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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Detroit's Automakers Are All Smiles After Dismal Past

January 12, 2011 3:22 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Jeff Karoub, Associated Press Writers

DETROIT (AP) — The sunny yellow Ford C-Max minivan that greets visitors at this year's Detroit auto show says it all. After taking a pounding during the recession, the U.S. auto industry is full of optimism, and a strong mix of new products will greet buyers as they return to dealerships. "Looking around at what's at the show, we've never been happier," said Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation Inc.

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November Tech Consumption Up 81 Percent Over 2009

January 11, 2011 5:24 am

Peter Borden, AMTDA President November U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $318.18 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 17.

Intel Ponies Up $1.5 Billion For Nvidia's Patent Goldmine

January 11, 2011 3:43 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Intel Corp.'s decision to pay Nvidia Corp. $1.5 billion for the right to its patents highlights the seismic shifts the semiconductor industry is undergoing. The licensing deal announced Monday comes as both companies are adapting to the new rules of the consumer electronics world, as mobile devices are changing the way chips are made.

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Ford To Hire 7,000 U.S. Workers By 2012

January 11, 2011 3:36 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says it will add more than 7,000 workers in the U.S. over the next two years, including 750 engineers with expertise in batteries and other advanced technology, as it begins producing several new vehicles. The company plans to hire 4,000 manufacturing workers this year.

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Detroit Auto Show, Day 2: Toyota's Aging Lineup

January 11, 2011 3:31 am | by Sharon Silke Carty, AP Auto Writer

Toyota's biggest problem: Aging lineup  DETROIT (AP) — It would be easy to think Toyota's biggest problem is its damaged reputation caused by sudden acceleration recalls, millions in government fines and massive lawsuits and settlements. But what's hurting the company most is an aging lineup of boring cars.

AMD's CEO Fired Unexpectedly After Staging Comeback

January 11, 2011 3:28 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Advanced Micro Devices Inc. forced out its CEO Dirk Meyer in a surprise twist of fate for a technologist who inherited the chip maker when it was in tatters and won fans on Wall Street for steering it through a wrenching turnaround. AMD is a heavyweight in the computer industry as the world's No.

Chrysler Wants To Refinance Loans Ahead Of IPO

January 11, 2011 3:25 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler will try to refinance its government loans this year as it prepares for an initial public stock offering, and the reduced expense could let the company post a net profit for the first time since it left bankruptcy protection in 2009, CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday. Marchionne told reporters Monday at the Detroit auto show that the automaker, which lost $453 million in the first three quarters of last year, will need to post two quarterly net profits before it returns to the stock market as a publicly traded company.

Lawmakers Praise Detroit's Recovery From Bankruptcy

January 11, 2011 3:23 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Touring the Detroit auto show Monday, House Democrats praised the U.S. auto industry for rebounding from the depths of bankruptcy and despair and credited an unpopular bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Getting behind the wheels of shiny new cars, lawmakers who helped GM and Chrysler secure billions of dollars in federal aid said the companies were on the comeback after government-led bankruptcies in late 2008 and 2009.

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U.S. Sets Up First Foreign Safety Commission In China

January 10, 2011 3:57 am | by Alexa Olesen, Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will set up its first office outside the United States in China in a bid to reduce the amount of dangerous products reaching the American market. Commission head Inez Tenenbaum told reporters Monday the "history-making" office also aims to make it easier for the U.

Spirit Aerosystems Ready To Hire 200 Workers

January 10, 2011 3:45 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems is planning to hire workers for several locations this year. The Wichita Eagle reported that the hiring is expected to occur in the first quarter because production on new and existing programs is increasing. Spokesman Ken Evans said Friday that the near-term plans call for hiring about 200 workers for Wichita and Tulsa, Okla.

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Official Suspended After Factory Sickens Hundreds Of Children

January 10, 2011 3:40 am

BEIJING (AP) — An environmental official in eastern China was suspended after a battery factory sickened more than 200 children with lead poisoning, authorities said Sunday. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of lead, a key component in lead-acid batteries needed for the growing number of vehicles in the country.

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Detroit Auto Show, Day 1: VW Returns Manufacturing To U.S.

January 10, 2011 3:37 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

Volkswagen to keep Passat name on new midsize   DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen is keeping the Passat name for a new midsize vehicle that will be built at the company's new U.S. plant in Tennessee. Volkswagen of America Inc. announced plans Sunday to maintain the Passat nameplate at an event before media previews of the North American International Auto Show.

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Chevrolet Volt Named 'Car Of The Year'

January 10, 2011 3:34 am | by Jeff Karoub, AP Business Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The 2011 Chevrolet Volt got another marketing jolt Monday, when it received the North American Car of the Year. The car that runs on electricity for 40 miles before a backup gas engine kicks in beat out the Nissan Leaf, another electric, and Hyundai Sonata in the annual ceremony on the first day of media previews for the Detroit auto show.

Is Ford Strong Enough To Survive Their Latest Success?

January 10, 2011 3:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) — In every boom cycle of its 107-year life, Ford Motor Co. became complacent, unprepared for the inevitable bust in the auto business. From the 1920s, when Ford lost its dominant position in the U.S. because it was slow to update the Model T, to the 2000s, when it squandered billions in SUV profits and narrowly avoided bankruptcy, the company stuck with some strategies too long and didn't pay enough attention to others.

Can You Imagine Working For Just A Dollar?

January 7, 2011 3:58 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs' compensation package remained the usual $1 in fiscal 2010, but the value of the shares he owns has skyrocketed amid the company's ongoing success with introducing shiny new gadgets many people come to find indispensible. Apple said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday it paid a salary of $1 to Jobs, who rejoined the company in 1997 and has overseen the company's explosive growth following the launch of the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad.

Is Microsoft Even Trying To Compete Against Apple?

January 7, 2011 3:35 am | by Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Instead of unveiling an elegant response to the iPad, Microsoft came to the tech industry's premier gadget show with a collection of exposed computer guts. Microsoft's biggest news was that the next version of Windows would run on the style of mobile phone chips that power the iPad and other tablets today.

Phosgene Leak Sickens 62 Workers At Chinese Factory

January 7, 2011 3:31 am

BEIJING (AP) — A chemical leak has sickened 62 workers at a pharmaceutical factory in eastern China. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 37 of them were still in a hospital Friday after inhaling fumes at work Thursday. The cause of the leak was under investigation. Xinhua said the leaked chemical was phosgene, commonly used to produce pesticides, painkillers and antibiotics.

Donald Tyson, Poultry Patriarch, Dies At 80

January 7, 2011 3:30 am | by Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Tyson Foods Inc. chief executive Donald J. Tyson, who led his family's poultry company from being a regional producer to dominance in the industry while instilling a corporate culture that mixed hard work and enjoyment, died Thursday. He was 80. Company spokesman Gary Mickelson said Tyson died from complications from cancer, and passed away at home with his family.

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Alcoholic Energy Drinks Meet Their End In Virginia Plant

January 7, 2011 3:27 am | by Zinie Chen Sampson, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Truckloads of Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol and other products after federal authorities told manufacturers the beverages were dangerous and caused users to become "wide-awake drunk." Wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other East Coast states started sending cases of the high-alcohol, caffeinated malt beverages to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia after the U.

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Unemployment Drops To 9.4 Percent

January 7, 2011 3:24 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months. That was because more people found jobs, but also because some people gave up on their job searches. The Labor Department says employers added 103,000 jobs in December, an improvement from November but far below most analysts' expectations.

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