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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Obama Likely To Miss Goal Of Doubling Exports

August 5, 2013 10:22 am | by Tom Raum, Associated Press Writer

Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. With just 18 months to go to 2015, that target seems to be slipping beyond reach and has vanished from White House talking points. Blame tepid U.S. manufacturing growth, the lingering weak global economy, and a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes it harder to sell American goods and services overseas.


Solid U.S. Job Gains Could Bolster 2nd-Half Growth

August 5, 2013 10:20 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Robust hiring in July would mark a fourth straight month of solid gains, an encouraging sign for a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment. Economists predict that employers added 183,000 jobs — a figure that would show that businesses are growing more confident despite weak economic growth.


FEMA Approves Aid For TX Fertilizer Plant Blast

August 5, 2013 10:18 am | by Will Weissert, Associated Press

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reversed its previous decision and approved additional funding Friday to help rebuild the small Texas town where an April fertilizer plant explosion leveled homes, damaged buildings and killed 15 people.


AR Board To Weigh Bonds For Aircraft Manufacturer

August 5, 2013 10:16 am | by The Associated Press

Little Rock's city council is scheduled to vote on whether to issue industrial development bonds to help finance an expansion of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp.'s aircraft finishing plant. The bonds up for a Tuesday vote would not exceed $60 million and the rental of the company's space at the airport would be used to repay the bonds.


Keynote Speakers Announced for AME Summit

August 5, 2013 9:09 am | by Association for Manufacturing Excellence

The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) is pleased to present a panel of distinguished keynote speakers at its 2013 Atlanta Lean Summit Aug. 26-29. These influential leaders will share their insights on a variety of topics related to the event’s theme of “It’s All About Leadership,” exposing attendees to cutting-edge techniques and technologies for achieving and sustaining excellence.


U.S. Auto Sales Up In July As Cars See Big Gains

August 1, 2013 3:09 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

Pickup trucks led the charge in July, but strong sales of small cars show that demand for new vehicles is broad — and not slowing down. Car sales grew in the first six months of this year, but not at the blistering pace of trucks and SUVs. Through June, full-size pickups were up 22.5 percent over the year before, while cars were up 5 percent.


Court: Tyson Workers Must Be Paid For Donning Gear

August 1, 2013 3:08 pm | by The Associated Press

Workers at a Wisconsin meat processing plant must be paid for time spent putting on and taking off protective clothing, an appeals court ruled. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by six workers at the Tyson Prepared Foods plant in Jefferson. It is one of several filed nationwide by meat and poultry workers, who say they spend significant time putting on and taking off gear.


Beechcraft Lands Nearly $1.4B Deal

August 1, 2013 3:05 pm | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

Newly reorganized Beechcraft Corp. said Thursday it's received a nearly $1.4 billion order — believed to be the largest propeller aircraft order by value in general aviation history. The Wichita-based plane maker won a contract to build up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft, valued at $788 million, from Wheels Up, a New York City-based private aviation membership company.


Panasonic To Boost Lithium-Ion Battery Production

August 1, 2013 3:04 pm | by The Associated Press

Panasonic Corp. will increase domestic production of lithium-ion battery used for automobiles to meet robust demand in the United States, company sources said Thursday. The struggling electronics maker will resume operation of idled lines at an Osaka factory, which produces batteries for U.S. automaker Tesla Motors Inc.


Towing Equipment Company Expanding In TN

August 1, 2013 3:02 pm | by The Associated Press

Towing equipment manufacturer Miller Industries is expanding in Greeneville, Tenn. and adding 58 jobs. The announcement Thursday by the company and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said Miller will add a new product line that includes building and refurbishing over-the-road trailers that haul cars to dealerships.


Feds Wrap Initial Review Of AR Oil Spill Report

August 1, 2013 3:01 pm | by The Associated Press

A federal agency has completed its initial review of a report about an Exxon Mobil Corp. oil pipeline that ruptured in central Arkansas this year. That report, which was prepared by Hurst Metallurgical Research Laboratory Inc., points to a manufacturing defect of the pipe.


U.S. Factories Rebound With Best Growth In 2 Years

August 1, 2013 2:20 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing is rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth.


Damaged Geismar Plant Could Restart In April

August 1, 2013 2:18 pm | by David Mitchell, The Advocate

Williams Olefins LLC expects in early April to restart its Geismar plant that was damaged in June by a fire and explosion that fatally burned two men and injured 114 people. Williams Partners, of Tulsa, Okla., said it expects to finish the estimated $102 million in repairs by April and also a $450 million to $500 million ethylene production expansion that had been underway at the time of the June 13 explosion and fire.


French Military Receives First A400M

August 1, 2013 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press

France has become the first country to receive an A400M military transport plane from Airbus, bringing to fruition a long-troubled program. The delivery Thursday culminates "a long, complex and thorough process" between Airbus Military and the seven European nations behind the program, France's DGA military procurement agency said in a statement.


China Manufacturing Weak As Small Firms Hurt More

August 1, 2013 2:15 pm | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer

Chinese manufacturing remained weak last month with small and midsized private businesses suffering a bigger share of the pain, two surveys indicated Thursday, adding to an uncertain outlook for the world's No. 2 economy. The official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's manufacturing index strengthened slightly to 50.3 from June's 50.1.


Chevron Fined $284K For Pollution Law Violations

August 1, 2013 2:12 pm | by The Associated Press

Chevron has agreed to pay a $284,000 fine and help buy four clean-running school buses after inspectors found pollution law violations at a Salt Lake City refinery. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement with the company Wednesday.


Dell's Board Deals Blow To CEO's $24.4B Buyout Bid

August 1, 2013 2:08 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

Dell's board rejected CEO Michael Dell's attempt to change the voting rules for his bid to buy the slumping personal computer maker, a decision that is likely to doom the deal. But the endangered buyout could still get a reprieve if Michael Dell and his allies accept a counterproposal that would extend the voting period for a third time and allow a bigger pool of shareholders to cast ballots.


Ford Pays Gov't $17.35M Fine To Settle Recall Spat

August 1, 2013 1:00 pm | by The Associated Press

Ford says it has paid the government $17.35 million to settle a dispute over allegations that Ford delayed a safety recall. The company says it paid the fine to avoid a lengthy dispute with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Obama Orders Review Of Chemical Plant Rules

August 1, 2013 12:58 pm | by Julie Pace, AP White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama is ordering federal agencies to review safety rules at chemical facilities in response to the deadly April explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant. In an executive order announced Thursday, Obama tasks agencies with identifying new ways to safely store and secure ammonium nitrate, the explosive chemical investigators say caused the blast.


U.S. Economy May Need Continued Fed Support

August 1, 2013 12:57 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

A key government report and a statement from the Federal Reserve made clear Wednesday that the U.S. economy still needs help. The economy grew at a lackluster 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was better than a revised 1.1 percent rate for the first quarter but still far too sluggish to quickly reduce unemployment.



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