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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Gov't Backs More Solar Loans As Deadline Looms

October 3, 2011 5:34 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Energy Department on Friday approved four more solar energy loan guarantees worth nearly $5 billion, hours before a controversial loan program was set to expire. Meanwhile, the Justice Department moved to take away control of a failed solar panel maker from its management and transfer it to a court-appointed trustee.


UAW, Ford Near Agreement

October 3, 2011 5:31 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers may be nearing a tentative contract agreement with Ford. The union has called leaders from factories across the nation to Detroit on Tuesday. That usually means a deal has been reached. But a person briefed on the negotiations says talks ended Sunday night with no agreement.

Union Seeks Meeting With Sugar Beet Growers

October 3, 2011 5:26 am

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Union officials representing 1,300 locked out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers have mailed letters asking for a meeting with members of the sugar beet cooperative that owns the company as the harvest begins. The union workers have been locked out of five sugar processing plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa in the company's first labor impasse in 30 years.


Hitachi To Pay $21M For Price Fixing

October 3, 2011 5:22 am | by Pete Yost, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $21.1 million criminal fine for participating in conspiracies to rig bids and fix prices for optical disk drives. A felony charge filed in federal court in San Francisco alleges Hitachi-LG Data Storage conspired to eliminate competition over optical disk drives sold to Dell Inc.

Apple To Unveil New iPhone This Week

October 3, 2011 5:20 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple fans are amped. The computer and gadget maker is expected to announce a new, more powerful version of its wildly popular smartphone this week — more than a year after it unveiled the iPhone 4. Last week, Apple Inc. e-mailed invitations to a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday morning.


Gear From Gift Wrap Plant Sold At Auction

September 30, 2011 9:16 am

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Equipment that had been used to manufacture Christmas gift wrap until a few weeks ago has been auctioned at a Memphis plant. The closing of the Cleo, Inc., plant put 588 people out of work, but also ended employment for as many as 2,700 seasonal workers each year.


Toyota Begins Four-Cylinder Production In AL

September 30, 2011 9:13 am

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it has begun manufacturing four-cylinder engines at a subsidiary in Huntsville, Alabama, with the aim of meeting expected market demand and "increasing the autonomy" of its operations in North America by localizing production.


Japan Factory Production On The Rise

September 30, 2011 9:11 am | by Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's factory production rose for the fifth straight month in August, almost restoring it to levels recorded before the March earthquake and tsunami disasters. The improvement, however, is clouded by uncertainty ahead as Japanese manufacturers contend with a persistently strong yen and a fragile global economy.


Signal Maker: Not To Blame For Shanghai Rail Crash

September 30, 2011 9:08 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — The China-based maker of signaling systems for the Shanghai subway line where two trains crashed this week, injuring 284 people, said Thursday that its equipment was not at fault. "Our signal system has nothing to do with this incident," Casco Signal Ltd., a joint venture of China Railway Signal and Communication Corp.

IN Unemployment Overhaul Continues

September 30, 2011 9:06 am | by Tim LoBianco, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana workers taking voluntary buyouts will no longer be eligible for state unemployment benefits in Indiana beginning Saturday, and severance pay will be counted against unemployment payouts. The changes are part of Indiana's plan to pay off a $2 billion loan that the state took from the federal government to continue paying unemployment claims.

U.S. To Take Closer Look At Google's Motorola Deal

September 30, 2011 9:03 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is taking a closer look at Google's proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility, raising the hurdle that must be cleared before the deal can be completed. The extended review disclosed Wednesday had been widely expected since Google Inc.

UAW Chief Says Auto Bailout Was Right Move

September 30, 2011 5:22 am

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) — The United Auto Workers leader in Spring Hill said restarting assembly at the General Motors Co. plant and creating some 1,700 new jobs two years after shutting it down shows the auto industry bailout was the right move and President Barack Obama deserves credit.


AM General To Lay Off 350

September 30, 2011 5:18 am | by Tom Coyne, Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The northern Indiana-based company that makes Humvees for the military plans to lay off about 350 workers nationwide next month because of defense budget cuts and the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, company officials said Thursday. AM General's new production of Humvees for the U.


Toyota Case Dismissed Due To Damage Threshold

September 30, 2011 5:14 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in California has dismissed a case against Toyota Motor Corp. that was supposed to be the first to reach trial out of hundreds of sudden acceleration complaints filed in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna ruled Thursday that the court doesn't have jurisdiction because damages could not reach a $50,000 threshold under the law.

NASA Selects New Orleans For Rocket Project

September 30, 2011 5:09 am | by Alan Sayre, AP Business Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A year after the space shuttle program ended a major employment presence in southeastern Louisiana, NASA chose the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to build some components of its new heavy-lift rocket — provided the project is funded by Congress, a federal lawmaker said.

With Kindle Fire, Amazon's Digital Ambitions Burn

September 30, 2011 5:07 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Amazon's unveiling of the Kindle Fire tablet computer sends a bright-hot message: The online retailer is ready to rival iPad maker Apple in an effort to be the world's top digital content provider. It may sound odd coming from a company that pioneered online sales of physical products, selling its first book, Douglas Hofstadter's "Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought," in 1995.

Cyber Attacks On Utilities, Industries Rise

September 30, 2011 5:03 am | by Douglas Birch, Associated Press

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — U.S. utilities and industries face a rising number of cyber break-ins by attackers using more sophisticated methods, a senior Homeland Security Department official said during the government's first media tour of secretive defense labs intended to protect the nation's power grid, water systems and other vulnerable infrastructure.


Tucson Armor Maker To Open New Plant

September 29, 2011 9:08 am

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A Tucson-based armor maker is set to open a new manufacturing plant. Bourque Industries says the new plant on the city's east side could eventually employ 200 people. The company says the plant will produce advanced ballistic armor for military and law enforcement use and ultra-high-performing metal alloys for various industrial applications.


GM To Offer Center Air Bag In 2012

September 29, 2011 9:06 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. said Thursday it will install a center air bag on three of its models next year to better protect drivers and front-seat passengers. The new bag inflates from the right side of the driver's seat and is designed to protect people when their vehicles are hit on the opposite side of where they are sitting.

Firm Promises Payments To Moberly For Plant

September 29, 2011 9:04 am

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The former CEO of a firm behind a Missouri artificial sweetener plant in Moberly agreed that his new company will pay the city $250,000 by Monday and $3.2 million more within a month for the project now to be turned over to that company. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (http://bit.



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