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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

GM Cutting Unnecessary Spending After Japan Disaster

March 21, 2011 4:42 am | by Janna Herron, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — GM said Saturday it is cutting unnecessary spending companywide as it assesses the impact of production disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The move will help the automaker preserve cash as it deals with the financial implications from shortages of parts made in Japan, a company spokesman said.

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3M Settles Age-Discrimination Lawsuit For $12 Million

March 21, 2011 4:40 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 3M Co. has agreed to pay up to $12 million to settle an age-discrimination lawsuit with as many as 7,000 current and former employees. The 2004 lawsuit targeted the company's performance-review system, alleging that older workers were disproportionately downgraded. It also accused the company of favoring younger employees for certain training opportunities that could fast-track them for promotions.

Factory Production Signals Increased Hiring Soon

March 18, 2011 4:47 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Factories are producing more cars, computers and household appliances, and applications for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks are at the lowest point since summer 2008. Economic data released Thursday suggest that March will be the second straight month of strong job growth.

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GM Forced To Halt Production At Shreveport Plant

March 18, 2011 4:41 am

DETROIT (AP) — A shortage of parts from Japan will force General Motors Co. to halt production at its pickupplant in Shreveport, La., next week, the company said Thursday. It's the first time a U.S.-based automaker will stop production in North America over parts shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

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Why Inflation Hurts More Now Than 30 Years Ago

March 18, 2011 4:38 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation spooked the nation in the early 1980s. It surged and kept rising until it topped 13 percent. These days, inflation is much lower. Yet to many Americans, it feels worse now. And for a good reason: Their income has been even flatter than inflation. Back in the '80's, the money people made typically more than made up for high inflation.

Alabama Firm Buys Weapon Manufacturer Under Investigation

March 18, 2011 4:37 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An Alabama company has bought the assets of a Nashville weapons manufacturerwhose former owner and operators face federal charges of illegally exporting weapon parts overseas. Manroy USA, headquartered in Scottsboro, Ala., finalized the $4.95 million sale this week in a federal bankruptcy court auction for Sabre Defence Industries, LLC, which has current contracts with the military to provide parts for the .

China Suspends Three, Punishes Dozens Over Tainted Pork

March 18, 2011 4:30 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Three senior officials in central China have been suspended and more than two dozen others punished after pigs in farms there tested positive for a banned chemical that can be dangerous to humans, state media said Friday. Tainted pork has become the latest food safety scandal to shock China after state broadcaster CCTV ran an expose earlier this week showing that several farms in Henan province were using the fat-burning drug, clenbuterol, in pig feed.

Auto Critic Quits After Calling Chrysler 200 A 'Dog'

March 18, 2011 4:28 am

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit News' auto critic said Thursday that he resigned because editors demanded that he delete sections of a scathing review of the Chrysler 200, a car promoted in a popular Super Bowl television ad starring rapper Eminem. Scott Burgess' original review made it into the newspaper's March 10 print edition.

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Small and Midsized Industrial Manufacturing CFOs Reveal Top Concerns

March 17, 2011 6:02 am

CHICAGO — Prime Advantage, the leading buying consortium for midsized industrial manufacturers, announced the findings of its third annual Group CFO Survey, revealing the top financial concerns of its member companies’ CFOs in 2011. CFOs are seeing solid signs of the economic recovery in U.

Technology Consumption Up 188 Percent Over Jan. 2010

March 17, 2011 5:28 am

January U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $371.41 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology.  This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 16.

Japanese Manufacturing Could Take Years, Billions To Recover

March 16, 2011 4:48 am | by Kelvin Chan and Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — It took only minutes for the earthquake and tsunami to devastate Japan's northeast. Rebuilding will take years — if it can be afforded. The relentless wall of water that the quake unleashed killed thousands, swept away whole towns, inundated roads and knocked ports, oil refineries, steel plants and factories out of action.

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IOSHA Fines Notre Dame For Blatant Scissor Lift Disregard

March 16, 2011 4:41 am

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The 20-year-old Notre Dame student who was killed when the hydraulic lift he was on fell over as he filmed the football team on a windy day had expressed displeasure about practice being held outside, according to a state report released Tuesday. Declan Sullivan wasn't happy when he found out the team would be practicing outside last Oct.

Toyota, Subaru Scale Back U.S. Production After Quake

March 16, 2011 4:35 am

DETROIT (AP) — Two Japanese automakers are scaling back production at North American plants as they assess their ability to get parts from Japan after that country's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Subaru of America said Tuesday it has suspended overtime at its only North American plant in Lafayette, Ind.

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Ford's Mulally Praises Louisville As 'Center Of Excellence'

March 16, 2011 4:29 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally previewed his company's next Kentucky-made vehicle Tuesday night, saying the new version of the Escape small SUV that will roll off the assembly line at a retooled Louisville manufacturing plant will be transformational. Mulally also praised the automaker's partnership with Louisville, calling the city where Ford has twomanufacturing plants a "center of excellence.

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Toyota Matches Employee Donations For Earthquake Relief

March 16, 2011 4:25 am

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Toyota manufacturing employees in North America who donate money to earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan will have their gifts matched by the company. Employees, temporary workers and contractors are all eligible, and there is no cap on the match. Spokesman Rick Hesterberg told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the Erlanger-based manufacturing operations will match donations dollar for dollar.

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Mo. Lawmakers Approve Of Major Worker's Comp. Overhaul

March 16, 2011 4:22 am | by Chris Blank, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators gave first-round approval Tuesday to legislation that restricts employees from suing co-workers over injuries incurred on the job. The legislation also expressly states that occupational diseases, such as health problems associated with asbestos exposure in a workplace, are covered by the state workers' compensation system.

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Renault: Security Agent Invented Industrial Espionage Claims

March 15, 2011 4:43 am | by Pierre-Antoine Souchard, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A security agent for Renault has been charged with fraud and accused of inventing industrial espionage claims that led the French carmaker to wrongly suspect — and suspend — three executives, the state prosecutor said Monday. The cloak-and-dagger affair, in the public eye since January, was deeply embarrassing for France's second biggest carmaker, which announced that all executives involved, including president Carlos Ghosn and chief operating officer Patrick Pelata, would forego all stock option benefits for 2011 and the "variable portion" of their 2010 earnings.

Texas Instruments: 'Substantial' Damage To Tokyo Plant

March 15, 2011 4:39 am

DALLAS (AP) — Chip maker Texas Instruments Inc. said Monday that "substantial" damage to one of its majormanufacturing plants near Tokyo in last week's earthquake will result in extra costs and lost revenue in the first half of this year. The Miho plant, which produces mostly analog chips but also makes digital light processing technology used in televisions and projectors, won't return to full production until mid-July.

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Investigation Of Chemical Plant Explosion Begins

March 15, 2011 4:37 am

MIDDLETON, Mass. (AP) — Investigators working to determine the cause of a chemical plant explosion that shook a neighborhood and sent four people to the hospital were still waiting Monday for clearance from structural engineers to get into the building. The blast and fire happened Sunday night at Bostik Inc.

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Oklahoma Prof. Turns Soda Waste Into Ethanol

March 15, 2011 4:34 am | by Kristi Eaton, Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma State University professor says she's found a way to turn byproducts from the production of soda pop into ethanol. Biosystems and agricultural engineering associate professor Danielle Bellmer said that by adjusting the pH levels she has found that the leftover materials from soda manufacturing can be converted into ethanol.

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