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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Magna Rebounds Quickly After Devastating Plant Fire

March 8, 2011 3:20 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Part of a Michigan auto parts factory that was damaged by fire last week started producing again over the weekend, easing a parts shortage that had forced two auto companies to shut down some assembly lines. The fire Wednesday at a Magna International Inc. plant caused General Motors Co.

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Western Digital Buys Hitachi Unit For $4.3 Billion

March 7, 2011 3:49 am

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Hard drive maker Western Digital Corp. is buying Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 billion in cash and stock. Western Digital said Monday that the deal includes $3.5 billion in cash, plus 25 million of its common shares. The stock is valued at $750 million based on the company's Friday closing stock price of $30.

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Caterpillar Workers, UAW Approve Six-Year Contract

March 7, 2011 3:47 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The United Auto Workers says employees of Caterpillar Inc. have approved a new labor agreement. The UAW says a majority of members at Caterpillar approved the new six-year contract in voting Sunday. The union did not provide specific numbers on how members voted. The contract covers about 9,500 hourly production and maintenance workers at Caterpillar facilities in the Illinois cities of Peoria, Aurora, Decatur and Pontiac, and those in York, Pa.

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Robot Connects Va. Manufacturer And Dominican Republic

March 7, 2011 3:43 am | by Rebecca Layne, Associated Press

CLEAR BROOK, Va. (AP) — In a house in the Dominican Republic, Erwin Deininger moves a computer mouse. Thousands of miles away in Frederick County, a 4-foot-tall state-of-the-art robot comes to life in a small factory, out of place among the old wood paneling and mechanical pencil sharpeners that adorn the walls and the steel machines that grind and crank on the factory floor.

Iowa Town Braces Itself For Electrolux's Departure

March 7, 2011 3:39 am | by Jane Curtis, Associated Press

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) — The end is rapidly approaching for Electrolux's presence as a major manufacturer in this town. As the scheduled March 31 closing date nears and production lines fall irreversibly still, the cavernous building will gradually fall silent. And, more than 4,000 miles away, corporate leaders in Stockholm, Sweden, will deliver to AB Electrolux stockholders the results of the multinational appliance manufacturer's efforts to pare down expenses and improve a different line: the corporate bottom line.

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GM Restarts Lordstown Plant After 5-Day Shutdown

March 7, 2011 3:35 am

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Work will resume at a General Motors plant in northeast Ohio on Tuesday following last week's shutdown caused by a fire at an auto parts plant in Michigan. Tom Mock of General Motors Co. says shifts will begin at the Lordstown plant near Youngstown after significant progress has been made by Magna International Inc.

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China's Trade Surplus Could Fall As It Reduces Exports

March 7, 2011 3:27 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's imports will rise and its politically volatile trade surplus should shrink this year as Beijing builds up a consumer-based economy to reduce reliance on trade, the commerce minister said Monday. The government's 2011 economic blueprint calls for nurturing self-sustaining growth by promoting consumer spending.

Foul-Smelling Plant Causes Local Children To Vomit

March 4, 2011 3:40 am

COACHELLA, Calif. (AP) — It's the Mecca everyone wants to make a pilgrimage away from. Complaints of foul odors sickening residents of the California desert community of Mecca have prompted a smog control agency to step up an air monitoring effort on Thursday. The South Coast Air Quality Management District said it has concluded that a waste recycling facility just north of Mecca is the source of the stinky fumes.

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Economists: Factory Orders Rose 2 Percent In January

March 4, 2011 3:32 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses likely ordered more manufactured goods from U.S. factories in January, but much of the gain is expected to come from a sharp rise in volatile aircraft orders. Economists expect factory orders rose 2 percent in January. The new report will be released at 10 a.m. EST Friday.

GM Cancels Shifts Due To Fire At Major Supplier

March 4, 2011 3:29 am | by David Runk, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. canceled production shifts at assembly plants in Flint, Mich., and Lordstown, Ohio, and made changes at several others because of a fire at an auto parts plant in Michigan that makes interior components for a number of automakers, the company said Thursday.

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Paper Companies To Pay $700M For Green Bay Cleanup

March 4, 2011 3:26 am | by Dinesh Ramde, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal judge in Wisconsin has ordered NCR Corp. and Appleton Papers Inc. to pay an estimated $700 million to clean a contaminated river, the latest effort to hold paper makers accountable for toxins in the Green Bay waterway. NCR, based in Atlanta, and Appleton, based in the Wisconsin city of the same name, must share responsibility for cleaning up the most contaminated segment of the Fox River, U.

Unemployment Falls To 8.9 Percent With New Jobs

March 4, 2011 3:21 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low. The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment.

Fired Indian Workers Burn Executive To Death

March 4, 2011 3:20 am

BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) — Indian police detained two people after an angry mob of fired workers burned to death a senior executive of a steel factory, an official said Friday. After learning they were laid off, about a dozen workers attacked a vehicle carrying Radhey Shyam Roy as he was leaving the factory in eastern Orissa state on Thursday, dousing the Jeep with gasoline and setting it on fire, said police Superintendent Ajay Kumar Sarangi.

Apple Rumored To Unveil 'iPad 2' Today

March 2, 2011 4:04 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. is expected to unveil the second generation of its wildly successful iPad Wednesday at a media event in San Francisco. Apple sold more than 15 million of the original touch-screen tablet computers in the first nine months on the market. An updated device will help the company widen its head start against competitors, most of whom are just beginning to sell their first tablets.

Economy Perks Up After 217,000 Jobs Added In February

March 2, 2011 4:00 am | by David K. Randall, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures reversed course and pointed to a higher opening Wednesday after a report said that private companies are adding more jobs than economists had expected. Payroll-processor ADP said that private-sector employment increased by 217,000 from January to February on a seasonally-adjusted basis, well above the 180,000 new jobs that analysts had predicted.

Buffett: Economy Doesn't Need So Much Coddling

March 2, 2011 3:50 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett says the U.S. economy continues to improve and doesn't need as much government help as it is currently getting. Buffett appeared Wednesday on CNBC four days after releasing his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders. The CEO says most of the businesses Berkshire owns, except the ones that make housing-related products, continue to inch along and improve.

Calif. Startup Manufactures EVs In China, Sells In U.S.

March 2, 2011 3:38 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — A startup California developer of electric cars said Wednesday its first model will be manufactured in China and go on sale in the United States this year. CODA Automotive Inc.'s four-door sedan will be produced by a Chinese partner based on one of its models that has been adapted for electric drive and to meet U.

Nissan Unveils New Leaf-Based Sports Car

March 2, 2011 3:34 am

GENEVA (AP) — What do you get if you cross Nissan's Leaf electric compact with one of the Japanese car maker's Z-car racers? Possibly the Esflow, an unlikely mashup the Yokohama-based constructor unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this week. On the outside it's all flash, with a gleaming silver aluminum body and sexy sportscar curves inspired by Nissan's long racing lineage.

In A Good Omen, Automotive Sales Rise 27 Percent

March 2, 2011 3:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — A 27 percent increase in U.S. auto sales last month is a good sign for the industry despite political volatility in the Middle East and rising oil prices, a Citi Investment Research analyst said Wednesday. Analyst Itay Michaeli said in a note to investors that U.S. sales of 990,000 cars and trucks for February came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.

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Fuel Prices Force Automakers To Think Greener

March 1, 2011 3:54 am | by Colleen Barry, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — Just when carmakers thought it safe to roll out new models in the wake of the economic crisis — 170 premiers are advertised for the Geneva Auto Show opening this week — a spike in fuel prices has cast a new shadow over the industry and redoubled attention on green technologies.

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