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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Obama: No Regrets About Solyndra Loan

October 4, 2011 9:00 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday he does not regret a $528 million loan to a solar energy company that later collapsed, saying officials always knew a clean energy loan program would not back winners 100 percent of the time. "There are going to be some failures, and Solyndra's an example," Obama said in an ABC News interview, referring to a California solar panel maker that declared bankruptcy last month and laid off its 1,100 workers.

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Long-Lasting Goods Orders Up In September

October 4, 2011 8:58 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses ordered more computers, communications equipment and other big-ticket items in August, a hopeful sign for the slumping economy. Orders for capital goods, which are considered a good measure of business investment plans, rose 0.9 percent in August, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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Cargill Lays Off Ground Turkey Production Workers

October 4, 2011 5:46 am

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — Cargill Inc. has laid off 130 people at its Springdale plant because the company hasn't been able to produce ground turkey since a recall last month. Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said Monday the company couldn't find work for all the employees assigned to that area since production stopped Sept.

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OSHA Orders WI Company To Pay $550K Fine

October 4, 2011 5:43 am

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered a Wisconsin grain company to increase safety training for grain bin employees and pay a fine of $550,000. Burlington-based Cooperative Plus Inc. was cited for 14 willful, 23 serious and two other safety violations in August 2010 for lacking proper equipment and procedures and exposing workers to the risk of being engulfed in storage bins.

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More Than 1,800 Thomas-Built Buses Recalled

October 4, 2011 5:41 am

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — The parent company of High Point-based Thomas Built Buses says more than 1,800 buses are being recalled to repair a faulty part. The High Point Enterprise reported (http://bit.ly/oBVDiA) that the recall involves clamps on engines supplied for the buses by Cummins Inc.

Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Agreement

October 4, 2011 5:40 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says it will add 5,750 jobs and invest $4.8 billion in its factories as part of a new contract deal with the United Auto Workers union. Company Vice President of Manufacturing John Fleming tells reporters that most of the new hires will be at an entry-level wage, which will cut the company's labor costs.

Feds Investigate Saturn Safety Issues

October 4, 2011 5:37 am

DETROIT (AP) — The federal government is investigating the Saturn Ion midsize sedan after getting reports of a sudden loss of power steering. The investigation, opened Thursday, focuses on Ions from the 2004 through 2007 model years. GM sold more than 382,000 Ions during that time.

Chemical Mixing Sparks Massive TX Plant Fire

October 4, 2011 5:35 am | by Jamie Stengle, Associated Press

WAXAHACHIE, Texas (AP) — A fire sparked as workers mixed chemicals at a plant south of Dallas shot massive plumes of black smoke and bright orange flames into the sky Monday, forcing schoolchildren and residents to evacuate or take cover indoors to avoid possible exposure to dangerous gases.

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Deere To Invest $124M In Brazil Factories

October 3, 2011 9:39 am

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Farm and lawn machinery maker Deere & Co. said Monday it will invest $124 million to build two new factories in Brazil to supply growing demand for construction equipment in South America. The company said the factories will cost a total of about $180 million to build, and it will co-own one with Hitachi Construction Machinery Co.

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Delaware Tech Gets $5M Training Grant

October 3, 2011 9:37 am

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware Technical and Community College has been awarded a nearly $5 million federal grant to create job training programs in growing sectors that are seeking skilled workers. Several new programs will be created to educate students in renewable energy. Some funds will expand a manufacturing efficiency lab.

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Tesla To Make EV By 2012

October 3, 2011 9:34 am

FREMONT, California, Oct. 1 (Kyodo) — U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc. said Saturday it will be ready to produce its new "Model S" electric vehicle by the end of this year at the plant it bought from the now-liquidated joint venture of Toyota Motor corp. and then General Motors Corp.

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Samsung Growing, But Icon Status Elusive

October 3, 2011 9:30 am | by Kelly Olsen, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — If you own a consumer electronics gadget, there's a good chance something from Samsung makes it tick. The company has traveled far from its roots as a seller of cheap appliances in the 1970s and 1980s when South Korean products were more likely to be panned than praised internationally.

Oshkosh Corp. Union Rejects Contract Offer

October 3, 2011 9:28 am

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Union members at one of the largest employers in the Fox Valley have overwhelmingly rejected a new contract. Local President Nick Nitschke (NICH'-kee) says 85.5 percent of union members voting Friday rejected the offer from Oshkosh Corp. But Nitschke says the union hopes it doesn't have to go on strike.

U.S. Big Truck Sales Up In September

October 3, 2011 9:26 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Pickups and SUVs led U.S. auto sales in September, as falling gas prices, promotions and pent-up demand from contractors drove demand for large vehicles. Trucks sales at General Motors, Chrysler and Ford grew in the double digits, outpacing cars and boosting overall sales.

OH Uranium Plant Says Layoffs Possible

October 3, 2011 5:37 am | by Kantele Franko, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The developer of a uranium enrichment project in southern Ohio said Friday it is suspending contracts with some suppliers and notifying about 450 workers in Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland that they might be laid off if uncertainty about funding means it has to stop most activity on the project.

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Gov't Backs More Solar Loans As Deadline Looms

October 3, 2011 5:34 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Energy Department on Friday approved four more solar energy loan guarantees worth nearly $5 billion, hours before a controversial loan program was set to expire. Meanwhile, the Justice Department moved to take away control of a failed solar panel maker from its management and transfer it to a court-appointed trustee.

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UAW, Ford Near Agreement

October 3, 2011 5:31 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers may be nearing a tentative contract agreement with Ford. The union has called leaders from factories across the nation to Detroit on Tuesday. That usually means a deal has been reached. But a person briefed on the negotiations says talks ended Sunday night with no agreement.

Union Seeks Meeting With Sugar Beet Growers

October 3, 2011 5:26 am

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Union officials representing 1,300 locked out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers have mailed letters asking for a meeting with members of the sugar beet cooperative that owns the company as the harvest begins. The union workers have been locked out of five sugar processing plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa in the company's first labor impasse in 30 years.

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Hitachi To Pay $21M For Price Fixing

October 3, 2011 5:22 am | by Pete Yost, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $21.1 million criminal fine for participating in conspiracies to rig bids and fix prices for optical disk drives. A felony charge filed in federal court in San Francisco alleges Hitachi-LG Data Storage conspired to eliminate competition over optical disk drives sold to Dell Inc.

Apple To Unveil New iPhone This Week

October 3, 2011 5:20 am | by Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple fans are amped. The computer and gadget maker is expected to announce a new, more powerful version of its wildly popular smartphone this week — more than a year after it unveiled the iPhone 4. Last week, Apple Inc. e-mailed invitations to a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday morning.

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