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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Ill. Officials Invest $8.8 Million To Retain 1,400 Jobs

October 12, 2010 4:52 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are announcing an investment package they say will retain 1,400 jobs at a western Illinois pork-processing plant. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer an $8.8 million investment package for Farmland Foods in Monmouth.

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Trane Inc. Lays Off 109 Workers From Ark. Plant

October 12, 2010 4:50 am

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Trane Inc. says 109 hourly workers have been laid off from the company's air conditioning manufacturing plant. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Trane officials on Monday confirmed the layoffs were made Friday as part of a restructuring that was announced in February.

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China's Auto Sales Slow As Tax Breaks Fade

October 12, 2010 4:47 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's auto sales slowed further in September as a boom fueled by tax breaks and subsidies faded. Official figures for the month, delayed by a weeklong national holiday, showed total sales rising 17 percent from a year earlier to 1.56 million vehicles, down from 18 percent in August, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Tuesday.

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HP's New CEO To Start Job In The Courtroom

October 12, 2010 4:44 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new CEO will start his job in a courtroom — and in the crosshairs of HP's new antagonist, Oracle Corp. Court documents show that Leo Apotheker is being called as a witness in Oracle's corporate espionage trial against rival SAP AG, Apotheker's employer of more than 20 years.

Marubeni Joins Google In Offshore Wind Projects

October 12, 2010 4:43 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese industrial conglomerate Marubeni said Tuesday it is joining Google Inc. and two other companies to build an undersea power cable that would link wind power plants off the U.S. Atlantic coast. The project involves connecting wind farms to be built off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia with inland power networks in the four states, Marubeni Corp.

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Danish 'Green' Manufacturer Plans Milwaukee Plant

October 11, 2010 4:57 am | by Thomas Content, Associated Press Writer

NEW BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — A Danish firm's expansion is giving Wisconsin another player in the manufacturing sector geared toward alternative energy. Avanti Wind has been in operation here for several years, making service lifts used by technicians who inspect and repair wind turbines and need to scale the turbines' tall towers.

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Toyota Plans Two Cars Under Prius Name, Including Plug-In

October 11, 2010 4:53 am | by Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota plans to roll out two new cars under the Prius name by next year, according to a dealer briefed on the plans, as the automaker seeks to turn its popular hybrid into a family of vehicles. The Japanese automaker will begin selling a Prius station wagon starting next summer as either a 2011 or 2012 model, said Adam Lee, president of the Lee Auto Malls chain of dealerships in Maine.

Mercedes-Benz Recalls 85,000 For Power Steering Failures

October 11, 2010 4:51 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mercedes-Benz is recalling about 85,000 of its 2010 and 2011 cars because of potential steering problems. The luxury automaker said in a report to federal regulators that the steering systems in the cars "may fail due to the loss of power steering fluid." Mercedes-Benz said that if that happens, drivers "may not have sufficient control of the vehicle .

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Google Quietly Road-Testing Cars That Drive Themselves

October 11, 2010 4:49 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google Inc. is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver, the company says. The goal is to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions" through ride sharing and "the new 'highway trains of tomorrow,'" project leader Sebastian Thrun wrote Saturday on Google's corporate blog.

Hungarian Plant Apologizes For Sludge Spill, Expects Another

October 11, 2010 4:48 am | by Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer

KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — The owners of the metals plant whose reservoir burst, flooding several towns in western Hungary with caustic red sludge, expressed their condolences Sunday to the families of the seven people killed, as well as to those injured — and said they were sorry for not having done so sooner.

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Many Unemployed No Longer Qualify For Old Jobs

October 11, 2010 4:47 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them. They're running into a trend that took root during the recession. Companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers.

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Georgia Carpet-Maker Closes, Cutting 192 Jobs

October 8, 2010 4:41 am

ROYSTON, Ga. (AP) — Beaulieu of America says it's closing its carpet fiber plant in Royston next month, eliminating 192 jobs. Beaulieu, which is based in Dalton, plans to stop production Nov. 26 at the Royston plant, where spun yarn is manufactured. The plant ranks among Franklin County's 10 largest employers.

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Siemens Opens $50 Million Kan. Wind Turbine Plant

October 8, 2010 4:40 am

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson is getting in on the wind turbine business as Siemens Energy starts production at a new $50 million plant in the city. Plant Manager Claus Ungstrup says the facility already has enough orders to keep it busy through 2011. It makes 2.3-megawatt wind turbine nacelles, the housings that include the generator, transformer and gearbox.

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Transocean To Pay $4 Million To Brain-Damaged Worker

October 8, 2010 4:37 am

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A federal jury has ordered Transocean to pay more than $4 million in damages to an oilfield worker injured in an offshore rig accident. The judgment entered Tuesday capped a trial for the lawsuit that 32-year-old Dan Averette filed over the July 14, 2007, accident aboard the Amirante, a rig owned by Transocean Enterprise Inc.

Official: China Will Not Use Rare Metals As 'Bargaining Chip'

October 8, 2010 4:36 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China is not using its control over supplies of rare earth — exotic metals crucial in advanced manufacturing — as a diplomatic "bargaining chip," state media quoted Premier Wen Jiabao as saying during a visit to Europe. Recent reports that Beijing had temporarily suspended shipments to Japan of the metallic elements, used in computer disk drives, hybrid car components and other high-tech products, has drawn attention to China's near monopoly on the materials.

Africa's Cocoa Industry Still Supported By Child Trafficking

October 8, 2010 4:33 am | by Marco Chown Oved, Associated Press Writer

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — West Africa's cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices, according to an independent audit published by Tulane University. A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor.

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GM, UAW Reach Wage-Cutting Deal At Small Car Plant

October 8, 2010 4:32 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — General Motors and the United Auto Workers have reached a cost-cutting deal that could help accomplish what once seemed impossible: Making a profit on small cars built in the United States. The deal, announced Thursday, could cut in half the hourly wage of some longtime UAW workers at a factory in Orion Township, Mich.

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Criminal Negligence Case Opened For Toxic Sludge Avalanche

October 6, 2010 4:58 am | by Bela Szandelszky and Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writers

KOLONTAR, Hungary (AP) — Police say Hungary's top investigative agency is taking over the inquiry into the toxic sludge reservoir that burst, flooding several towns in western Hungary and killing at least four people. Police spokeswoman Monika Benyi tells The Associated Press that the decision Wednesday by National Police Chief Jozsef Hatala reflects the importance and complexity of the sludge disaster.

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Geithner: Yuan Undervaluation Hurting U.S. Manufacturers

October 6, 2010 4:48 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stepped up pressure on China to make more progress in moving toward flexible exchange rates. Geithner said Wednesday that it is particularly important to see appreciation in countries where the currency is significantly undervalued. Geithner never mentioned China, but the speech was clearly aimed at the world's second-largest economy.

Majority Of 6,000 Kan. Beechcraft Jobs Saved By Gov.

October 6, 2010 4:41 am | by John Milburn, Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An agreement has been reached that could keep "the vast majority" of the Hawker Beechcraft general aviation jobs in the Wichita, Gov. Mark Parkinson said late Tuesday. Parkinson said he brokered a "long-term deal" with the company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.

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