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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Yaskawa To Open Robot Plant In China

December 21, 2011 8:45 am

KITAKYUSHU, Japan, Dec. 21 (Kyodo) — Yaskawa Electric Corp. said Wednesday it will open its first overseas robot manufacturing subsidiary in China in February to meet growing demand for robots in the local auto industry. The subsidiary, Yaskawa's fifth plant in China, will produce and sell welding robots for auto assembly on a 500,000-square-meter site in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

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CAW Calls For Review Of CAT Purchase

December 21, 2011 8:44 am

TORONTO — Canada's largest private sector union is calling on Ottawa to review the purchase of Canada's only locomotive manufacturing plant by U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) back in 2010. The Canadian Auto Workers union says hundreds of jobs at the Electro-Motive plant in London, Ont.

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Honda Scrambling To Revamp Civic

December 21, 2011 8:33 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

ROMULUS, Michigan (AP) — Honda is scrambling to revamp its Civic just eight months after a new version hit showrooms, and critics say it's an admission that the compact car fell short in quality and handling. The revamp, to come by the end of 2012, is rare because new models aren't usually overhauled for at least three years.

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Labor Board Approves New Union Election Rules

December 21, 2011 8:30 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a win for organized labor, the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday approved sweeping new rules that would speed the pace of union elections, possibly making it easier for unions to gain members at companies that have long rebuffed them. Business groups quickly denounced the move, saying it limits the time that employers have to educate workers about the impact of joining a union.

Mueller Electric Company Acquired By Desco Corporation

December 21, 2011 5:01 am

Akron-based manufacturing operations and sales growth initiatives continue . Akron, Ohio, USA – Mueller Electric Company, Inc. ( www.muellerelectric.com ), a global manufacturer and distributor of test leads, cable assemblies, clips, connectors, custom cable assemblies and accessories for electronic component, factory automation, and test & measurement markets, announced its acquisition by Desco Corporation ( www.

EU Court Upholds Carbon Trade Plan For Aviation

December 21, 2011 4:22 am | by Arthur Max, Associated Press

AMSTERDAM (AP) — U.S. air carriers failed Wednesday to block an EU law charging airlines flying to Europe for their carbon pollution, yielding to a sweeping measure intended to curb climate-changing emissions from international aviation. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg dismissed arguments that imposing the European Union's cap-and-trade program on flights to and from European airports infringes on national sovereignty or violates international aviation treaties.

Toymakers Relying On 'Mommy Bloggers'

December 21, 2011 4:20 am | by Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer

Emily Vanek is not buying up a bunch of LeapPad Explorers herself, but she may be at least partly to blame for some stores selling out of the $99 children's tablet this holiday season. "The LeapPad is incredible," the Denver mother of three boys wrote to the 6,000 readers of her ColoradoMoms.

Japan's Exports Fall For Second Month

December 21, 2011 4:18 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports fell for the second straight month in November, hit by faltering demand from Asia and Europe. Exports shrank 4.5 percent from a year earlier to 5.198 trillion yen ($66.7 billion), according to a finance ministry report released Wednesday. The result is steeper than October's 3.

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Unemployment Down In 43 States

December 21, 2011 4:17 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most number of states to report such declines in eight years. The falling state rates reflect the brightening jobs picture nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in November to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009.

Court Backs Stripping Chinese Tire Import Duties

December 21, 2011 4:15 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — An appeals court has ruled that Chinese-made goods shouldn't be subject to certain kinds of import duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington upheld a ruling Monday that the duties, called "countervailing" duties, can't be applied to Chinese-made goods because it doesn't have a market economy.

GM Says It Will Honor Saab Warranties

December 21, 2011 4:13 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will honor warranties of Saab cars that were sold in the U.S. and Canada while the Swedish automaker was part of GM. Cash-strapped Saab filed for bankruptcy in Sweden Monday. The company has suspended warranty coverage for all vehicles in North America.

Sara Lee Plans $3M MO Expansion

December 20, 2011 7:39 am

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Sara Lee Corp. has plans to build a $3 million expansion that will create 55 new jobs at its St. Joseph meat-processing plant. Mike Cummins, Sara Lee's spokesman, told The St. Joseph News Press (http://bit.ly/t0q0kr) that the company is starting a construction project in St.

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Feed Plant Fire Forces Evacuations

December 20, 2011 7:36 am

SANDY, Utah (AP) — A fire at an animal feed plant forced authorities to evacuate some nearby residents Monday as they tried to keep chemicals from getting into the air. City spokeswoman Trina Duerksen said health officials and Utah National Guard were monitoring air quality at Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative, which houses containers of ammonia and other chemicals, she said.

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Vulcan Materials To Cut 200 Jobs

December 20, 2011 7:34 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Vulcan Materials Co., the nation's largest producer of construction materials, said Monday that it will cut roughly 200 jobs as it consolidates operations in an effort to reduce its costs. The job cuts will come mostly from overhead and administrative staff, while employees at its plants will be largely unaffected, the company said.

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Power Plant Closures To Cost U.S. Towns Jobs, Taxes

December 20, 2011 7:32 am | by Larry O'Dell, Vicki Smith, Associated Press

For more than 90 years, the coal-fired power plant in Glen Lyn, Va., has been churning out electricity and contributing to local prosperity. Of late, it has generated nearly a quarter of the revenue for the $1 million budget of the town. Yet when the plant ultimately shuts down to comply with new federal air pollution regulations by the end of 2014, says Town Manager Howard Spencer, so too might the community of 200.

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ITC Sides With Apple In HTC Patent Dispute

December 20, 2011 7:30 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal agency is siding with Apple and ordering an import ban on HTC phones that infringe on a patent belonging to the iPhone maker. The U.S. International Trade Commission said Monday that the ban will take effect April 19 so that wireless carriers will have time to adjust their plans.

Air Bag Victim's Lawyer Questions Honda Recall Scope

December 20, 2011 7:28 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Georgia college student Kristy Williams was almost killed when a metal piece flew out of an air bag in her 2001 Honda Civic — a traumatic accident her lawyer says might have been avoided had there been an earlier, more comprehensive recall. Williams had even arranged to get her air bag fixed.

Japan To Buy U.S. F-35 Fighters For Air Force

December 20, 2011 4:12 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter on Tuesday to replace aging jets in its air force and bolster its defense capability amid regional uncertainty. "Our decision on the next-generation fighters was an extremely important one for our national security, and we wanted to acquire fighters with solid capability," Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa said.

Google, KKR Invest In CA Solar Project

December 20, 2011 4:11 am | by Jonathan Fahey, Tom Murphy, AP Business Writers

Online search and advertising giant Google is teaming with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. to develop four solar energy farms serving the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California. Google, Inc. said Tuesday on its Green Blog that it will spend $94 million on the projects.

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China Probing Blast At Apple Supplier Factory

December 20, 2011 4:09 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Authorities are investigating the cause of an explosion over the weekend that injured dozens of people at the Shanghai factory of a supplier to Apple Inc. The government formed an investigation group and ordered safety checks at the Riteng Computer Accessory Co. factory, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple supplier Pegatron Corp.

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