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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Seven Insurers Sue Toyota Over Accelerator Fiasco

January 4, 2011 3:29 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota Motor Corp. in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. The insurers cite data that blames 725 crashes on the problem and fault the Japanese automaker for failing to equip its cars with an override system that would cause a car to idle if the brake and gas were deployed simultaneously.

Salmonella-Blocking Food Bill To Be Signed Today

January 4, 2011 3:28 am | by Darlene Superville and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When salmonella-laced peanut products sickened hundreds during a recent scare, President Barack Obama said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe — and that included his daughter Sasha. "That's what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week," Obama said then.

Animal Fat Backs Up Into Basements Near Unilever Plant

January 4, 2011 3:24 am

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Hammond Sanitary District official says a greasy white substance backing up through basement drains into homes appears to be linked to operations at a Unilever soap factory. Unilever and Hammond city officials haven't determined the cause of the Friday backup but the district's pretreatment coordinator, Jeff Massey, said during a public meeting Monday night that sewage apparently backed up after animal fat and coconut oil from the plant solidified and clogged sewer lines.

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China Manufacturing Eases Over More Regulation

January 3, 2011 3:57 am

HONG KONG (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased off slightly in the last month of the year, a survey said, reflecting tightening policies taken by authorities to keep inflation in check. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 53.

Manufacturing Grows For 17th Straight Month

January 3, 2011 3:39 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturers likely increased output at the same pace in December as the previous month, notching the 17th straight month of growth. The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity is expected to remain unchanged at 56.6. Any reading above 50 indicates that the sector is growing.

Four Injured In Explosion During Duct Work Cleaning

January 3, 2011 3:22 am

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A spokesman for an auto parts supplier says four people have been injured in an explosion at the company's plant in Virginia. Jim Burke, spokesman for Federal-Mogul Corp. in Southfield, Mich., said the injured were employees of a local contractor that was conducting routine duct work cleaning.

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AP: Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf Sales Are 'Microscopic'

January 3, 2011 3:21 am | by Sharon Silke Carty, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — This was the year General Motors Co. and Nissan made good on their promise to bring mass-produced electric cars to the market. But don't count on seeing one in traffic soon. Sales so far have been microscopic and they're likely to stay that way for some time because of limited supplies.

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Fiat Splits In Half To Prepare For Merger With Chrysler

January 3, 2011 3:19 am | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer

MILAN (AP) — Fiat split its industrial vehicle business from its automaking unit on Monday, unwinding two vastly divergent businesses with the goal of creating a global automotive company with Chrysler LLC. As Fiat Industrial began its trading life as an independent entity, opening at euro9 ($12.

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Farmers Say 'No' To Greener Tractors

January 3, 2011 3:18 am | by Dinesh Ramde, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Farm equipment manufacturers are rolling out cleaner tractors to meet stricter new federal air regulations, but many in the industry say the challenge will be getting farmers to put the high-priced models into fields during hard economic times. The rules that went into effect Saturday apply to tractors, construction vehicles and other so-called nonroad equipment.

GM Stock Jumps As Wall Street Swoons

December 28, 2010 4:39 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of General Motors jumped 2.4 percent Tuesday in premarket trading after several investment groups initiated coverage of the reinvigorated automaker. Credit Suisse set an "Outperform" rating for GM with a 12-month price target of $43 per share, saying that the company's stint under bankruptcy protection cleansed its balance sheet.

China To Reduce Rare Earth Exports By 10 Percent

December 28, 2010 4:37 am

BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 percent — likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products. China accounts for 97 percent of the global production of rare earths, which are essential to devices as varied as cell phones, computer drives and hybrid cars.

Architect Of Airline Deregulation Under Carter Dies At 93

December 28, 2010 4:36 am | by Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer

ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — Alfred E. Kahn, who presided over the historic deregulation of the U.S. airline industry during President Jimmy Carter's administration, paving the way for JetBlue and other low-cost carriers, died Monday. He was 93. Kahn, an economics professor at Cornell University, died of cancer at his home in Ithaca, New York, the school said in a statement.

Where Are All The American Jobs?

December 28, 2010 4:34 am | by Pallavi Gogoi, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat. More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc.

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Ford To Expand Use Of Fuel-Saving Technology

December 27, 2010 6:12 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Monday that it plans to include its fuel-saving Auto Start-Stop technology — originally designed for and used in its gas-electric hybrids — in a wider range of vehicles sold in North America starting in 2012. The technology automatically shuts off the engine when a vehicle stops, which Ford says improves fuel economy at least 4 percent.

Educational Partnership Improves 'Steelworker for the Future'

December 27, 2010 5:34 am

BURNS HARBOR, Ind. (AP) — Andrew Sweeney said it wasn't part of his initial plan to work in the steel industry. Hired earlier this year as an electrical maintenance technician working at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, Sweeney said his thoughts changed once he enrolled in a training program that helped him snag a job with the world's largest steelmaker.

Muncie Locomotive Plant Advertising Welding Positions

December 27, 2010 5:26 am

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A division of Caterpillar that plans to employ 650 people at a diesel-electric railroad locomotive plant in Muncie is looking for workers. Progress Rail Services has begun advertising for 70 welders and other positions through the state website www.indianacareerconnect.

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Ind. Ethanol Plant Begins Production After Bankruptcy Halts

December 27, 2010 5:16 am

MOUNT VERNON, Ind. (AP) — A company is ramping up production at an ethanol plant in southwestern Indiana that is now operating after construction work was halted for more than a year. Pekin, Ill.-based Aventine Renewable Energy produced its first ethanol on Nov. 30 at the Mount Vernon plant, which it started building in late 2007.

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For Japan, 2010 A Year To Forget

December 27, 2010 5:08 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has been overtaken by China as the world's No. 2 economy. Its flagship company, Toyota, recalled more than 10 million vehicles in an embarrassing safety crisis. Its fourth prime minister resigned in three years, and the government remains unable to jolt an economy entering its third decade of stagnation.

Hawker Beachcraft Decides To Stay Put In Kansas

December 22, 2010 3:51 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Corp. on Tuesday announced its commitment to keep its aircraft operations in Kansas for the next 10 years as part of a $45 million deal brokered with state and local officials. In return for an incentives package, Hawker Beechcraft has agreed to maintain its current aircraft lines and keep at least 4,000 jobs in the state during the next 10 years.

PPG Subsidiary Fined For Sending Nuclear Tech To Pakistan

December 22, 2010 3:31 am

SHANGHAI (AP) — A Chinese subsidiary of U.S.-based PPG Industries Inc. has pled guilty to violating U.S. export controls by exporting high-tech coatings to a nuclear reactor in Pakistan, the U.S. Commerce Department said. PPG and its wholly owned subsidiary PPG Paints Trading (Shanghai) Co.

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