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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

World's Largest Solar Plant Comes To CA

September 18, 2013 12:29 pm | by CBS News | Videos | Comments

A massive solar project in the Mojave Desert will hook up to the power grid this weekend, and could start supplying electricity to homes by the end of the year. The plant has 170,000 heliostats, each with the capacity to power one home.    

Energy Department To Sell Fisker Loan

September 18, 2013 10:00 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Energy Department says it is selling a $192 million loan made to struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. The sale, to be held next month, is the latest setback for a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee offered to the California car maker in 2009 as part of the Obama administration's program to promote green energy.

GM Working On 200-Mile Electric Car, Exec Says

September 17, 2013 10:08 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

As automakers race to make cheaper electric cars with greater battery range, General Motors is working on one that can go 200 miles per charge at a cost of about $30,000, a top company executive said. Vice President of Global Product Development Doug Parks wouldn't say when or if such a car will be built, however.

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Suntech CEO Steps Down, Shares Rise

September 16, 2013 2:04 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Suntech Power Holdings Co. said Friday that David King is stepping down as the company's CEO and acting chief financial officer. The news sent the struggling solar company's shares up 8 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $1.27 in afternoon trading. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of 30 cents to $1.99.

Manufacturing Irony: Fans Are The ‘Achilles Heel’ Of Your PC

September 16, 2013 8:02 am | by John Donoghue, Content Manager, Logic Supply | Blogs | Comments

Those of you working with a desktop, take a moment and look at the fans on the back of your PC. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Not a pretty sight, I imagine. If you are like most people - even those working in an air conditioned office - you are seeing a nice patina of dust covering your blades. And if you are in manufacturing, you are likely seeing something much uglier: the genesis of a huge suck of time, money and resources.

Photo Of The Day: Electric Dreams At Auto Show

September 11, 2013 10:05 am | by David McHugh, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Judging by the slew of electric and hybrid vehicles being rolled out at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it might seem carmakers are tapping a large and eager market. But in fact almost no one buys such cars — yet.

Barbour: U.S. Needs Variety Of Energy Sources

September 11, 2013 10:01 am | by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press | News | Comments

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Tuesday defended a coal-fired power plant that's under construction in Kemper County, saying the U.S. should develop a variety of energy sources, including Mississippi-mined lignite that will be used at the plant.

U.S. Gov't Investigating Electric Ford Focus

September 10, 2013 2:06 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. government is investigating allegations that the electric version of the Ford Focus can stall without warning. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday it has gotten 12 complaints from drivers of Focus Electrics from the 2012 and 2013 model years.

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Explosion Proof Lighting In The Industrial Workplace (Part II)

September 6, 2013 8:02 am | by Rob Bresnahan, Larson Electronics | Articles | Comments

Explosion proof fixtures provide protection by preventing any ignitions within the fixture housing from igniting the atmosphere outside of the fixture. Intrinsically safe fixtures are more specialized and provide their protection by being low powered and incapable of producing enough heat or spark to produce ignition. 

Lawmakers Encourage Drivers To Buy Clean Vehicles

September 5, 2013 2:34 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California's Senate has approved two bills designed to encourage motorists to buy low-polluting vehicles. Both extend existing programs that allow solo drivers to use carpool lanes as an incentive. B286 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco passed the Senate Wednesday on a 30-8 vote.

VA Utility Top Bidder For Offshore Wind Leases

September 5, 2013 2:28 pm | by Steve Szkotak, Associated Press | News | Comments

Virginia Dominion Power submitted a successful $1.6 million bid Wednesday to lease nearly 113,000 offshore acres for the development of wind turbines that could power 700,000 homes. Virginia's largest utility beat out one other bidder, Apex Virginia Offshore Wind LLC of Charlottesville, in the nation's second lease sale of ocean bottom dedicated to the development of huge wind turbines.

Battery Maker Picks KY For Research Site

September 4, 2013 2:11 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Kentucky has landed its first major tenant at a battery research laboratory in Lexington as the state jockeys for a prominent role in developing next-generation automobiles. NOHMs Technologies Inc. said Wednesday it will locate research, product development and manufacturing operations at the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center.

Lighting Company To Expand, Add Jobs In MS

September 4, 2013 2:05 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

St. James Lighting is expanding its operations in Columbia, Miss., to create 20 new jobs. The announcement came Tuesday from the company and the governor's office. Officials say the $225,000 investment will meet a growing demand for its products. The company currently has 23 employees.

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South Korea Unfolds The Future Of Urban Driving

September 3, 2013 12:23 pm | by ReutersVideo | Videos | Comments

South Korean researchers have developed an electric car that folds in half for easy parking. Named for the armor-covered mammal of the same name, the 'Armadillo-T' is a two-seater prototype vehicle that is designed for commuters in busy urban areas. Reuters' Rob Muir has more.

Hackers Find Weaknesses In Car Computer Systems

September 3, 2013 10:21 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

As cars become more like PCs on wheels, what's to stop a hacker from taking over yours? Hackers have shown they can slam a car's brakes at freeway speeds, jerk the steering wheel and even shut down the engine — all from their laptop computers.

Toyota Says New Prius, Fuel Cell Car Due In 2015

August 29, 2013 12:52 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Toyota has two important vehicles coming in 2015: the next-generation Prius hybrid and the company's first hydrogen fuel cell car. Satoshi Ogiso, a top Toyota engineer who helped develop the original Prius 20 years ago, said Wednesday that the new Prius will get significantly better fuel economy than its current 50 miles per gallon (4.7 liters per 100 kilometers).

Train Shines Light On Self-Contained Solar Power

August 29, 2013 8:02 am | by ReutersVideo | Videos | Comments

A nature reserve in central Hungary has become a testing ground for self-contained, solar-powered train travel. Engineers say the narrow gauge train is the first of its kind and could become a template for larger train transport systems. Reuters' Matthew Stock reports.

GE Completes Joint Venture With XD Electric

August 28, 2013 10:04 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Electric Co. said Tuesday that it has finally launched a joint venture with XD Electric Group, a partnership originally announced over a year ago. GE and XD Electric, a Chinese company that makes electricity transmission and distribution equipment, will sell equipment and services for upgrading electrical grids through their joint venture.

First Solar Sells Projects To Group Led By GE

August 26, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

First Solar Inc. said Monday that it sold a collection of solar projects in Canada totaling 50 megawatts to an investment partnership led by GE Energy's financial services arm. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal marks the first between First Solar and GE since their solar technology and commercial partnership was announced earlier this month.

Contractor Sues Over Failed $700M Plant

August 21, 2013 2:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Washington state-based contractor is suing the Chinese parent company of a defunct polysilicon maker over a failed $700 million plant in eastern Idaho that had been expected to supply the solar energy industry but never produced anything.

Trade Dispute Threatens WA Industry

August 19, 2013 2:48 pm | by Amy Martinez, The Seattle Times | News | Comments

REC Silicon, with 500 workers in this Central Washington town, annually produces enough solar-grade polysilicon to power more than 2 million homes. But a global trade battle over solar panels threatens to plunge REC and its local workforce into financial crisis.

Ford To Restate Hybrid Gas Mileage

August 15, 2013 3:07 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford will reduce gas mileage estimates for its C-Max hybrid, following a government investigation into consumer complaints that the car's actual mileage was lower, a person familiar with the matter said. Ford will drop the combined city-highway mileage listed on the window sticker from 47 mpg to 43 mpg (20 kpl to 18.3 kpl), according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the change has not been formally announced.

ANA, Japan Airlines Check 787s For Wiring Problem

August 14, 2013 10:05 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines said Wednesday they are checking their Boeing 787 fleets for wiring problems unrelated to battery defects that plagued the aircraft earlier this year. ANA said the departure of a 787 plane was delayed over problem wiring for a system to put out engine fires.

Power To The People

August 12, 2013 4:03 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

It’s not uncommon to find an industrial worker with a power tool in their hands a dozen or more times per day. Power and speed are important – but perhaps most critical is the assurance of knowing the tool is ready to go at a moment’s notice. With reliability being top of mind for most users, power tool manufacturers place continued emphasis on improving the batteries that make a cordless tool go.

Vehicle-Charging Company Warns About Prospects

August 12, 2013 2:09 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ecotality Inc., which makes charging systems for electric vehicles, said Monday that it could be forced into a sale or bankruptcy filing "in the very near future" after disappointing sales and suspension of payments from the federal government. The company said that it hired a restructuring adviser to evaluate options including new financing or a possible sale.

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