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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Car Sales Down Despite New Models

October 4, 2010 5:21 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — New models and Labor Day holiday promotions didn't do much to fire Americans' appetites for new cars in September. Sales at Chrysler and Ford rose slightly from August. They fell at General Motors and Honda and were flat at Toyota. Car companies say a recovery is still happening, but it's not as strong as they had hoped following a terrible 2009.

Apple Could Surpass Exxon As 'Most Valuable' Company

October 4, 2010 4:53 am | by David K. Randall, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Here's something to think about the next time you pick up a call on your iPhone: the device you're holding may soon be the signature product of the most valuable company in the world. Thanks to its line of gadgets that combine the ability to make calls, send email, read books, watch movies and listen to music, Apple Inc.

China's Reliance On Rare Earth Metals Worries Washington

October 4, 2010 4:49 am

TOKYO (AP) — China's recent halt of exotic metal shipments to Japan amid a diplomatic spat has reverberated throughout the world's high-tech manufacturing hubs — now on heightened alert to the risks of relying on one country for materials that do everything from helping hybrid engines run to creating the color red in televisions.


Students Build, Battle Robots To Understand Manufacturing

October 4, 2010 4:47 am | by Lugene Hudson, Associated Press Writer

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) — The plan for being the best involves building a robot. At Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, the best stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. Students from various shops have been meeting with electronics instructor Barry Clever to construct a prototype operating robot.


GE To Invest $68 Million In Indiana Plant

October 4, 2010 4:47 am

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — General Electric plans to invest $68 million to redesign side-by-side refrigerators made at an Indiana plant. Louisville, Ky.-based GE Appliances & Lighting told employees at the Bloomington plant Friday about the investment. It's part of an agreement with the union in May that includes a wage freeze and competitive wage structure for new employees.


Manufacturing Growth Sparks Wall Street Recovery

October 4, 2010 4:45 am | by Stephen Bernard, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks started off October on a positive note following mostly good news on the economy. Shares of big manufacturing companies like Boeing Co., General Electric Co. and 3M Co. rose Friday after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index showed that factory activity was still expanding in September, although not quite as fast as analysts had hoped and slightly slower than the month before.

Munire Furniture To Buy Abandoned Auto Parts Plant

October 1, 2010 5:05 am

GAS CITY, Ind. (AP) — A company plans to buy a closed auto parts factory in central Indiana and start producing children's furniture there this fall. Executives of New Jersey-based Munire Furniture joined Gov. Mitch Daniels and local officials Friday in announcing plans for the Gas City factory.


J&J Execs, FDA Take Heat For 'Phantom' Recall

October 1, 2010 4:47 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Johnson & Johnson executives and the Food and Drug Administration both shouldered the blame Thursday for a secret recall in which hired contractors quietly bought up defective painkillers to clear them from store shelves. J&J Chief Executive William Weldon told House lawmakers the company "made a mistake" in conducting the so-called "phantom recall," which is one of a string of problems that have drawn congressional scrutiny In the same committee hearing, the FDA's deputy commissioner, Dr.


Weath Gap Hits Manufacturing Workers Hard

October 1, 2010 4:46 am | by Jim Fitzgerald and Vicki Smith, Associated Press Writers

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) — A Wall Street adviser leaves early for work to avoid panhandlers at his suburban train station. In coal country, a suddenly homeless man watches from a bench as wealthy women shop for dresses. A down-and-out waitress sits glumly on her stoop across the street from a gleaming suburb.


HP's New CEO Befuddles Investors, Wall Street

October 1, 2010 4:45 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co.'s board upset many investors when it forced out Mark Hurd as CEO nearly two months ago. Now, those directors appear to have baffled Wall Street with its selection of HP's new leader — Leo Apotheker, who lost his job running German business software maker SAP earlier this year after he didn't live up to expectations.

At Paris Auto Show, Gasoline Is Still King

October 1, 2010 4:44 am | by Colleen Barry and Greg Keller, AP Business Writers

PARIS (AP) — Hybrids and electric cars may get top billing. But at the Paris Auto Show, conventional engines are showing they have plenty of mileage left. New gas and diesel models have carbon emissions not far behind those of hybrids, and there's nothing old-fashioned about their small size and highly efficient internal combustion technology.

Economists Expect Manufacturing Growth In September

October 1, 2010 4:43 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Growth in the manufacturing sector likely continued in September but at a slightly slower pace, economists say. Makers of goods such as PCs, autos, furniture and factory machinery helped pull the economy out from the recession because of overseas sales and strong demand from businesses that needed to replenish their stockpiles of goods.

Boeing Receives $5.3 Billion Fighter Jet Order

September 29, 2010 3:39 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy is ordering $5.3 billion worth of F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Boeing Co. Boeing says the order is for 124 aircraft to be delivered between 2012 and 2015. The order includes 66 Super Hornets and 58 of its new Growlers, which are two-seat jets equipped with radar-jamming equipment and other gear to knock out a wide array of electronic devices.

HP Paints Rosy Outlook Despite Missing A CEO

September 29, 2010 3:21 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co. offered a rosy financial outlook Tuesday without giving any guidance on the biggest issue hanging over the world's largest technology company: the identity of its next CEO. The leading maker of personal computers and printers has been looking for a new leader since its board pressured Mark Hurd, its CEO of five years, to step down in an early August scandal revolving around allegations of sexual harassment and deceptive expense reports.

Kid's Science Kits May Be No More Thanks To CPSC

September 29, 2010 3:16 am | by Jennifer C. Kerr, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the tools that teachers use to get kids jazzed about science — hands-on science kits — could face an uncertain future amid a debate on safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been mired for weeks in deliberation as it writes guidelines on what makes a product a "children's product.

Caterpillar To Build Mini Excavators In China

September 29, 2010 3:13 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest marker of construction and mining equipment, said Wednesday it plans to open a new facility in Wujiang, China, to build mini hydraulic excavators. The company currently supplies Chinese customers with mini excavators produced at a facility in Xuzhou, China, and with machines produced in Sagami, Japan.

Iowa-Based AMS 'Anxious' To Build Electric Cars

September 29, 2010 3:12 am

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Webster City company is close to beginning production of electric vehicles. AMS Inc. owner Joe Fleming says the firm is about two weeks away from producing the autos and is putting final preparations in place. The Webster City Freeman Journal reports Tuesday that the company will start out assembling about 38 cars a week and increase that to about 100 cars a week in December.

Warehouse Shooter Quarreled With Woman He Shot 11 Times

September 29, 2010 3:09 am

CRETE, Neb. (AP) — Investigators say the man who shot three co-workers at a cold-storage warehouse in southeast Nebraska and then fatally shot himself had argued with the woman he shot 11 times. The Saline County Sheriff's office released an update Tuesday on its investigation of the Sept.


Hershey Approves $200 Million Expansion Project

September 29, 2010 3:07 am

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Chocolate maker Hershey has gained township approval for a $200 million expansion project that would shift production from a century-old plant to a modern facility nearby. Derry Township supervisors on Tuesday approved the final land development plans for the 243,000-square-foot expansion at a plant in West Hershey.


India's Economy Primed To Grow 10 Percent A Year

September 28, 2010 4:47 am | by Vijay Joshi, Associated Press Writer

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — India's economy could easily grow 10 percent a year if the government makes dramatic improvements to infrastructure, boosts productivity and improves education standards, a top Indian policymaker said Tuesday. At a time when developed countries are barely growing, India expects to achieve a growth rate of 8.



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