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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Industry And Sustainable Development

December 20, 2010 6:21 am | by Dr. Joerg Strassburger, Managing Director and Country Speaker, LANXESS India Private Ltd. | Articles | Comments

In today’s age of rapid urbanization and industrialization, sustainable development is certainly the need of the hour for businesses and governments at large. Regardless of the size of the organization, nature of business and geography, there is an incumbent need for everyone to take up this challenge of developing ways to meet the future demands while maintaining the necessary balance in the environment, all in a commercially viable manner.

Keeping Projects On Track

December 17, 2010 10:51 am | by Bob Harrell, President and CEO, Management Controls Inc. | Articles | Comments

Completing chemical plant turnarounds, construction and routine maintenance activities on time and on budget is an elusive goal for most process industry manufacturers. According to industry lore, a staggering 85 percent of North American turnarounds are completed late and/or over budget. One of the key deficiencies is the lack of real-time visibility into contractor activities and costs.

Ten Tips For Setting Up A School Machine Shop

December 16, 2010 8:06 am | Articles | Comments

It’s probably not a stretch to suggest that most students back in high school shop class didn’t expend a great deal of mental energy wondering how those lathes, drill presses, and grinders made it into the classroom for their enjoyment and educational experience. We’ll assume, however, that most were too busy learning how to manipulate metal, wood, and other materials in a safe and effective manner to care about how the tools got there.

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Thought Ink Was Boring? Think Again

December 15, 2010 9:19 am | Videos | Comments

Peter Welfare, president and head inkmaker of The Printing Ink Company, proves that making high-quality ink is anything but boring. Like most processes that we take for granted, it starts with an incredible artistry that expands into a massive scale. While the music helps a little bit, it's easy to find yourself a little mesmerized simply by the rich visuals.

Hackers Push Toward Sign Language Computing

December 15, 2010 6:48 am | Videos | Comments

Microsoft recently released the Kinect for its Xbox 360 gaming console, which is a camera-based device that can see and understand human movement without the use of controllers. While the device was meant to help regular people play games, researchers from MIT's Media Lab have hacked it to demonstrate hands-free web browsing, Minority Report -style.

Painting A Plane In 4 Minutes

December 15, 2010 6:33 am | Videos | Comments

The production company Vivid Photo Visual set up a variety of time-lapse cameras to take in the 13-day operation of repainting a Boeing 747 for recommission with Virgin Atlantic. The end result is a sort of peaceful ballet, with a great-looking plane to boot. Virgin Atlantic plane livery time-lapse movie from johnson banks on Vimeo .

Myth Confirmed: Rail Guns Are Terrifying

December 15, 2010 6:31 am | Videos | Comments

The rail gun has long been a pipe dream for the military, but those hopes are slowly becoming a reality. According to Popular Science , this latest test has launched a projectile with 33 megajoules of energy, which equates to speeds at Mach 7 and a range of 100 miles—all without explosives.

Get Started With Green Cleaning

December 13, 2010 4:48 am | Articles | Comments

Cleaning chemicals get the most focus in any discussion of environmentally sound cleaning practices. Over six billion pounds of cleaning chemicals are used each year in the performance of cleaning tasks (“The Business of Green Cleaning,” International Facility Management Association). Reducing the environmental harm done by these substances is the goal of several product-certifying organizations, including Green Seal, EcoLogo and EPA Design for Environment.

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Why Green Cleaning Makes 'Cents'

December 10, 2010 6:27 am | by Jill Kohls, Marketing Programs Manager, Nilfisk Advance, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Why clean green? Floor scrubbers should be flexible enough to allow the operator to choose where to apply extra water or detergent, such as in higher-traffic or spill areas. There are many reasons why distribution centers, warehouses, manufacturing plants, and processing facilities can benefit from a green floor-cleaning program.

SpaceX World's First Company To Orbit Earth

December 8, 2010 9:48 am | Videos | Comments

SpaceX, the private-sector space transport company owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk, successfully launched its Falcon 9 test rocket into Earth's orbit and recovered it successfully, a first for a non-government entity. The test's success brightens the future for NASA, who will someday hire companies like SpaceX to shuttle materials and astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station.

Wozniak: Rebels Of Today Are Future Successes

December 8, 2010 9:46 am | Videos | Comments

Steve Wozniak, best known for being a co-founder of Apple alongside Steve Jobs, now spends his time as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He says that Apple's success, and the success of many other innovators in the electronics world, emerges from people doing risky and unconventional work. The "rebels" of today are no different.

The World's Most Expensive 'Crap'puccino

December 8, 2010 9:45 am | Videos | Comments

The most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, is popular throughout the world, despite its unique method of production and a price tag upwards of $50 a cup. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Beware The Ammonia Cloud

December 8, 2010 9:44 am | Videos | Comments

These ominous videos show two different angles of workers fleeing from a 2007 ammonia leak. The YouTube user who posted these videos says the leak neared 40,000 pounds of ammonia. That would be enough to get me running, too. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Co-packer Increases Business With Intuitive Printer

December 3, 2010 5:03 am | by Scott Benigni, Continuous Ink Jet Product Manager, Videojet Technologies, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Co-packers provide supplemental personnel, production space and project management for manufacturers that need expert help for quick-turnaround projects, short runs or overflow packaging projects. This expertise may include having access to special equipment or experience with a new packaging application or challenge.

Is The Economy Recovering?

December 1, 2010 9:35 am | Videos | Comments

David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's Budget Director, says the U.S. economy is not in a state of recovery. Massive debt creation in the public and household sectors has resulted in the United States 'living beyond (its) means," says Stockman. As a result, Stockman states, the United States has not fully recovered from the Great Recession.

How Do Flight Recorders Survive Crashes?

December 1, 2010 9:34 am | Videos | Comments

Ever wonder how flight data recorders manage to survive plane crashes? For decades, engineers used Inconel, a super-tough alloy, in order to etch data without the fear of it being erased later by fire or crash damage. And while modern recorders have gone digital, like most everything else, it doesn't mean we can't appreciate the innovations that brought us to where we are now.

The Making Of The Volt

December 1, 2010 9:33 am | Videos | Comments

We've all heard a lot about Chevrolet's new 2011 Volt. It was named Motortrend's Car of the Year , and potential buyers are lining up for their chance to drive one home. What we haven't seen, on the other hand, is how the Volts are made. This video tries to solve that problem. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Melting Rock With Sunshine

December 1, 2010 9:32 am | Videos | Comments

Jem Stansfield, of the BBC show "Bang Goes The Theory," visits a solar furnace research facility in southern France to see the enormous potential of sunlight. This 2 square-meter mirror is capable of creating temperatures of 3,500°C, which is too hot for any known material to handle.

Expanding Production With Form, Fill, And Seal

November 30, 2010 4:56 am | Articles | Comments

The use of fresh cut vegetables for foodservice has seen significant growth in the past few years, driven by hygiene regulations, customer preference for fresher meals, and convenience factors, such as quicker cooking times and reduced prep time. However, innovative new packaging and processing developments are essential to the industry‘s further growth.

Biodegradable Design

November 23, 2010 10:39 am | by Meaghan Ziemba, Associate Editor, Product Design & Development (PD&D) | Articles | Comments

Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives; from the packaging that keeps our cold cuts fresh to the containers we use to store out personal items and to discard our trash. According to Anne Trafton,  MIT News Office in  One Word: Bioplastic , the United States produced 101.

Clean Rooms Adapt To A Changing Industry

November 23, 2010 9:01 am | by Mike Auerbach, Editor In Chief, PharmPro | Articles | Comments

When you think of the pharmaceutical industry one of the first images that comes to mind is that of the clean room operator. Covered from head-to-toe in a white garment, mask and gloves on, manipulating a piece of sophisticated equipment designed to produce the life-saving drugs we have all come to rely on.

Perfecting A Cost-Saving Methodology

November 18, 2010 11:10 am | Articles | Comments

A Wisconsin-based manufacturer has spent the last decade developing and trying to perfect a methodology for producing a certain product at a significantly lower cost. Before a potato hits the dinner plate, it may have taken six to eight years of development to get there. Among the thousands of varieties of potatoes, characteristics like size, color, solid-matter content, and starch type can all vary, and they are appealing to producers and consumers for their respective characteristics.

Make Friends With The Air Hockey Robot

November 17, 2010 10:00 am | Videos | Comments

A Japanese professor has developed a robotic air hockey player, which uses a camera to track the puck's motion and calculate its trajectory and deliver a mean counter-attack. According to one YouTube commenter, this device is ideal for "people with no friends." That might be a little harsh, as the project is a good test in machine vision and developing faster reaction times for unexpected events.

The Chevy Volt: Car Of The Year

November 17, 2010 9:59 am | Videos | Comments

The Chevrolet Volt, despite some concerns that it might not be as revolutionary as once thought, is the winner of Motor Trend 's 2011 Car of the Year Award. As Motor Trend editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie explains, the award is given for performance in six main categories: Engineering excellence Advance in design Efficiency Safety Value Performance in intended function Despite a $41,000 sticker price, reviewers say that the Volt more than makes up for a bigger monthly payment with good mileage, and a lower energy cost when using the electric motor, compared to gasoline.

Profiting From Anti-China Politics

November 17, 2010 9:58 am | Videos | Comments

China has been in the news lately due to veiled threats of withholding rare earth materials for political reasons, and that has made manufacturers around the world a nervous bunch. Considering a vast majority of the rare earth metals we use come from China, they do have the power to strangle a handful of industries and countless companies.

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