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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota Starts Taking Orders For Prius Plug-in In Japan

November 29, 2011 4:05 am

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota began taking orders Tuesday for the plug-in version of its hit Prius hybrid, announcing efficient mileage and a relatively affordable starting price of 3.2 million yen ($41,000), which comes down with green vehicle subsidies. Toyota is targeting Prius Plug-in sales of 35,000 to 40,000 a year in Japan, and 60,000 globally.

American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy

November 29, 2011 4:00 am

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (Kyodo) — American Airlines' parent AMR Corp. and some of its subsidiaries including American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in a bankruptcy court in New York on Tuesday. The U.S. airline, which partners Japan Airlines, said it expects to continue normal flight operations.

Iconic Steuben Glass Closes Rochester Crystal Plant

November 29, 2011 3:55 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — It's the end of the line for Steuben Glass, an American icon of handcrafted crystal for over a century. The company's lone factory in Corning in western New York shuts down Tuesday, ending a high-end glassmaking tradition dating back to 1903. Most of the 60 workers are being axed.

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Utility Shutters Recently-Completed Coal Plant

November 29, 2011 3:46 am

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota cooperative recently spent $437 million to build a coal-burning power plant in North Dakota. Now it plans to shut it down. Great River Energy, of Maple Grove, says a combination of factors caused it to reconsider running the plant, about 85 miles west of Fargo, N.

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ConAgra Foods Becomes Agro Tech's Majority Owner

November 29, 2011 3:41 am

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra Foods Inc. is paying $10 million to become the majority owner of Indian food company Agro Tech Foods Ltd. as ConAgra looks to broaden its international presence. ConAgra, whose brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Hunt's and Peter Pan, said Tuesday that it made the payment to an unnamed third party to boost its ownership stake in Agro to more than 50 percent.

Ohio Insulation Plant A Total Loss After Fire

November 29, 2011 3:33 am

NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Fire investigators say an eastern Ohio insulation factory where nearly 100 people worked is a total loss. The fire that started Sunday night collapsed the roof and destroyed the manufacturing plant at Janesville Acoustics in Newcomerstown, about 85 miles south of Cleveland.

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Nissan To Recall 56,000 SUVs

November 28, 2011 6:55 am

TOKYO, Nov. 24 (Kyodo) — Nissan Motor Co. will recall about 56,000 vehicles of two models for possible fuel leakage and faulty tail lamps, according to its report submitted Thursday to the transport ministry. The two are the Dualis and X-Trail sport utility models produced between April 2007 and October 2010.

FDA Approves Expansion Of BioMarin Plant

November 28, 2011 6:52 am

NOVATO, Calif. (AP) — BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. said Monday the Food and Drug Administration approved the expansion of a manufacturing facility where the company makes several of its drugs and a key experimental drug. The company said the manufacturing facility in Novato now has the capacity to produce $1 billion in products, twice its previous capacity.

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Plant Can Now Make 350 Boxes A Minute

November 28, 2011 6:50 am

MONROE, La. (AP) — A box plant started seven years ago with 40 employees, one contract and a $500,000 state grant has just completed a $4.5 million upgrade, with a new machine that can make up to 350 boxes a minute. That's double the speed of the original box press, which is still in use at Louisiana Corrugated Products LLC, operating partner Kingsley McCrocklin told The News-Star (http://tnsne.

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Report: Top-Selling Cars In Latin America Unsafe

November 28, 2011 6:48 am

SAO PAULO (AP) — Some of Latin America's top-selling cars pose high risks of life-threatening injuries and are two decades behind the best safety standards in Europe and North America, a safety assessment agency said Thursday. Tests show cars produced by four automakers in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are unsafe to drive, the Uruguay-based Latin New Car Assessment Program said in a report released in Sao Paulo.

Would-Be Automaker Drops Plans For LA Plant

November 28, 2011 6:45 am

MONROE, La. (AP) — Start-up auto maker Next Autoworks Co. withdrew its application Wednesday for more than $320 million in federal loans to fund a plant in Ouachita Parish, ending a project more than two years in development. A company statement said the U.S. Department of Energy notified Next Autoworks on Tuesday that its loan application with the agency's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program would not be approved.

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GM To Offer Free Loaner Cars To Volt Owners

November 28, 2011 6:42 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Autos Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will offer free loaner cars to Chevrolet Volt owners if they're concerned about the cars catching fire. The move comes after last week's announcement that the government is investigating fires involving the Volt's lithium-ion batteries. The company says it will contact the owners to reassure them that the cars are safe.

Toyota Unveils High-Tech Concept Car

November 28, 2011 4:47 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's president unveiled a futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show. Toyota Motor Corp. will also be showing an electric vehicle, set for launch next year, and a tiny version of the hit Prius gas-electric hybrid at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public this weekend.

Deere 4Q Profit Up 46 Percent

November 28, 2011 4:45 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

Deere & Co. says strong sales of its farm equipment helped boost its fourth-quarter profit by 46 percent and says it expects robust demand will lead to further growth next year. The quarterly results beat Wall Street expectations, and Deere shares rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading.

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For Returing Vets, Green Energy Jobs Await

November 28, 2011 4:42 am | by Andy Brownfield, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ben Noland served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years, then spent 18 months looking for a job. "I've probably put my resume in to 300 places in the past year," the 33-year-old Kenton resident said. "The farthest I've ever got was a phone interview." Noland finally landed a job installing solar panels at Tipping Point Renewable Energy, a Columbus-based solar power company that is hiring only military veterans for its installation crews at a time when unemployment among former service members is outpacing that of civilians.

WSU Expert: Boeing Uncertainty Slows Economy

November 28, 2011 4:39 am | by Heather Hollingsworth, Associated Press

The uncertainty surrounding the Boeing Co.'s plans for its Wichita defense facility will reverse two or three months of economic progress and recovery, according to an expert at Wichita State University. Jeremy Hill, the director of the university's Center for Economic Development and Business Research, said Boeing's announcement that options being reviewed as part of a study include "the potential closure of the Wichita site" will spook consumers and businesses.

AT&T, Telekom Press Ahead With T-Mobile Deal

November 28, 2011 4:35 am | by The Associated Press

Deutsche Telekom and AT&T vowed Thursday to press ahead with the planned sale of the German company's T-Mobile USA unit to the U.S. cell phone operator despite concerns raised by American authorities. Nevertheless, AT&T said it plans to take a pretax accounting charge of $4 billion in the current quarter to reflect the break-up fees that would be due to Deutsche Telekom if regulators block the deal.

Feds Probe New Battery Fires In Chevrolet Volt

November 28, 2011 4:34 am | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is investigating new fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt to assess the fire risk in the electric car after a serious crash. One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement Friday.

CLC Plans $16.5M VA Expansion

November 23, 2011 7:38 am

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Commonwealth Laminating & Coating Inc. is planning a $16.5 million expansion of its manufacturing operation in Henry County. Gov. Bob McDonnell says in a news release that the expansion will create 40 jobs. The company manufactures solar-control window films and precision high-performance coatings.

Toyota N. American Production Normal For 2 Weeks

November 23, 2011 7:36 am

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. will continue to run a normal production schedule at its North American factories for at least the next two weeks, including overtime, the automaker said Wednesday. Toyota said it will make decisions on future production based on parts supplies. Toyota had begun cutting overtime in North American plants in October due to parts shortages from catastrophic flooding in Thailand, but the company's factories continued to run Monday through Friday on two shifts.

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