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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Fuel Prices Force Automakers To Think Greener

March 1, 2011 3:54 am | by Colleen Barry, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — Just when carmakers thought it safe to roll out new models in the wake of the economic crisis — 170 premiers are advertised for the Geneva Auto Show opening this week — a spike in fuel prices has cast a new shadow over the industry and redoubled attention on green technologies.

U.S. Manufacturing Hits New High Since May 2004

March 1, 2011 3:38 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturers likely increased production at a slightly faster pace in February than in January, when output rose at the quickest pace since May 2004. Economists forecast that the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index ticked up to 60.9 in February from 60.

UAW, Caterpillar Avoid Walkout With New Contract

March 1, 2011 3:33 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The United Auto Workers say the union has reached a tentative labor agreement with Caterpillar Inc., averting a possible walkout. The UAW says the tentative six-year deal was reached Monday night. Union members will vote on it this weekend. Both Caterpillar and the union issued releases on the agreement Monday night, but neither revealed any details about the proposed contract.

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Harley's Kansas City Union Approve $15 Million In Cuts

March 1, 2011 3:28 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Union workers at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City approved a contract that the company says was needed to keep the plant in Missouri. The seven-year contract approved Monday will mean the loss of about 145 full-time workers. The company will add about 145 positions for workers to fill in when needed.

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Body Armor Contractor Execs Charged With Fraud

March 1, 2011 3:24 am | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators on Monday charged a U.S. defense contractor and three of its former board members with accounting fraud, saying the company overstated earnings to investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission said DHB Industries Inc. settled the civil charges without receiving any penalty.

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Illegal Immigrant-Hirer Now Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

March 1, 2011 3:18 am | by Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi company that pleaded guilty to conspiracy related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants is now facing a lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against non-immigrants who applied for jobs. A discrimination lawsuit filed Friday in U.

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Toyota: Our 'Crown Jewel' Is Source Code, Not Cars

February 28, 2011 3:59 am | by Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press

SANTA ANA, California (AP) — A federal judge overseeing lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. for sudden acceleration problems indicated Friday that he will allow the automaker to monitor plaintiffs' access to its proprietary source code. And he proposed a number of other ways to prevent leaks of what Toyota says is the "crown jewel" of its intellectual property.

Auto Industry Can't Catch A Break As Gas Prices Rise

February 28, 2011 3:54 am | by Colleen Barry, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — The car industry, it seems, just can't get a break. Just when automakers thought it safe to roll out new models in the wake of the devastating economic crisis — 170 premiers are advertised for the Geneva Auto Show opening this week — confidence is shaken by a spike in oil prices due to civil unrest in Libya and other energy-producing nations.

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Buffett: It's Time To Be Optimistic About Our Future

February 28, 2011 3:50 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett wants Americans to be optimistic about the country's future but wary about borrowing money and the games public companies play with profit numbers they report. Buffett said in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders Saturday that he still believes America's best days are ahead.

Boeing's Helena Workers Get Two-Decade Job Security

February 28, 2011 3:41 am

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Workers at a plant in Helena recently acquired by Boeing will likely have steady work for another two decades following the Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion defense contract to the company, a Boeing spokesman said. The Helena facility makes the main landing gear beams for 767 widebody jetliners, which the Air Force intends to use for its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

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Mazda Forced To Pay Family For Worker Suicide

February 28, 2011 3:39 am | by Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Monday ordered automaker Mazda to pay 63 million yen ($770,000) in damages to the parents of an employee who was ruled to have committed suicide over depression from being overworked. Japan, a workaholic nation where people often take pride in suffering in silence, has been plagued with deaths of overworked people, some resorting to suicide and others dying from exhaustion.

Bi-Partisan Effort Battles Business To Overhaul Patents

February 28, 2011 3:34 am | by Jim Abrams, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The patent system hasn't changed much since 1952 when Sony was coming out with its first pocket-size transistor radio, and bar codes and Mr. Potato Head were among the inventions patented. Now, after years of trying, Congress may be about to do something about that. The Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, which would significantly overhaul a 1952 law and, supporters say, bring the patent system in line with 21st century technology of biogenetics and artificial intelligence.

Survey: Business Still Volatile, But Improving

February 25, 2011 6:11 am

Sixty-four percent of finance executives expect the overall economy in 2011 to fare better than in 2010 — an optimistic outlook reflected by reports of improving economic conditions, reduced fears of a “double-dip” recovery and increased expectations for revenue growth. These results are part of the findings of a quarterly poll of finance executives conducted in December 2010 by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Innovation Network.

Clinton: Ethanol Fuel Could Lead To Food Riots Worldwide

February 25, 2011 3:41 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — With global food prices rising and more corn being diverted to the production of ethanol fuel, Bill Clinton is warning of food riots in poor nations. The former president told farmers and Agriculture Department employees on Thursday that while producing biofuels is important for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, farmers should also look beyond domestic production and consider the needs of developing countries.

Boeing Wins $35 Billion Tanker Contract

February 25, 2011 3:28 am | by George Tibbits, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. states of Washington and Kansas are celebrating a decision to award Boeing Co., a $35 billion contract to build nearly 200 airborne refueling tankers, one of the biggest defense contracts ever that will add tens of thousands of jobs to the struggling economy and bolster regional air industries for a generation.

Obama: Business Leaders Must Back The Middle Class

February 25, 2011 3:26 am | by Julie Pace, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — As corporate profits rise and Wall Street earnings soar, President Barack Obama is pressing American business leaders to create more jobs and find ways for struggling middle-class families to share in the nation's economic recovery. Obama says the private sector has to do its part to ensure that "we're not simply creating an economy in which one segment of it is doing very well, but the rest of the folks are out there treading water.

Volvo To Invest $11-12 Billion In Global Expansion

February 25, 2011 3:22 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Volvo Cars said Friday it will invest $10-$11 billion worldwide over the next five years in an ambitious expansion following its acquisition by a Chinese automaker. CEO Stefan Jacoby's announcement came as Volvo unveiled plans to target fast-growing China for stronger sales.

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Miss. Company Pleads Guilty To Hiring 600 Illegal Workers

February 25, 2011 3:17 am | by Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — One of Mississippi's most successful private companies pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to violate immigration laws related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants, federal authorities said. Immigration agents detained more than 600 illegal immigrants at Howard Industries' electrical transformerplant in Laurel during a massive raid on Aug.

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Toyota Recalls Another 2.17 Million Vehicles In U.S.

February 25, 2011 3:14 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States on Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker.

Applied Industrial Technologies Names New Director Of Corporate Purchasing

February 24, 2011 10:46 am

CLEVELAND, OH — Applied Industrial Technologies (NYSE: AIT) has announced that Dave Smith has been promoted to Director of Corporate Purchasing.  In this role, Smith will oversee the product purchasing needs for all of the company’s distribution centers, as well as activities related to transportation and procurement systems.

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