen received compensation worth $16.

Woman Demolishes UK Factory Where Dad Killed

January 17, 2012 4:08 am

LONDON (AP) — It was a daily reminder of the death of her father in a British industrial accident — but a mother of two says she feels relief after she was given the chance to demolish the factory where he was killed. Sarah Griffiths won a competition to lead the demolition Sunday of a tower owned by Campbell's Soup food manufacturer.

Olympus Probe Finds 5 Auditors Responsible

January 17, 2012 4:06 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — An internal investigation at Olympus Corp. found that five current and former auditors are responsible for a combined 8.38 billion yen ($109 million) in losses linked to the Japanese company's accounting scandal, and plans to sue them. The panel's report released Tuesday said it found two accounting firms hired by Olympus as external auditors, KPMG Azsa LLC and Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, had not violated their fiduciary duties.

China's Economic Growth Lowest In 2 Years

January 17, 2012 4:04 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China appears on track to avoid an abrupt economic slowdown with possible global repercussions after growth eased to a still robust 8.9 percent in the last quarter of 2011. The expansion in the world's second-largest economy was the slowest in 2 1/2 years but December retail sales and factory output accelerated, data showed Tuesday.

Airbus Takes Record Orders In 2011, Beats Boeing

January 17, 2012 4:00 am | by Greg Keller, AP Business Writer

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Airbus took in a record number of orders for new commercial aircraft last year as strong demand for its revamped single-aisle plane helped it best U.S. rival Boeing Co. in the race for orders for the fourth year running. The European jet maker said Tuesday that it took in 1,419 net new orders in 2011, worth $140 billion, well above Boeing's total of 805 aircraft.


ID Leaders Search For New Life For Potato Plant

January 16, 2012 8:04 am

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Eastern Idaho leaders say they're still working to find a new purpose for the J.R. Simplot potato processing plant in Aberdeen. The Simplot company announced last fall that it would close the plant in 2014, eliminating about 290 jobs. Former Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase told the Idaho State Journal (http://bit.


China's Number Of Web Users Rises To 513M

January 16, 2012 8:03 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — The number of Internet users in China has surged past 500 million as millions of new Web surfers go online using mobile phones and tablet computers, an industry group reported Monday. The popularity of the Internet in China has driven the explosive growth of profitable Web companies and made fortunes for some Chinese entrepreneurs despite government controls on what the public can see online.

Motorola Says Receives Favorable Court Ruling

January 16, 2012 8:01 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. said Friday it has received a favorable initial determination in patent infringement litigation filed by Apple Inc. According to Motorola Mobility, an administrative law judge in the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an initial determination finding no violation for any of the three Apple patents listed in Apple's suit, which was filed in October 2010.

Malaysia's DRB-Hicom To Buy Carmaker Proton

January 16, 2012 7:58 am | by Eileen Ng, Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom Berhad said Monday it will buy national carmaker Proton in a 3 billion ringgit ($957 million) deal that could help revive Proton's flagging fortunes. DRB-Hicom said it would pay 1.29 billion ringgit ($412 million) for government investment arm Khazanah Nasional's 43 percent stake in Proton.


Six Gadgets That Defined CES

January 16, 2012 7:55 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cheaper tablets, thinner laptops and an array of sleeker TVs stood out at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. More than 140,000 people gathered there this week, for an event that's growing despite the absence of Apple and more recently, the decision by Microsoft to make this the last year it participates.

Antitrust Suits Target LA Pool Products Company

January 16, 2012 7:51 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana company that bills itself as the world's largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool products is becoming a target for plaintiffs' lawyers filing antitrust lawsuits. In November, Pool Corp. settled claims by the Federal Trade Commission that the Covington-based company used its "monopoly power" to eliminate would-be rivals by pressuring manufacturers not to sell their products to other distributors.

Project To Pour Water Into Volcano To Make Power

January 16, 2012 3:58 am | by Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise. They hope the water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to create cheap, clean electricity that isn't dependent on sunny skies or stiff breezes — without shaking the earth and rattling the nerves of nearby residents.


Detroit Auto Show Opens To The Public At Cobo

January 16, 2012 3:56 am

DETROIT (AP) — Thousands of people poured through the doors Saturday for the opening of the Detroit auto show, the global industry's annual showcase of new vehicles and concept cars. Industry executives spent the week promoting their brands to news media from around the world. Now it's the public's opportunity to walk the floor and gaze at more than 500 vehicles, through Jan.

Push To Scrap GA Energy Tax Gains Support

January 16, 2012 3:54 am | by Ray Henry, Russ Bynum, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — For manufacturing giant Shaw Industries, producing carpet in north Georgia costs the company millions of dollars in sales taxes that it wouldn't have to pay in most parts of the nation. That's because Georgia is one of the few remaining states that requires manufacturers to pay sales tax on electricity, natural gas and other energy they consume to produce goods — whether they're building Gulfstream business jets in Savannah or brewing Miller beer in Albany.


CA Imposes Battery Charger Standards

January 16, 2012 3:51 am | by Noaki Schwartz, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has declared war on vampires, but this time it's no Hollywood monster flick. The state will be the first in the nation to target so-called vampire battery chargers that suck up and waste as much as 60 percent of the electricity they consume. The California Energy Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to regulate such power-sapping chargers despite objections by consumer product makers.

Natural Gas Price Plunge Aids Businesses

January 16, 2012 3:47 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of natural gas is plummeting at a pace that has caught even the experts off guard. A 35 percent collapse in the futures price over the past year has been a boon to homeowners who use natural gas for heat and appliances and to manufacturers who power their factories and make chemicals and materials with it.


Apple Discloses Suppliers For The First Time

January 16, 2012 3:45 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple has disclosed a list of its suppliers for the iPhone, iPad and other popular gadgets for the first time amid growing criticism over labor and environmental practices, especially in China. The list for years has been strictly and fervently protected. Even a glimpse of an Apple iPhone or its components before a public release became a source of intrigue and controversy.



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