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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Moore's Law Continues To Predict Semiconductor Innovation

January 5, 2011 3:47 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Semiconductor companies are whipping up a new generation of chips to bring richer video and better battery life to personal computers and help them hold off threats from tablets and increasingly powerful smart phones. Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., whose processors are the "brains" of PCs, are unveiling significant changes to their chips' designs at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Automakers Paid $9.1 Million In Fuel Efficiency Fines

January 5, 2011 3:42 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says car companies paid $9.1 million in fines last year for failing to comply with federal fuel efficiency requirements. Six companies had to pay fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Jaguar-Land Rover paid the largest fine of $3.2 million.

Analysts: Employers Added 297,000 Jobs In December

January 5, 2011 3:41 am | by Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — A surprising jump in hiring is swaying U.S. stock and bond markets. An early decline in stock index futures was trimmed after payroll processor ADP reported employers added 297,000 jobs last month. The jump in payrolls from the ADP survey came in far above the 100,000 rise economists expected.

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Samsung Plans Hiring, $38.4 Billion Investment

January 5, 2011 3:40 am | by Kelly Olsen, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Group said Wednesday it plans to carry out record investment and hiring this year as it seeks to extend global dominance in products including flat screen televisions and memory chips. South Korea's top business conglomerate is spearheaded by Samsung Electronics Co.

Auto Sales Surged In 2010, Bringing Hope For 2011

January 4, 2011 3:40 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — A surge in car and truck buying that began in October is expected to lift last year's U.S. auto sales above a dismal 2009. Customers gained confidence in the economy, loans were easier to get and deals got sweeter. Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other car companies will report 2010 and December sales throughout the day on Tuesday.

Factory Orders Rose In November After Slow October

January 4, 2011 3:36 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories are expected to strengthen in November outside of transportation in a further sign that manufacturers will be cranking up production in anticipation of greater spending by businesses and consumers in 2011. Economists at JPMorgan Chase are forecasting that factory orders will post a 0.

Senator: Football Helmet Manufacturers Lying About Safety

January 4, 2011 3:34 am | by Howard Fendrich, AP Pro Football Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Senator is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate "misleading safety claims and deceptive practices" in the selling of new football helmets and reconditioning of used ones. In a letter dated Tuesday — a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday night — Sen.

Seven Insurers Sue Toyota Over Accelerator Fiasco

January 4, 2011 3:29 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota Motor Corp. in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. The insurers cite data that blames 725 crashes on the problem and fault the Japanese automaker for failing to equip its cars with an override system that would cause a car to idle if the brake and gas were deployed simultaneously.

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Salmonella-Blocking Food Bill To Be Signed Today

January 4, 2011 3:28 am | by Darlene Superville and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When salmonella-laced peanut products sickened hundreds during a recent scare, President Barack Obama said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe — and that included his daughter Sasha. "That's what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week," Obama said then.

Animal Fat Backs Up Into Basements Near Unilever Plant

January 4, 2011 3:24 am

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Hammond Sanitary District official says a greasy white substance backing up through basement drains into homes appears to be linked to operations at a Unilever soap factory. Unilever and Hammond city officials haven't determined the cause of the Friday backup but the district's pretreatment coordinator, Jeff Massey, said during a public meeting Monday night that sewage apparently backed up after animal fat and coconut oil from the plant solidified and clogged sewer lines.

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China Manufacturing Eases Over More Regulation

January 3, 2011 3:57 am

HONG KONG (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased off slightly in the last month of the year, a survey said, reflecting tightening policies taken by authorities to keep inflation in check. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 53.

Manufacturing Grows For 17th Straight Month

January 3, 2011 3:39 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturers likely increased output at the same pace in December as the previous month, notching the 17th straight month of growth. The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity is expected to remain unchanged at 56.6. Any reading above 50 indicates that the sector is growing.

Four Injured In Explosion During Duct Work Cleaning

January 3, 2011 3:22 am

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A spokesman for an auto parts supplier says four people have been injured in an explosion at the company's plant in Virginia. Jim Burke, spokesman for Federal-Mogul Corp. in Southfield, Mich., said the injured were employees of a local contractor that was conducting routine duct work cleaning.

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AP: Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf Sales Are 'Microscopic'

January 3, 2011 3:21 am | by Sharon Silke Carty, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — This was the year General Motors Co. and Nissan made good on their promise to bring mass-produced electric cars to the market. But don't count on seeing one in traffic soon. Sales so far have been microscopic and they're likely to stay that way for some time because of limited supplies.

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Fiat Splits In Half To Prepare For Merger With Chrysler

January 3, 2011 3:19 am | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer

MILAN (AP) — Fiat split its industrial vehicle business from its automaking unit on Monday, unwinding two vastly divergent businesses with the goal of creating a global automotive company with Chrysler LLC. As Fiat Industrial began its trading life as an independent entity, opening at euro9 ($12.

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Farmers Say 'No' To Greener Tractors

January 3, 2011 3:18 am | by Dinesh Ramde, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Farm equipment manufacturers are rolling out cleaner tractors to meet stricter new federal air regulations, but many in the industry say the challenge will be getting farmers to put the high-priced models into fields during hard economic times. The rules that went into effect Saturday apply to tractors, construction vehicles and other so-called nonroad equipment.

GM Stock Jumps As Wall Street Swoons

December 28, 2010 4:39 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of General Motors jumped 2.4 percent Tuesday in premarket trading after several investment groups initiated coverage of the reinvigorated automaker. Credit Suisse set an "Outperform" rating for GM with a 12-month price target of $43 per share, saying that the company's stint under bankruptcy protection cleansed its balance sheet.

China To Reduce Rare Earth Exports By 10 Percent

December 28, 2010 4:37 am

BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 percent — likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products. China accounts for 97 percent of the global production of rare earths, which are essential to devices as varied as cell phones, computer drives and hybrid cars.

Architect Of Airline Deregulation Under Carter Dies At 93

December 28, 2010 4:36 am | by Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer

ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — Alfred E. Kahn, who presided over the historic deregulation of the U.S. airline industry during President Jimmy Carter's administration, paving the way for JetBlue and other low-cost carriers, died Monday. He was 93. Kahn, an economics professor at Cornell University, died of cancer at his home in Ithaca, New York, the school said in a statement.

Where Are All The American Jobs?

December 28, 2010 4:34 am | by Pallavi Gogoi, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat. More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc.

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