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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

CAT To Close Toronto Factory

May 6, 2013 10:25 am | by The Canadian Press

Heavy equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. says it is closing a tunnel-boring machine factory in Toronto by mid-2014, throwing 330 workers out of a job. Caterpillar acquired the facility in 2008 when it bought Lovat Inc. and got into the tunnelling business, but now says the plant is no longer a "strategic growth opportunity" and will be shut down.

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TX Plant That Blew Up Carried $1M Policy

May 6, 2013 10:22 am | by Christopher Sherman, Associated Press

The Texas fertilizer plant that exploded last month, killing 14 people, injuring more than 200 others and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to the surrounding area had only $1 million in liability coverage, lawyers said Saturday.

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Moberly Dismissed From Mamtek Investor Lawsuit

May 6, 2013 10:20 am | by The Associated Press

The city of Moberly and its industrial development agency have been dismissed from a civil lawsuit filed by spurned investors in the failed Mamtek artificial sweetener factory. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that a Cole County judge on April 25 dismissed the city and the Moberly Industrial Development Authority from a 2012 suit filed by Shelter Insurance Cos. and the Waddell & Reed investment brokerage.

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Solar Plane Lands In AZ, First Leg Of U.S. Trip

May 6, 2013 10:18 am | by Bob Seavey, Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Alone in the single-seat cockpit and high above the American Southwest, pilot Bertrand Piccard could hear only his plane's gear box and the quiet whine of four electric motors. No noisy jet engines. He's flying Solar Impulse, considered the world's most advanced sun-powered plane.

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ALCOA Expanding TN Plant For Auto Making Needs

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by The Associated Press

ALCOA says resurgent auto manufacturing is creating demand for its aluminum products and it will expand its plant in Tennessee. The Daily Times first reported the company will create 200 new jobs with a $275 million expansion of its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn. Some 400 construction jobs will be created in building it.

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Clean Technology Investors Shift Focus To Drilling

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer

A decade ago, large investors in so-called clean technology had a straightforward goal: finance companies that would help eliminate the world's dependence on oil, natural gas and coal. But as profits from wind, solar, biofuels and other alternatives consistently fell short of expectations — and as the fossil fuel business boomed — things got complicated.

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Survey: China Manufacturing Growth Is Slowing

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by The Associated Press

Chinese manufacturing growth slowed in April as global demand weakened, adding to signs its shaky recovery might be weakening, a survey showed Thursday. HSBC Corp.'s purchasing managers index fell to 50.4 from March's 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an expansion in activity.

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GM Is Buying 'Factory One' Facility In Flint

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by The Associated Press

General Motors is buying the original Durant-Dort Carriage Co. facility, a century-old building in Flint known as "Factory One" that officials say was the automaker's birthplace. GM North America President Mark Reuss signed an agreement Wednesday to purchase the 133-year-old, 25,000-square-foot facility, MLive.com reported.

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U.S. Factory Orders Down 4 Percent In March

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

Orders to U.S. factories fell in March by the largest amount in seven months but a key category that signals business investment plans managed a small increase. Factory orders dropped 4 percent in March, reflecting a big plunge in the volatile category of commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

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Fire At TX Formosa Plant Leaves 16 Hurt

May 3, 2013 5:08 pm | by The Associated Press

A fire at a South Texas petrochemical plant has left 16 workers hurt — including two critically — and the ethylene purification area shut down. A spokesman for Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A. said Friday that the cause of the fire at the Port Comfort plant remains under investigation.

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U.S. Employers Add 165K Jobs In April

May 3, 2013 9:59 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated. The job increases helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

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CT Workers Sue Company Over Wages

May 3, 2013 9:58 am | by The Associated Press

Four New Haven workers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging a fiberglass manufacturer and its owner cheated them out of wages. The workers on Thursday sued H&L Plastics of New Haven and its owner, Charles Bolton. They say each worker received no compensation for between five and seventeen weeks of work, or about $20,000.

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Officials: No Breakthrough Yet In TX Explosion

May 3, 2013 9:56 am | by Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

Investigators working to figure out what caused a massive, deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas have talked to more than 370 people and received more than 200 tips as they continue to search for a breakthrough. Two weeks after the April 17 blast that killed at least 14 people, agents compare their work to solving a puzzle or completing an archaeological dig.

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New Cars Key To GM Profit

May 3, 2013 9:54 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

New cars were key for General Motors' in the first quarter. New trucks will be the key to the rest of this year. Two new Opels — the Mokka subcompact SUV and Adam small car — helped GM stanch its first-quarter losses in Europe, while the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Malibu sedans took China by storm. GM's worldwide sales rose almost 4 percent in the first three months.

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AL Honda Plant Celebrates Start Of MDX

May 3, 2013 9:52 am | by The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley joined Honda officials in Lincoln on Thursday to celebrate the start of production for the 2014 Acura MDX sports utility vehicle. About 1,500 employees attended the ceremony Thursday. Honda officials said the automaker invested $400 million and hired more than 400 people to support the production of the MDX. The Honda plant now employs more than 4,000 people.

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LA Gov: $340M More From BP For Gulf Restoration

May 3, 2013 9:50 am | by Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press

BP PLC has agreed to pay $340 million to restore four of the barrier islands that act as hurricane buffers for Louisiana's mainland and create two fish research hatcheries in the state, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday. The money is part of $1 billion the oil giant agreed two years ago to pay for early restoration work after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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Electric Car Maker CODA Files For Bankruptcy

May 2, 2013 2:17 pm | by Robert Jablon, Associated Press

Electric car maker CODA Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday after selling just 100 cars and said it plans to quit the auto business altogether. The Los Angeles-based parent of CODA Automotive filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware. A consortium of debtors plans to acquire CODA for $25 million, according to a company statement.

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Juror: EEOC Verdict In Iowa Sends A Message

May 2, 2013 2:14 pm | by Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

A juror says she wanted to send a message by supporting a historic $240 million verdict for 32 mentally disabled men who faced decades of abuse by a Texas company: Never again. Juror Robin Griebel outlined her rationale for awarding $7.5 million to each former employee of Henry's Turkey Service, while the men, their attorney and relatives celebrated Wednesday's verdict.

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Judge Gives Major Break In GM Theft Case

May 2, 2013 2:13 pm | by Ed White, Associated Press

A former General Motors engineer convicted of stealing thousands of pages of hybrid technology was sentenced Wednesday to just a year and a day in prison, far below the punishment sought by the government in a case that involved her husband and an alleged scheme to take the trade secrets to China.

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U.S. Trade Deficit Falls To $38.8B In March

May 2, 2013 2:11 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March for a second month as the daily flow of imported crude oil dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. The deficit with China hit a three-year low. The trade deficit decreased to $38.8 billion, an 11 percent drop from February's $43.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

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