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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Factory Output Rises For Ninth Straight Month

April 15, 2011 4:28 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories likely produced more goods in March for the ninth straight month, as businesses and consumers spent more money. Economists expect that the output of the nation's factories, mines and utilities increased 0.6 percent last month. That would be the biggest increase since December, when severe winter weather caused a spike in output by utilities.

Ford Expands F-150 Recall To 1.2 Million Vehicles

April 15, 2011 4:25 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Ford bowed to pressure from regulators on Thursday and widened a recall of America's top-selling vehicle, the F-150 pickup, because its air bags can deploy at the wrong time. The recall now covers nearly 1.2 million F-150s built for the 2004 and 2005 model years and some built for 2006.

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EU Fines P&G, Unilever Over Laundry Detergent Cartel

April 13, 2011 5:07 am | by Gabriele Steinhauser, AP Business Writer

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union regulators on Wednesday fined consumer products companies Procter & Gamble and Unilever a total of euro315.2 million ($456 million) for fixing prices of powdered laundry detergent together with Henkel in eight EU countries. Germany's Henkel AG escaped a fine because it blew the whistle on the cartel.

BRICS Gather, Discuss Plans For Taking On U.S., Europe

April 13, 2011 5:00 am | by Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The leaders of the world's largest emerging economies gather this week in southern China for what could be a watershed moment in their quest for a bigger say in the global financial architecture. Thursday's summit comes at a crucial moment for the expanded five-member bloc known as the BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China, and, for the first time, South Africa.

Xerox CEO Awarded $10.6 Million In 2010 Pay

April 13, 2011 4:48 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Xerox Corp. awarded CEO Ursula Burns a compensation package last year that the company valued at $10.6 million, a 7 percent increase from the year before as Burns assumed the title of chairwoman and orchestrated the printer and copier maker's deeper push into technology services.

Subaru Stops Lafayette Production Line For Four Days

April 13, 2011 4:44 am

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Subaru of America is halting production on one of its Lafayette plant's production lines for four days due to a parts shortage caused by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Subaru spokeswoman Jennifer McGarvey tells the Kokomo Tribune that the automaker will halt production on the plant's Toyota Camry line Friday, next Monday and on April 21 and April 25.

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GM Invests $100 Million In Fuel-Injection Innovations

April 13, 2011 4:39 am

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — General Motors Corp. is investing $100 million to manufacture fuel-injection technology at its Rochester plant in upstate New York, securing hundreds of existing jobs and creating 30 new ones. The automaker says Tuesday that the factory, which employs around 800 people, got the project over a sister plant in the Midwest.

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Airbus A380 Collision Proves Big Planes Are Troublesome

April 13, 2011 4:35 am | by Chris Hawley and Joan Lowy, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A frightening collision between one of the world's largest airliners and a commuter jet on a dark, wet tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport is underscoring worries about ground accidents as U.S. airports begin handling a new generation of giant planes. A total of 586 passengers and crew members were aboard the two aircraft Monday night when the left wing of an Airbus A380 operated by Air France clipped a Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jet flown by Comair, spinning the smaller plane nearly 90 degrees.

Trade Deficit Fell 2.6 Percent In February

April 12, 2011 4:59 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies sold fewer products overseas in February but the trade deficit narrowed because of a big decline in oil imports. The trade deficit fell 2.6 percent to $45.8 billion in February, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Exports, which had hit an all-time high in January, edged down 1.

Renault Fires Executive Over Fabrication Of Spy Threat

April 12, 2011 4:55 am | by Greg Keller, AP Business Writer

PARIS (AP) — One of Renault's top executives will lose his job amid a wide-scale corporate shakeout following a deeply embarrassing scandal that saw France's partially state-owned car maker falsely accuse three of its executives of espionage. In a statement Monday, Renault said Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata would be removed from his position and given unspecified duties within the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Google Pumps $168 Million Into Massive Solar Array

April 12, 2011 4:45 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google Inc. is investing $168 million in an alternative power project that aims to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes. The commitment announced Monday is part of the financing that BrightSource Energy needs to build solar power plant in California's Mojave Desert.

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Intel Dives Into Tablet Processor Business

April 12, 2011 4:37 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Intel Corp. has launched a new chip for tablet computers, as the world's most powerful semiconductor company aims to become a contender in the market for mobile chips. Intel's chips are in 80 percent of laptops and desktop PCs, but it's had less success getting its chips into smaller devices such as cellphones and tablets.

Worker Killed By Falling Granite At Ky. Manufacturer

April 12, 2011 4:32 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A piece of granite being moved at a Louisville business had fallen, pinning and killing a worker. The accident occurred Monday afternoon at KBR Manufacturing killing 50-year-old Sylvia Walters of Taylorsville, according to WAVE-TV in Louisville. Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says other employees found Walters under the stone and called for help.

Missouri Announces Investment In Advanced Manufacturing

April 12, 2011 4:30 am | by Chris Blank, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A report Gov. Jay Nixon touted Monday as a five-year economic blueprint for Missouri recommends that the state promote the development of seven specific industries with a mixture of tax incentives, specialized job training and expanded infrastructure projects. The industries, announced previously, are advanced manufacturing, energy, bioscience, health sciences, information technology, financial and professional services, and transportation.

Misalignment Caused Massive N.D. Wind Turbine Failure

April 12, 2011 4:26 am | by Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Experts said a North Dakota wind turbine's rotor and blades crashed to the ground because they weren't properly aligned with a power shaft atop the turbine's steel tower, which caused the rotor's connecting bolts to fail. The March 14 accident north of Rugby will prompt more frequent inspections of other turbines, said Scott Winneguth, director of wind plant engineering for Iberdrola Renewables Inc.

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Manufacturing Consumption Up 99 Percent Over Feb. 2010

April 12, 2011 4:19 am

Douglas K. Woods, President of AMT February U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $329.43 million, according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology and AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 10.

Honda Stops North American Production For Another Week

April 11, 2011 4:45 am

DETROIT (AP) — Honda Motor Co. says it will add a week to production slowdowns at its 11 North American auto plants. The company said in late March that it would shut down assembly lines for several hours a day because of parts shortages from Japan. Now Honda says the temporary shutdowns will be extended to the week of April 18.

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Sharp Suspends LCD Manufacturing Over Gas Shortage

April 11, 2011 4:44 am

TOKYO (AP) — Sharp Corp. has suspended domestic production of large-sized LCD panels because of a shortfall of industrial gas after a massive earthquake and tsunami. The Osaka-based company is one of the world's largest makers of LCD TVs and panels. Spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama says the company has decided to focus on making smaller panels — under 10 inches (25 centimeters) — because it has a stockpile of larger ones.

How Old Is Too Old For An Airplane?

April 11, 2011 4:40 am | by Scott Mayerowitz, AP Airlines Writer

How old is too old for an airplane? Most travelers don't think twice about it — although there's something unsettling about easing into your seat and finding the armrest still has an ashtray built in. But fliers may be more worried than usual after a 5-foot hole opened in the roof of a 15-year-old Southwest jet earlier this month.

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