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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Stealthy Cellphone Software Stirs Outcry

December 5, 2011 8:35 am | by Jordan Robertson, Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Technology bloggers are asking if our cellphones are spying on us after a security researcher said a piece of software hidden on millions of phones was recording virtually everything people do with them. Amid a broad outcry, Sen. Al Franken is calling for an investigation.

U.S. Factory Orders Fall For Second Month

December 5, 2011 8:32 am | by Derek Kravitz, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies decreased their overall orders to U.S. factories in October for the second straight month, evidence that the economy remains weak despite other signs of improvement. The Commerce Department said Monday that total factory orders fell 0.4 percent. September's modest 0.

Subaru, Honda Recall Vehicles Due To Brake Issues

December 5, 2011 8:29 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Subaru of America is recalling three of its car models and Honda Motor Co. is recalling some motorcycles, all because the brakes can malfunction. The Honda recall covers 126,000 GL-1800 motorcycles from the 2001 to 2012 model years. A problem with a secondary brake master cylinder can cause the rear brake to drag, possibly causing a crash or fire.

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President Appointed To New Atlas Copco Quality Air Division

December 5, 2011 4:56 am

Horst Wasel, currently President of the Specialty Rental division within Atlas Copco Compressor Technique, has been appointed President of the recently created Quality Air division, effective January 1, 2012. Horst Wasel, President of Atlas Copco's new Quality Air division “Horst has a vast experience in air and gas treatment from his previous functions in a customer center, in the Specialty Rental division and Gas and Process product companies.

Cargill To Cut Up To 2,000 Jobs

December 5, 2011 4:33 am

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Food-industry conglomerate Cargill Inc. said Friday it will cut up to 2,000 jobs to reduce expenses in a weak economy. Cargill, which has 138,000 employees, said most of the cuts will occur in the next six months. "These are difficult decisions but are necessary to better position the company for continued growth," said spokesman Mike Fernandez.

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Ford Plant Produces Last Vehicle This Month

December 5, 2011 4:31 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — From Model T cars to Ranger pickup trucks, the last vehicle is expected to roll off the line this month at the Ford plant in St. Paul. Thousands of employees have built more than 6 million vehicles in St. Paul since the plant was finished in 1925. At its peak in the 1970s, the plant employed more than 2,000.

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Samsung Can Sell Disputed Devices In U.S., For Now

December 5, 2011 4:27 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Apple Inc.'s attempt to prevent Samsung Electronics Co. from selling certain smartphones and tablets in the U.S. because they allegedly infringe iPhone and iPad patents. Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung.

Boeing Flips Switch On Solar Array

December 5, 2011 4:26 am

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Boeing Co. has flipped the switch on the solar power array on the roof of its new South Carolina assembly plant. Officials of Boeing and South Carolina Electric & Gas on Friday dedicated the 10-acre project which officials say is the largest rooftop solar installation in the Southeast, ranked by production capacity.

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Electric Car Maker Aptera Closes Its Doors

December 5, 2011 4:24 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

Electric car maker Aptera Motors is closing after failing to woo enough investors to bring a new sedan to market. Aptera CEO Paul Wilbur said the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company closed its doors Friday and laid off all 30 of its employees. The company was hoping to get a $150 million loan from the Department of Energy but needed to raise matching funds, Wilbur said.

Saab In Talks With Youngman, Chinese Bank

December 5, 2011 4:21 am | by Malin Rising, Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish Automobile, the owner of Saab, said Monday it is in talks with an unnamed Chinese bank and an auto company about getting them to buy stakes to help the troubled car brand. Swedish Automobile, or Swan, said the negotiations with the bank and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co.

China Manufacturing Contracts In November

December 2, 2011 6:25 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's manufacturing contracted in November for the first time since early 2009, as weak export orders and a slowing economy at home sapped demand for most products, a government survey shows. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Thursday that its monthly purchasing managers index fell an greater-than-expected 1.

Chattanooga VW Plant Gets LEED-Certified

December 2, 2011 6:24 am

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Volkswagen's manufacturing plant in Chattanooga has been named a LEED-certified factory, making it the only auto making plant in the world to receive the platinum designation, the German automaker announced Thursday. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through rating systems.

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Biomass Manufacturing Plant Planned For VA

December 2, 2011 6:22 am

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A manufacturer of processed biomass fuel in the U.S. and Europe is planning to establish a wood pellet manufacturing operation in Southampton County. Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that Enviva plans to invest $75 million for the project, creating 64 jobs. The project is contingent upon the property where the plant will be located being rezoned by Southampton County.

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RIM Writes Off Value Of Tablet Inventory

December 2, 2011 6:20 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Research In Motion Ltd., the struggling maker of the BlackBerry phones, is writing off much of its inventory of PlayBook tablets, since it has to sell them at a deep discount. The Canadian company on Friday said it's taking a pre-tax charge of $485 million in the just-ended quarter to account for the declining value of the tablets.

U.S. Trade Panel Considers Solar Dispute With China

December 2, 2011 6:16 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal trade panel is considering a complaint by U.S. solar manufacturers who accuse Chinese companies of "dumping" solar products on global markets to depress prices. Seven U.S. solar companies filed a case with the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission in October.

CAT: IL Has 'Rudderless' Business Climate

December 2, 2011 6:11 am | by David Mercer, Deanna Bellandi, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — One of the largest companies in Illinois is calling the state's business climate "rudderless" and "dysfunctional" after lawmakers failed to approve a package of tax perks to help several businesses threatening to leave the financially strapped state. Caterpillar Inc.

Australian Court Bans Galaxy Tab Sales

December 2, 2011 4:14 am | by Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press

SYDNEY (AP) — Apple Inc. won a small victory on Friday in its global patent battle with rival Samsung, after Australia's highest court temporarily extended a ban on sales of Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers in the country. Samsung Electronics Co. is desperate to begin selling the Galaxy in Australia in time for Christmas sales, but the High Court's decision means the device can't go on the market until at least Dec.

Union Says CEO Compared Workers To Tumor

December 2, 2011 4:12 am

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Union representatives of locked-out employees at American Crystal Sugar Co. are criticizing the company president and CEO for what they call anti-worker sentiments. The union released audio recordings Wednesday of CEO David Berg telling shareholders a story about a friend with cancer and saying, "We can't let a labor contract make us sick forever and ever.

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GM To Buy Back Volts

December 2, 2011 4:10 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who is afraid the electric cars will catch fire, the company's CEO said Thursday. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, CEO Dan Akerson insisted that the cars are safe, but said the company will purchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy.

EU Claims Compliance With WTO's Airbus Ruling

December 2, 2011 4:08 am

GENEVA (AP) — The European Union said Thursday it has complied with a World Trade Organization ruling that called for an end to unfair government aid to aircraft maker Airbus. U.S. trade officials and rival Boeing Inc. responded that they would study closely the EU's submission to ensure all illegal subsidies had been removed.

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