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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Chrysler To Refinance Its Debt To U.S., Canadian Gov'ts

April 27, 2011 4:42 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Details are still being worked out, but Chrysler Group LLC on Thursday will make an announcement about a refinancing package that will repay its government loans, according to a person briefed on the matter. Final details are likely to be revealed Monday, when Chrysler releases its first-quarter financial results, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the company is still negotiating the package with banks.

Businesses Ordered More Manufactured Goods In March

April 27, 2011 4:36 am | by Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses increased their orders for heavy machinery, computers, autos and steel in March, boosting demand for long-lasting manufactured goods for a third straight month. Orders for durable goods rose 2.5 percent in March, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Nokia Slashes 7,000 Jobs Worldwide In Restructuring

April 27, 2011 4:31 am | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia Corp. said Wednesday it will slash 7,000 jobs worldwide, through both layoffs and outsourcing, as it strives to cut costs and catch up with its top rivals in the smartphone market. Most of the 4,000 layoffs, due by the end of 2012, will be in Denmark, Finland and Britain, Nokia said.

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Refineries On Danger's Edge During Power Outage

April 26, 2011 7:28 am | by Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — Schools canceled classes and residents were urged to stay inside Tuesday after power outages shut down three Houston-area refineries, including BP unit where a 2005 explosion killed 15 people, and a Dow Chemical plant. Emergency officials were working to determine what caused the Texas City outages, which a spokeswoman for Texas New Mexico Power company said involved a "customer-owned equipment problem.

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Ford, 3M Successes Push Stock Markets Ever Higher

April 26, 2011 7:25 am | by Matthew Craft, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stronger earnings reports from Ford and 3M helped drive stocks higher Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 101 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,581. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,347. The Nasdaq composite rose 25 points, or 0.

3M Raises Expectations For Remainder Of 2011

April 26, 2011 6:56 am | by Samantha Bomkamp, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — 3M Co. is raising its earnings expectations for the year, saying higher sales around the globe will offset the disruption to its business in Japan from the earthquake there. The Maplewood, Minnesota maker of Post-Its and Scotch Tape now expects to earn between at $6.27 to $6.

Google Inspires Tinkerers With 'Garage' Workshops

April 26, 2011 5:32 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Amid all the free food and other goodies that come with a job at Google Inc., there's one benefit a lot of employees don't even know about: a cluster of high-tech workshops that have become a tinkerer's paradise. Workers escape from their computer screens and office chairs to weld, drill and saw on expensive machinery they won't find at Home Depot.

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Nissan Recalls 200,000 SUVs For Snapping Steering Column

April 26, 2011 4:49 am | by The Associated Press

Nissan Motor Co. is recalling nearly 200,000 Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 sport utility vehicles sold in the U.S. because of a problem that could cause the steering column to break and the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The recall, announced Monday, comes mere months after Japan's No. 2 automaker launched two other major recalls, including one that involved more than 2 million vehicles.

American Companies: Chinese Protectionism Is Rising

April 26, 2011 4:45 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese protectionism has increased since the 2008 global crisis and U.S. companies are being hurt by Beijing's policies aimed at developing its technology industries, a business group said Tuesday. A report by the American Chamber of Commerce in China adds to mounting complaints that Beijing is violating the spirit of its free-trade pledges by limiting market access and trying to shield its fledgling technology industries from competition.

Saab Inches Closer To Death Thanks To Spyker Cars

April 26, 2011 4:43 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Spyker Cars says conditions proposed by the European Investment Bank are stalling plans to secure financing for troubled automaker Saab. Spyker says it will meet EIB officials later Tuesday but is also considering other financial options with partners, including Chinese car manufacturers.

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Alcoa Hires 280 For Window- And Door-Making

April 26, 2011 4:38 am

CRANBERRY, Pa. (AP) — A company that makes windows and doors plans to hire 280 full-time and seasonal workers at its plant near Pittsburgh. Alcoa Inc. bought the window company, Traco Inc., in August. And now an Alcoa spokesman tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the aluminum giant plans to add workers at Traco's plant in Cranberry, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.

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Volt, Leaf Get Top Electric-Car Safety Ratings

April 26, 2011 4:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf got top safety ratings in some of the first-ever tests of electric cars by an insurer-funded research group. Both cars earned top scores for front, side and rear-impact crashes and for rollover crash protection, according to results released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Boeing's Woes May Have Been Caused By Faulty Riveting

April 26, 2011 4:26 am | by David Koenig and Joan Lowy, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investigators trying to determine why the roof of a Southwest Airlines jet cracked open in flight have issued preliminary findings suggesting there may have been flaws in the riveting work when Boeing built the plane 15 years ago. The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that some of the rivets used to bind the Boeing 737's aluminum panels together were sunk in holes larger than the rivet shafts.

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Ford Posts Highest First-Quarter Profit In 13 Years

April 26, 2011 4:23 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford posted its best first-quarter profit in 13 years, as its new, more fuel-efficient vehicles reached showrooms during a surge in gasoline prices. New arrivals such as the Ford Explorer and Fiesta small car are selling well. Company profits are growing around the world.

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Cracking Boeing Jets Likely Flawed At Manufacturing

April 25, 2011 7:43 am | by David Koenig and Joan Lowy, Associated Press

Investigators trying to determine why the roof of a Southwest Airlines jet peeled open in flight this month are focusing on the manufacturing process at Boeing. Government and industry officials say investigators noticed that the stricken jet and five other Southwest planes that had cracks in their metal skins were all built at about the same time in the same Boeing plant.

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Ford Idles Three Overseas Plants On Part Shortages

April 25, 2011 7:36 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says it has idled three overseas factories to conserve auto parts following last month's earthquake in Japan. Assembly plants in Pretoria, South Africa, and Nanjing, China, will be down this week. Spokesman Todd Nissen says the factories had been scheduled to shut down for a week later this year, but the downtime was pulled ahead.

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The Dangers Of Unsecured Wireless Networks

April 25, 2011 7:32 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn't need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

Wis. Welcomes Robot-Controlled Medical Manufacturer

April 25, 2011 7:21 am

RACINE, Wis. (AP) — An Australian company that makes containers for needles and medical waste is opening a processing plant in Racine County. Daniels Sharpsmart has leased a 22,000 square-foot building in Yorkville. The company will install a sterilization system controlled by robots that alone will cost $1.

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iPhone Location Tracking Sets Off Privacy Firestorm

April 25, 2011 7:17 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — If you're worried about privacy, you can turn off the function on your smartphone that tracks where you go. But that means giving up the services that probably made you want a smartphone in the first place. After all, how smart is an iPhone or an Android if you can't use it to map your car trip or scan reviews of nearby restaurants? The debate over digital privacy flamed higher this week with news that Apple Inc.

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