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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

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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.

What Are The Best Inventions Of 2010?

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

Time Magazine recently revealed its list of the 50 best inventions of 2010. There were a number of major technological breakthroughs over the course of the past few months, including the development of a jetpack, robotic prosthetic legs that allows paraplegics to walk again, and a super bus that can hold roughly 1,000 passengers.

The Advancement Of Air

November 15, 2010 10:04 am | by Dan Leiss, President, Jenny Products, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Compressors may not have drastically changed, but manufacturers still find ways to innovate. During one episode of the sitcom  Seinfeld , George Costanza made a profound observation about a product that had not seen any developments in his lifetime. “Everything else has changed.

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Reducing Wide Mouth PET Packaging Costs

November 15, 2010 6:30 am | Articles | Comments

By dividing the PET bottle manufacturing process into two steps instead of one, manufacturers experience significant savings in shipping and inventory costs. For decades, producers of PET blow-molded containers have been shipping bulky bottles and jars that contained nothing more than air, in many cases over long distances.

The Value Of A True CRM Tool 

November 12, 2010 9:02 am | Articles | Comments

Elobau Sensor Technology was using software to manage contacts and customer interaction notes, but the software didn’t have follow-up features, the ability to access the information remotely via the Web, and didn’t allow users to share information in a common database. It became clear to Elobau management that the company needed a true customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Q&A: Sanitation As A Competitive Advantage

November 12, 2010 5:25 am | by Doug Newman, Senior Vice President, Celerant Consulting | Articles | Comments

Sanitation is a crucial part of the food manufacturing business and must be managed, controlled and executed with the same level of attention as that of the production and maintenance operations.  Food Manufacturing  spoke with Doug Newman, Senior Vice President for Celerant Consulting, about the importance of sanitation in the food industry.

Sweet Sustainability: Plastic From Sugar

November 11, 2010 10:43 am | by Tom Domen, International Marketing Manager Product Portfolio, Ecover | Articles | Comments

Sustainability and the environment are quickly becoming hot trends in product packaging, and some companies are using creative ways to make the industry greener.  Food Manufacturing discussed the best options for sustainable packaging with Tom Domen of Ecover, a company that has partnered with Braskem to develop a sugar-based plastic.

What's So Special About The Volt?

November 10, 2010 10:51 am | Videos | Comments

So what's so special about the Chevy Volt? CNN's Maggie Lake hits the streets for a test drive in General Motor's electric car offering, highlights some of its features, and answers whether or not the Volt drives any different than a typical gas-fueled vehicle. Furthermore, she admits the Volt's $41,000 price tag and its mileage are two of the biggest concerns potential customers have as the vehicle hits showrooms.

BPA Linked To Slow Sperm Counts

November 10, 2010 10:24 am | Videos | Comments

Recent data suggests that the ubiquitous chemical BPA does have a fairly significant impact on both sperm count and "vitality," according to researchers with Kaiser Permenente. A comparison between male factory workers — who were regularly exposed to BPA — and a normal Chinese male showed that higher exposures to the chemical can cause significant defects.

Good Enough For The World Series?

November 10, 2010 10:23 am | Videos | Comments

With the World Series over for this year, we can take some time to reflect on how exactly a single baseball is made. It's a pretty delicate process that starts with what's called the "pill," which is a sphere of cork surrounded by a rubber casing, all smaller than a golf ball. The ball is finished with some cross-stitching done by hand, and perhaps even more impressive than the end product itself is the image of a few hundred workers in neat rows, all doing the same 108 stitches.

The Obsolete, Forgotten Linotype

November 10, 2010 10:22 am | Videos | Comments

“Linotype: The Film” is a documentary about Ottmar Mergenthaler’s amazing Linotype typecasting machine and the people who own and love these machines today. Director & Editor: Douglas Wilson Director of Photography: Brandon Goodwin Audio & Sound Design: Jess Heugel Music: Iron & Wine “Freedom Hangs Like Heaven” Does anyone out there still use one of these machines in a regular (or even ir regular) production process)? “Linotype: The Film” Teaser from Linotype: The Film on Vimeo .

Pesticides? Not In This Plant

November 10, 2010 3:17 am | Articles | Comments

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has recently announced that Conserve Italia, a leading company in the agri-food industry in Europe, is using Thermo Scientific GC/MS and LC/MS systems for fast and reliable pesticide analysis of food products. Conserve Italia processes around 650,000 tons of raw materials each year, including fruits, vegetables and tomatoes and provides the European market with finished goods such as fruit juices, canned vegetables and tomato sauces and purees.

Automated System Speeds Up Time

November 8, 2010 10:47 am | Articles | Comments

This article first appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of IMPO . When Automationdirect.com decided to automate its warehouse, it was already operating at 99 percent accuracy. But in order to keep the company’s promise of same-day shipping, the warehouse was requiring more and more personnel.

Helping Manufacturers Navigate CPSIA Compliance

November 8, 2010 10:45 am | by Nick Parnaby is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer at RollStream Inc. | Articles | Comments

For years, standards bodies have worked to develop common vocabularies to help streamline supply and demand chains. However, with recent legislation demanding rapid compliance and costly fines for organizations that fail, a new approach for compliance is required—one that could forever change the way we think about exchanging supply chain information.

Preventing Incidents With Proper Torque Wrench Handling

November 8, 2010 10:15 am | by Jason Junkers, Director of Operations, Hytorc | Articles | Comments

This article first appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of IMPO . Ask around among people that use hydraulic or pneumatic torque wrenches on the job and, chances are, almost everyone knows someone that has been injured or has experienced an injury themselves. Injuries can range from pinched fingers to broken hands and fingers, or even toxic oil “injections.

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