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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

One Dead, Three Injured In Texas Chemical Blast

April 1, 2011 4:21 am

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — One person is dead and three others are hurt after an explosion and flash fire at a Southeast Texas chemical plant. The incident happened about 2:15 p.m. Thursday at the KMTEX plant near Port Arthur. A statement issued by Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Rod Carroll says witnesses report a worker was welding on a pipeline containing coal tar solvent when it exploded.

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Dana Reaches New Union Deal With 4,000 Workers

March 30, 2011 4:53 am

MAUMEE, Ohio (AP) — Auto supplier Dana Holding Corp. said Tuesday it has reached new three-year labor agreements covering 4,000 workers. The agreements, with the United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers unions, are effective June 1. They include Dana's first-ever profit-sharing payments to workers based on the company's performance.

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Nissan, TI Optimistic About Japan Manufacturing's Future

March 30, 2011 4:51 am

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday that an engine plant wrecked by the March 11 tsunami won't return to operations until June and it will take "some time" before auto production runs at full capacity. Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa said the Iwaki factory, one of Nissan's two engine plants in Japan, still has no running water.

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Calif. CEO Charged With Counterfeiting Rifle Sights

March 30, 2011 4:33 am

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a California businessman who has been charged with counterfeiting high-tech rifle sights in a scheme to sell them over the Internet. Yongming "Steven" Sui, the 37-year-old chief executive officer of Anaheim-based Field Sport Inc., and two business associates are accused of manufacturing and advertising about 700 counterfeit gun sights and 200 magnifier systems for sale online, with a retail value of about $475,000, according to U.

Calif. Manufacturer Leaked Hexavalent Chromium For Years

March 30, 2011 4:25 am | by Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Company officials failed to alert residents and collect data about groundwater, air and soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals from a Central California manufacturing plant owned by a former subsidiary of drug maker Merck & Co., lawyers for nearby residents told jurors Tuesday in closing arguments of a lawsuit.

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Auto Parts Shortages Hit Honda's, Toyota's U.S. Operations

March 30, 2011 4:21 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Shortages of auto parts from Japan are hitting North American operations at Honda and Toyota. Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday said it wants its U.S. car dealers to stop ordering more than 200 replacement parts made in Japan because it's worried about running out of them. And Honda Motor Co.

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UAW: We're Open To Lower Wages

March 30, 2011 4:16 am

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The United Auto Workers union would be open to expanding a wage structure with lower-paid workers to keep General Motors Co. factories open or reopen closed plants, a top union official said Tuesday. Vice President Joe Ashton, who handles GM bargaining for the UAW, said the union "will look at anything when it comes to negotiations that will retain jobs.

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Siemens Spins Off Light Bulb Maker Osram

March 29, 2011 5:14 am | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Industrial engineering company Siemens AG said Tuesday it is shaking up its organizational chart, spinning off light bulb maker Osram and forging a new division that will focus on energy-efficient infrastructure projects in the world's cities. Osram GmbH will be sold off to investors in an initial public offering of shares later this year, said Munich-based Siemens, which makes a wide range of industrial equipment such as trains, power plants and medical diagnostic machines.

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Judge Rules With Boeing, Spirit In Age Discrimination Lawsuit

March 29, 2011 5:06 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to reconsider his earlier ruling siding with The Boeing Co. and Spirit AeroSystems in an age discrimination lawsuit brought by former workers in the wake of Boeing's 2005 sale of its commercial airplane operations in Kansas and Oklahoma. U.

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Subaru Slows Production At Lafayette Plant Over Shortage

March 29, 2011 5:03 am

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Subaru of America is slowing production at its Lafayette plant because of a temporary auto parts shortage caused by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. spokeswoman Jennifer McGarvey said Monday that the company will be reducing its Subaru production shifts to the first four hours of each shift this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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Nokia Sues Apple For Infringing 'Virtually All' Of Its Patents

March 29, 2011 5:01 am | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia is suing Apple in the United States for allegedly infringing patents in "virtually all" of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets and computers, the Finnish company said Tuesday. The move is the latest in a string of lawsuits by Nokia and comes as the world's largest handset maker struggles to keep up with smartphone rivals like Apple.

Four Weapon-Smuggling Executives Plead Guilty

March 29, 2011 4:59 am | by Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Four men accused of smuggling military weapons and parts, some of which were sold to Middle East nations, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court and have agreed to testify against a British firearms manufacturer who currently faces extradition from England.

S.C. Lawmakers Fight For Incandescent Lightbulbs

March 29, 2011 4:56 am | by Jim Davenport, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of states' lights. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light its closets and countertops.

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Kodak Revives Patent Battle Against Apple, Wants $1 Billion

March 28, 2011 4:59 am | by Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A federal agency said Friday that it will review Eastman Kodak Co.'s high-stakes patent-infringement claim against technology giants Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., agreed to examine a judge's finding in January that Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry don't violate an image-preview patent the photography pioneer obtained in 2001.

GM Restarts Louisiana Pickup Plant After Part Shortage

March 28, 2011 4:54 am | by Alan Sayre, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — General Motors will resume regular production at its pickup plant in Shreveport on Monday, a week after the company shut it down and blamed a shortage of parts from Japan. Falling supplies of auto parts have disrupted car factories around the world ever since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11.

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DIY Engineering With An Industrial-Strength Workshop

March 28, 2011 4:41 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In the tech-obsessed South of Market neighborhood that digital sensations like Twitter and Zynga call home, a newfangled workshop for would-be inventors blends a startup sensibility with the area's historic manufacturing roots to give geeks a chance to get out from behind the keyboard.

Chinese Factory Manager Arrested For Lead Poisoning

March 28, 2011 4:33 am

BEIJING (AP) — State media say a battery factory manager was arrested after 168 villagers living near the manufacturer in eastern China suffered lead poisoning. The official Xinhua News Agency says Ying Jianguo, general manager of Taizhou Suqi Storage Battery Co. Ltd., was taken into custody Friday in the city of Taizhou in Zhejiang province.

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Auto Industry Supply Issues To Get Much Worse

March 28, 2011 4:31 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach and Sharon Silke Carty, AP Business Writers

TOKYO (AP) — The auto industry disruptions triggered by Japan's earthquake and tsunami are about to get worse. In the weeks ahead, car buyers will have difficulty finding the model they want in certain colors, thousands of auto plant workers will likely be told to stay home, and companies such as Toyota, Honda and others will lose billions of dollars in revenue.

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CAT CEO Threatens To Leave Illinois In Letter To Gov.

March 28, 2011 4:28 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The chief executive of Caterpillar wrote a letter to Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn raising the possibility the heavy equipment company could move out of Illinois because of concerns that the direction the state is heading isn't favorable to business. In a letter to Gov.

UAW: GM Plans To Boost Hiring With 2,000 Recalls

March 25, 2011 4:46 am

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union says General Motors Co. plans to recall the last 2,000 of its laid-off workers by this fall, clearing the way for new hiring at its U.S. plants. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report that word about the jobs came Wednesday at a union meeting in Detroit that set goals for bargaining a new labor contract with automakers later this year.

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