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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

One Worker Dead After Explosion At WI Plant

October 19, 2009 4:48 am

COLUMBUS, Wis. (AP) — One person has died in an explosion and fire at a manufacturing plant in Columbus. Fire officials say the maintenance employee was killed while using a hand-held grinder on some floor bolts at American Packaging Corp. Sunday about 6 p.m. Fire Chief Randy Koehn (KEEN) says sparks ignited some vapors, causing the explosion and fire.

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ABB Expects $1 Billion Q3 Profit

October 19, 2009 4:47 am

ZURICH (AP) — Swiss-based electrical engineering company ABB Group said Monday it expected third-quarter net profit of around $1 billion after booking charges for an alleged price fixing fine, higher taxes and restructuring costs. ABB officially announces its quarterly results on Oct.

Boeing's Rotorcraft Union Ratifies Raises

October 19, 2009 4:46 am

RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (AP) — Union workers at Boeing Co.'s Rotorcraft plant near Philadelphia have ratified a new five-year contract with the aircraft maker that will give them raises of 2 percent to 4 percent a year and a lump-sum payment of $3,500 in the first year, the company and the union said Sunday.

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Tyson To Reopen Independence, Iowa Plant

October 16, 2009 4:41 am

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods has announced plans to reopen its plant in Independence in 2010 to produce pet treats. The plant was closed in 2006 by the poultry and meat processor, costing about 400 workers their jobs. The Iowa Economic Development Board approved incentives, including a $400,000 forgivable loan, intended to get the Independence plant up and running.

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AMD Sales Rise For Laptop Demand

October 16, 2009 4:39 am | by Jessica Mintz, AP Technology Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Advanced Micro Devices Inc. lost money in the third quarter but said Thursday that sales were stronger than expected, adding to mounting evidence that consumer spending is fueling a turnaround in the personal computer market. AMD sells about 20 percent of the world's computer microprocessors, which are the brains inside PCs.

Ex-Ford Engineer Stole Secrets, Ran To China

October 16, 2009 4:08 am | by Ed White, Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) — An engineer copied thousands of electronic documents and stole trade secrets before quitting Ford Motor Co. for a new job in China, authorities said Thursday in announcing criminal charges.> Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu, was arrested Wednesday in Chicago after traveling from China, the U.

China Seeks To Set Global Iron Ore Price

October 16, 2009 3:54 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China, the world's biggest steel producer, is pushing to replace the benchmark arrangement long used by the industry to price iron ore imports with one giving it a bigger say. China sought price cuts from miners of up to 40 percent this year following two years of increases totaling more than 100 percent.

Dell To Move N.C. Jobs To Mexico

October 16, 2009 3:49 am

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Production at the North Carolina plant that Dell Inc. is closing in Winston-Salem will be moved to Mexico and other countries, according to a federal document. The High Point Enterprise reported Friday that Dell indicated in a Trade Adjustment Assistance Act petition that the work that has been done in Winston-Salem will be given to third-party providers in Mexico and other countries.

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Timken, UAW Shake Hands On 4-Year Contract

October 16, 2009 3:44 am

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Timken Co., which makes ball bearings and transmission products, says it has a tentative four-year contract agreement with leaders of a United Steel Workers local that covers 2,300 workers in Canton. The current contract was extended to Oct. 31 to allow time for a ratification vote later this month by members of USW Local 1123, Timken said.

GE Profits Fall 44 Percent In 3Q

October 16, 2009 3:41 am | by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer

The continued woes at General Electric's big financial unit fueled a big drop in its third-quarter earnings, outweighing signs of improvement in its divisions that make heavy machinery and other industrial equipment, the company said Friday. GE posted a 44-percent decline in profit to $2.4 billion, or 23 cents per share, hurt by much lower earnings at its GE Capital arm, which loans money to businesses ranging from credit cards to shopping centers.

EPA Puts Down Foot With Texan Heavy Industry

October 14, 2009 4:42 am | by John McFarland, Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) — For 15 years, environmentalists have complained that state regulations have allowed the powerful oil and chemical industries to skirt Clean Air Act standards in Texas, the nation's foremost producer of industrial air pollution. But the Environmental Protection Agency last month scrapped several aspects of the state's air-pollution permitting program, including "flexible" permits that have allowed about 140 plants and refineries to exceed toxic emissions limits in the short term as long as they complied to overall federal averages in the long term.

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U.S. Steel Exports Surpass Imports

October 14, 2009 4:37 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A steel industry trade group said the United States exported more steel than it imported in August for the first time in more than 50 years. But another group said that assessment was based on a selective reading of government data. The American Institute for International Steel said late Monday that government data indicated U.

Costco, JPMorgan Urge Boeing To Build 787 In Wash.

October 14, 2009 4:28 am

SEATTLE (AP) — Executives from some of Washington's largest employers on Tuesday urged Boeing Co. to build a second assembly line for its long-delayed 787 jetliner in the state, entering the fray in an interstate competition for the facility. In a letter to Jim Albaugh, the head of Boeing's commercial aircraft unit, more than two dozen corporate leaders wrote that "we encourage you to locate that line here in Washington, where we have a long track record of demonstrable success together.

Spanish Unions And Magna Debate Mass Layoffs

October 14, 2009 4:23 am | by Daniel Woolls, Associated Press Writer

MADRID (AP) — Spanish unions met Wednesday with representatives of Magna International Inc. to discuss its new proposal for an Opel plant targeted for job cuts, an official said. As part of its takeover of Opel from General Motors Co., Magna wants to eliminate 1,300 jobs at an Opel plant near Zaragoza in northeast Spain and move one of its two assembly lines to Germany.

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Auto Sales Down 10.4 Percent Post-Clunkers

October 14, 2009 4:14 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales declined in September by the largest amount this year as car sales plummeted following the end of the government's popular Cash for Clunkers program. But outside of autos, sales were better than expected. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales dropped 1.

Ford Adds 4.5m Cars To Flaming Switch Recall

October 14, 2009 4:12 am | by Stephen Manning and Tom Krisher, AP Business Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will add 4.5 million older-model vehicles to the long list of those recalled because a defective cruise control switch could cause a fire. The latest voluntary action pushes Ford's total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million registered vehicles over 10 years, capping the company's largest cumulative recall in history involving a single problem.

GM Trimming Fat With Opel, Hummer Sales

October 13, 2009 4:24 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors could finalize the sale of its German auto unit Opel as early as this week, the U.S. automaker's CEO said Tuesday. Fritz Henderson, visiting China for the first time since GM was restructured last summer, was also upbeat about the prospects for the sale of the company's Hummer unit to Chinese buyer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp.

Siemens Nabs $888m Turbine Deal With Four States

October 13, 2009 4:07 am

FRANKFURT (AP) — Siemens AG has won orders worth some euro600 million ($888 million) to supply 250 wind turbines in the United States and Canada, the German-based industrial conglomerate said Tuesday. A quarter of the order is destined for the Canadian province of Ontario, while the rest of the turbines will go to California, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming, Munich-based Siemens said.

China Poisons Another 1,000 Children

October 13, 2009 3:57 am

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly 1,000 children in a central Chinese province have tested positive for excessive lead in their blood, state media reported Tuesday, the latest of several lead poisoning cases involving thousands of children across the country. After reports of large-scale lead poisoning in neighboring Shaanxi province, the health bureau in Jiyuan City, Henan province, conducted blood tests on 2,743 children under the age of 14, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the bureau's director, Wei Zongchang, as saying.

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Cap & Gown Co. Sued For Hispanic Discrimination

October 13, 2009 3:56 am | by Margery A. Beck, Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha cap-and-gown manufacturer has been accused in federal court of discriminating against its Hispanic employees. Three lawsuits filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha allege that Willsie Cap & Gown routinely offered better hours, more desirable work, more breaks and even better lighting to non-Hispanic employees.

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