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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Fire Investigation Could Influence $55 Million Lawsuit

July 19, 2010 4:55 am

ST. CHARLES, Minn. (AP) — A state investigation into the fire that destroyed North Star Foods in St. Charles pinpointed where the blaze started, but does not answer what caused it to ignite in the first place. The April 2009 fire forced a citywide evacuation of the southeast Minnesota town and left more than 200 people without jobs.

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Air Show Leads To Lift-Off In Boeing, Airbus Sales

July 19, 2010 4:53 am | by Emma Vandore and Jane Wardell, AP Business Writers

FARNBOROUGH, England (AP) — Arch rivals Boeing Co. and Airbus announced new orders worth almost $13 billion at the start of the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday, raising hopes that the aviation industry is on the way back up after a dire two-year slump. The aerospace market "has come back faster than we expected" and Boeing has twice raised its internal forecasts for the number of orders at the biennial show, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Jim Abaugh.

Oil Boom Manufacturing Jumpstarts Washington County, Ga.

July 19, 2010 4:41 am | by S. Heather Duncan, Associated Press Writer

MACON, Ga. (AP) — The manufacture of booms to help clean up the Gulf oil spill has become a boon to Washington County. The booms manufactured by Meltblown Technologies are used to corral oil floating on the surface and can be linked to form miles of barriers to absorb oil and prevent its spread.

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Can Too Much Wind Power Be A Bad Thing?

July 19, 2010 4:39 am | by Ted Sickinger, Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — On the afternoon of May 19, in a single chaotic hour, more than a thousand wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge went from spinning lazily in the breeze to full throttle as a storm rolled east out of Hood River. Suddenly, almost two nuclear plants worth of extra power was sizzling down the lines — the largest hourly spike in wind power the Northwest has ever experienced.

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GM Closure, Gulf Spill Create 'Perfect Storm' For La. Economy

July 19, 2010 4:36 am | by Alan Sayre, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the blink of an eye, the economic focus in Louisiana has shifted from recession recovery to avoiding actual and potential job losses piling up at a staggering rate. And there's very little that the state can do: The tally is due to the Obama administration decisions affecting petroleum, defense and space — all coming together in a perfect storm.

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GE Nets First Profit Since 2007 On Cost Cutting

July 16, 2010 4:37 am | by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer

Cost cuts and an improved financial business helped General Electric Co. post its first increase in quarterly profit since 2007, but sales remained sluggish for the industrial giant. The second-quarter results showed that challenges remain for the economy and GE, one of the world's largestindustrial and financial companies.

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Ethanol's Time Fading As $6 Billion In Subsidies Expire

July 16, 2010 4:36 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The once-popular ethanol industry is scrambling to hold onto billions of dollars in government subsidies, fighting an increasing public skepticism of the corn-based fuel and wariness from lawmakers who may divert the money to other priorities. The industry itself can't agree on how to persuade Congress to keep the subsidies, which now come in the form of tax credits worth about $6 billion annually.

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Toyota, Tesla To Co-Develop Electric RAV4

July 16, 2010 4:35 am

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. and electric vehicle upstart Tesla Motors Inc. will work together to develop an electric version of Toyota's RAV4 small crossover vehicle, with plans to begin selling it in the U.S. in 2012, the companies announced Friday. Tesla already is working on the electric power system for the RAV4, which looks like a small sport utility vehicle but is based on a car frame.

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BP Stops Gulf Leak With Cap — Don't Celebrate Yet

July 16, 2010 4:34 am | by Colleen Long and Harry R. Weber, Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring, though no one was declaring victory just yet. Engineers, politicians and Gulf residents will watch anxiously over the next day and a half to see if the cap holds.

J&J Lays Off Hundreds To Renovate Tainted Plant

July 16, 2010 4:32 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it will lay off most of the staff at a factory idled over repeated recalls of Tylenol and other popular nonprescription medicines. The healthcare giant said it has decided to make a significant investment in the manufacturing facilities, equipment and laboratories at its plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

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Steel Coke Plants Inherently Dangerous, Some Say

July 16, 2010 4:29 am | by Jennifer C. Yates, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) — From the outside, a typical coke plant looks like something from a dystopian science-fiction movie: a maze of metal buildings, pipes, conveyer belts and tall smokestacks belching white puffs of smoke and steam into the air. Inside, there's danger seen and unseen: ovens that heat coal to more than 3,000 degrees, massive steel doors for loading the ovens, moving cars and chutes for coal, and gases that can cause cancer or ignite.

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White House: Stimulus Saving Millions Of Jobs

July 14, 2010 5:09 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new White House report says last year's $862 billion stimulus law has now "saved or created" between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs. That's up from 2.2 million to 2.8 million in the last quarterly report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Christina Romer, head of the council, says in congressional testimony prepared for Wednesday that every $1 from the stimulus bill is matched by $3 in private money.

Ford Edge Sport To Get Mustang V-6

July 14, 2010 5:04 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The Ford Edge Sport is getting sportier with a new engine swiped from the Ford Mustang. Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that the 2011 Ford Edge Sport — the high-performance version of the Edge, which is one of the country's top-selling mid-size crossovers — will have the same engine as the Mustang sports car.

DoT Says Many Toyota Accidents Due To Driver Error

July 14, 2010 4:50 am

NEW YORK (AP) — The Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of black boxes in Toyota vehicles involved in accidents blamed on unintended acceleration, finding the throttles were open and the brakes were not engaged, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. That suggests that drivers of the speeding cars were stepping on the accelerator rather than hitting the brakes.

Automakers Battle For Mid-Size MPG Trophy

July 14, 2010 4:47 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — To improve gas mileage, automakers are tweaking cars and trucks between model years, especially in the cost-conscious and popular market for midsize sedans. Honda Motor Co. recently announced changes in its Accord sedan that boosted highway mileage by almost 10 percent from the 2010 to 2011 model years.

GM To Guarantee Battery Packs Longer Than Engines

July 14, 2010 4:38 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. will guarantee the battery in the Chevrolet Volt electric car for a longer period than its conventional car warranties, according to a person briefed on the plans. GM guarantees conventional car engines and transmissions for five years or 100,000 miles, but will guarantee the Volt battery for longer, the person said, who did not want to be identified because an announcement was scheduled Wednesday afternoon at the company's battery pack assembly plant south of Detroit.

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Five Men Burned By Hot Tar At Asphalt Plant

July 14, 2010 4:36 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say five men were taken to hospitals after being burned at an asphalt plant in Wichita. KFDI reports two of the men were flown to a hospital with critical burns following the accident Tuesday afternoon at Shilling Construction Co. The other three were taken to hospitals by ambulance.

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Police Outline Shooting At N.M. Manufacturer

July 14, 2010 4:36 am | by Sue Major Holmes, Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A gunman storming through his former workplace fired without provocation or warning at his first victim, then moved on in a spree that left three dead and four injured, police said Tuesday. A day after the shooting that ended with Robert Reza turning the gun on himself, Chief Ray Schultz detailed the 37-year-old's rampage at solar manufacturer Emcore Corp.

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Elkhart To Be Home To Norwegian Electric Car Maker

July 13, 2010 4:55 am

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Officials of a northern Indiana city have asked that the "For Lease" sign be taken down from the property where a company announced six months ago that it planned to start making electric cars. Norwegian-based Think Global says it remains committed to opening a factory in Elkhart, although it's still waiting on a decision about a federal loan it has sought.

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Support Grows For Innocence Of Jailed Toyota Driver

July 13, 2010 4:48 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The case of Koua Fong Lee, a Toyota driver imprisoned for a crash that killed three people, has spurred a grass roots movement among people who believe the St. Paul man is innocent. More than 5,500 people have signed up for a "Free Koua Fong Lee" page on Facebook, created by a Los Angeles man.

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