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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Orders For Long-Lasting U.S. Factory Goods Plunge

August 26, 2013 10:08 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell sharply last month as demand for commercial aircraft plummeted and businesses spent less on computers and electrical equipment. The Commerce Department said Monday that orders for durable goods plunged 7.3 percent in July, the steepest drop in nearly a year. 

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Fracking Health Project Puts Numbers To Debate

August 26, 2013 10:05 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press

A project examining the local health impacts from natural gas drilling is providing some of the first preliminary numbers about people who may be affected, and the results challenge the industry position that no one suffers but also suggest the problems may not be as widespread as some critics claim.

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Toyota Freshens Lexus Image To Woo Young

August 26, 2013 10:03 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Write

Toyota's luxury brand Lexus is trying to shake off its stodgy image. So it's opening a cafe. The special lounges, the first of which is opening next week in Tokyo's fashionable Aoyama district, are designed to look more like a chic home than a standard showroom. In fact, only one vehicle can be displayed at a time.

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Gov't Seeks New Limits On Silica Dust

August 26, 2013 10:00 am | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press

Federal regulators announced plans to dramatically limit workplace exposure to silica dust, an agent known to cause crippling lung disease and cancer in thousands of workers each year. The proposal from OSHA would cut in half the amount of silica exposure allowed for general industry and maritime workers. 

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Smith Electric Announces Joint Venture In Taiwan

August 23, 2013 4:37 pm | by Smith Electric Vehicle

Smith Electric Vehicles, a leading global producer of all-electric medium-duty commercial vehicles, today announced that it has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Taikang Technology Corporation in Taiwan. Taikang Technology Corporation, a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in Taiwan, has twenty-five years of automotive experience and has expertise in upfitting specialized municipal commercial vehicles. 

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'Hyperloop' Travel Idea Gains Fans, Backers

August 23, 2013 2:02 pm | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk urged the public to polish sketch plans he released last week for a "Hyperloop" that would shoot capsules full of people at the speed of sound through elevated tubes connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. From tinkerers to engineers, the race is on.

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Toyota Canada Settles Recall Claims

August 23, 2013 2:00 pm | by The Canadian Press

Toyota Canada says it has agreed to settle consumer claims related to losses stemming from its recalls in 2009 and 2010. About 14,500 Lexus RX350 and RX450h models from the 2010 model year were recalled because of suspected throttle control problems

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TV Plant To Bring 500 Jobs To SC

August 23, 2013 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press

A company that makes televisions is moving a plant from China to South Carolina, bringing 500 new jobs. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced the $7.5 million Element Electronics plant Thursday. The plant will be located in Winnsboro inside a building that's been vacant for several years. Production should start in December.

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GE Adds Jobs In IL, OH Lighting Plants

August 23, 2013 1:56 pm | by The Associated Press

General Electric Co. says it will add more than 150 jobs at three factories in Illinois and Ohio to meet what the company says is increased demand for alternatives to traditional incandescent light bulbs. Part of that includes a new deal with Walmart.

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Indonesia Curbs Luxury Car Imports

August 23, 2013 1:54 pm | by Niniek Karmini, Associated Press

Indonesia said that it would curb imports of luxury cars and take other steps to bolster national finances as Southeast Asia's largest economy suffers a slumping currency and stock market. Indonesia has been buffeted by an exodus of cash from its financial markets as improving economic prospects in the U.S and Europe reverse the tide of money that swept into developing nations the past few years.

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AK Steel Reaches $1.6M Settlement With Feds

August 23, 2013 1:52 pm | by The Associated Press

AK Steel Corp. is paying a $1.6 million civil penalty to resolve air pollution violations that occurred at its now-closed coke plant in Ashland. The settlement also calls for AK Steel to spend at least $2 million to improve emissions at its Ashland West Works facility.

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Measure Of U.S. Economy's Health Rose In July

August 23, 2013 10:17 am | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer

A gauge of the U.S. economy's health rose in July, pointing to stronger growth in the second half of the year. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month to a reading of 96.0. The increase followed no change in June and a 0.2 percent increase in May.

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Feds Probe Jeep Grand Cherokee Ceiling Fires

August 23, 2013 10:15 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that the ceilings can catch fire in 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The probe, announced Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covers an estimated 146,000 of the popular sport utility vehicles.

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Tesla Opens Assembly Plant In Netherlands

August 23, 2013 10:14 am | by The Associated Press

Tesla Motors on Thursday opened its assembly plant in Tilburg, Netherlands, creating a new distribution site for the luxury electric car company's European customers. The U.S. company began deliveries of its Model S sedan in Norway earlier this month and said that some of its first Dutch, Belgian, French and German customers received their cars at the brand new Tilburg facility on Thursday.

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PA Shale Drillers Says More Help Wanted

August 23, 2013 10:12 am | by The Associated Press

Companies operating in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions say it has been a challenge to fill openings in engineering, geology, environmental health and other professional fields. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a gas drilling industry trade group, on Wednesday released a workforce survey of more than 100 of its members.

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Prosecutors Ask Out Of Ex-BP Engineer's Case

August 23, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press

Three Justice Department prosecutors have asked to withdraw from the case against a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday's request to withdraw Derek Cohen, Avi Gesser and Scott Cullen from the prosecution of Kurt Mix was a "staffing adjustment" that shouldn't affect trial preparations.

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Atlas Copco To Expand Into Vacuum Solutions

August 22, 2013 4:48 pm | by Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco AB and Edwards Group Ltd. have entered into an agreement where Atlas Copco will acquire Edwards, a leading global supplier of vacuum and abatement solutions for an amount of up to BSEK 10.6 (BUSD 1.6). The company is headquartered in the United Kingdom and listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York.

Wal-Mart Pushes 'Made In America' At Summit

August 22, 2013 2:23 pm | by Anne D'nnocenzio, Mike Schneider, Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hoping for a groundswell "made-in-America" movement. The world's largest retailer hosted its first two-day summit Thursday bringing together retailers, suppliers and government officials that it hopes will build on its recent commitment to drive more manufacturing in the U.S.

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Jack Daniel's Prepares For Its Largest Expansion

August 22, 2013 2:20 pm | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

Jack Daniel's is being served a $100 million-plus expansion of its rural Tennessee distillery to flex more muscle in the growing whiskey market. The investment amounts to the largest single production expansion in the brand's long history.

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Survey: China Manufacturing Slump Stabilizing

August 22, 2013 2:18 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

China's manufacturing slowdown stabilized in August in another possible sign the world's second-largest economy is improving, a survey showed Thursday. HSBC Corp. said the preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers index rose to 50.1 from July's 47.7 on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.

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