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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Nissan Aims For No. 1 In Green Vehicles

October 25, 2011 9:48 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. is aiming to be the world's No. 1 in green cars, targeting cumulative sales of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2017 with alliance partner Renault SA of France. The Japanese maker of the Leaf electric car announced Monday its six-year strategy, planning a plug-in hybrid by the fiscal year ending March 2017 and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent per vehicle compared with 2005 levels.

Sodium-Sulfur Battery Sales Halted After Fire

October 25, 2011 9:45 am

NAGOYA, Oct. 25 (Kyodo) — NGK Insulators Ltd. has suspended sales of its sodium-sulfur batteries until the cause of a fire in September at Mitsubishi Materials Corp., one of the batteries' corporate users, can be identified, company officials said Tuesday. NGK Insulators is the sole firm worldwide that manufactures sodium-sulfur batteries, known for its capability to store large volumes of electricity.

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OSHA Cites Grenada Stamping $113K

October 25, 2011 9:41 am

GRENADA, Miss. (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Grenada, Miss., company for 26 safety violations and has proposed penalties of $113,400. OSHA officials say in a news release that the penalties against Grenada Stamping and Assembly Inc., doing business as Ice Industries Grenada, come from an April inspection following a work-related amputation at the plant.

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Report: Ford's Quality Is Slipping

October 25, 2011 9:40 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Quality should be Job 1 at Ford again. The brand's ranking fell 10 spots in Consumer Reports' annual auto reliability survey, hurt by glitchy touch screens and transmissions. It now ranks 20th out of 28 major brands, based on a survey of the magazine's subscribers.

Americal Crystal, Worker Talks Resume

October 25, 2011 5:27 am | by Dave Kolpack, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — American Crystal Sugar Co. and its locked-out union workers headed back to the negotiating table Monday, but refused to talk about the results. A federal mediation service in Minneapolis said talks between the company and the union representing about 1,300 workers would resume, but didn't disclose the place and time.

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AR Joist Facility Completes $4M Upgrade

October 25, 2011 5:26 am

HOPE, Ark. (AP) — A manufacturer has reopened a factory in Hope and announced Monday it plans to hire as many as 178 workers now that a $4 million upgrade is complete. New Millennium Building Systems, which makes steel joists at the plant, has hired 58 workers and said it plans to hire up to 120 more.

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DEP Gives Approval To PA Tire-Burning Plant

October 25, 2011 5:24 am

MEADVILLE, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air-quality permit for a $350 million tires-to-energy plant planned in northwestern Pennsylvania. Monday's permit was the final regulatory approval needed for Crawford Renewable Energy to begin building the plant about 10 miles south of Meadville at the Keystone Regional Industrial Park in Greenwood Township.

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U.S. Steel Earns $22M In 3Q On Higher Prices

October 25, 2011 5:22 am

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Steel said Tuesday it earned a profit of $22 million in the third-quarter as steel sold for higher prices. The company lost $51 million in the year-ago quarter. That marks two straight profitable quarters for U.S. Steel, which had suffered through an eight-quarter losing streak.

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2 Injured In PA Industrial Furnace Blast

October 25, 2011 5:20 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two workers were injured in an explosion at a Pittsburgh railcar parts factory where another man died in an industrial accident over the summer. WTAE-TV reports the workers were injured Monday afternoon in a furnace explosion at McConway & Torley. They were hospitalized in good condition.

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Execs Admit Guilt In Price-Fixing Case

October 25, 2011 5:18 am

DETROIT (AP) — Two executives from a Japanese auto parts maker have admitted in a U.S. court that they conspired to fix prices of parts their company sold to auto companies, which may have raised car prices. Furukawa Electric Co. is to pay a $200 million fine, which the Justice Department said last month is among the largest it has won.

Fabrinet Thai Facilities Remain Shuttered

October 24, 2011 9:31 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Manufacturing company Fabrinet said Monday that it expects its Chokchai plants in flood-hit Thailand to remain shuttered through the rest of the quarter. Fabrinet, based in Bangkok, provides services and parts for optical, electro-mechanical and electronic manufacturing companies.

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Dayton Welcomes Immigrants As Policy Point

October 24, 2011 9:29 am | by Dan Sewell, Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — On the same afternoon thousands of Hispanics in Alabama took the day off to protest the state's strict new immigration law, Mexican-born Francisco Mejia was ringing up diners' bills and handing containers piled with carnitas to drive-thru customers on the east side of Dayton.

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Air Compressor Causes NE Plant Fire

October 24, 2011 9:28 am

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a Beatrice manufacturing plant has resumed production after a fire. Fire crews were sent to the Neapco (nee-AP'-coh) plant a little after 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Beatrice Fire Capt. Jake Carrel (KEHR'-ohl) says the plant's fire sprinkler system kept down the flames before firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze.

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Survey: Economists More Bleak About Economy

October 24, 2011 9:26 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer U.S. companies expect to hire new workers in coming months, as business economists grow increasingly pessimistic about the overall economy's growth in the coming year. Nearly 85 percent of economic experts surveyed expect the economy to grow at a meager 2 percent or less over the next 12 months, according to the National Association for Business Economists.

Honda Adds 1,000 Workers, Second Shift In IN

October 24, 2011 9:24 am

DETROIT (AP) — Honda Motor Co. said Monday it has added 1,000 new workers to staff a second shift at its factory in Greensburg, Ind., where the Civic compact car is made. The added shift increases production at the factory to 200,000 cars per year, and is the latest sign that Honda production is returning to normal after being disrupted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

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Harley To Recall More Than 308K Motorcycles

October 24, 2011 9:21 am

DETROIT (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. is recalling about 308,000 motorcycles, most of them in the U.S., to fix a switch problem that can cause failure of the brake lights and possibly even the rear brakes themselves. The company said in documents filed last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that brake light switches can be exposed to too much heat from the exhaust system.

Alamo Group Closing Sioux Falls Plant

October 24, 2011 5:37 am

SEGUIN, Texas (AP) — Alamo Group Inc., which makes road maintenance, industrial and farm equipment, said Friday that it will close a plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., eliminating 77 jobs there. The company, based in Seguin, Texas, said it will consolidate the operations into its facility in Gibson City, Ill.

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Kraft To Lay Off Workers At IA Plant

October 24, 2011 5:36 am

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Kraft Foods will lay off 40 to 50 full-time workers at its Mason City plant in December. Corporate spokeswoman Joyce Hodel told the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/o10T1P ) that the layoffs are the result of external conditions, seasonality and efficiencies at the plant.

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Japan Exports Rise For 2nd Month

October 24, 2011 5:34 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports rose for a second straight month in September, showing a recovery is underway from the tsunami disaster even as manufacturers face a strong yen and weak global economy. The Finance Ministry said Monday that exports rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier in September.

Caterpillar 3Q Profit Soars 44 Percent

October 24, 2011 5:32 am | by Samantha Bomkamp, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Strong demand for machinery drove up Caterpillar's profit 44 percent in the third quarter and the company expects even stronger sales next year. Caterpillar's stock rose almost 5 percent in premarket trading, increasing $4.26 a share to $91.65. The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment earned $1.

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