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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

As No. 2, China Looms Large

August 18, 2010 10:13 am | Articles | Comments

China has recently overtaken Japan as the world's No. 2 economy, leaving many worried here in the U.S. about what the future holds. Based on the trend of outsourcing the last few decades, it stands to reason that China is aiming for America's top spot, which could open up even more floodgates for jobs to escape overseas.

The New 'Blue Collar'

August 18, 2010 10:12 am | Articles | Comments

The roles of programmer, machinist, and quality control engineer are rolled into one at this new-age manufacturing plant. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department. Have any comments or questions about our Thursday video editions of IMPO Insider? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in one of our deployments? Email me at Joel.

Supplying Faster Production And Flexibility

August 13, 2010 9:34 am | Articles | Comments

Imagine you’ve just started production in your newly remodeled assembly plant, and news comes that production of the existing models will be cut 30 percent and another completely different variant will need to be accommodated. Scenarios like this are a nightmare for the facilitation of lean principals, but a common occurrence in the automotive industry.

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Crane Operators Make The Grade With Training

August 12, 2010 6:38 am | Articles | Comments

Employee training has a bottom-line impact on ROI, according to Jim Lang, General Manager of the Konecranes Training Institute, a full-service training organization designed to help companies be more productive with their material handling. Investments in training can bring workforces to a higher level of proficiency, helping companies increase ROI over the entire lifecycle of their operations.

The Death Of The Middle Class

August 11, 2010 7:00 am | Articles | Comments

Everyone, regardless of their political inclinations, is clamoring about the death of the middle class, and that can be tied directly to the loss of American manufacturing jobs. Thom Hartmann, radio host and author, joins MSNBC to talk about why all these jobs have disappeared. According to Hartmann, our "laissez faire" trade policy has just served to create a situation where "trade" equates to "outsourcing.

Bat-Like Robot Clings, Climbs Walls

August 11, 2010 6:36 am | Articles | Comments

This wall-climbing robot uses a pendulum to generate the energy required to scale walls, and has potential applications along soldiers overseas if it can overcome its one downside: As of now, it can only climb carpeted walls. One probably doesn't see many of those in the likes of Afghanistan. Visit msnbc.

Bionic Legs Help The Paralyzed Walk

August 11, 2010 6:35 am | Articles | Comments

Richard Little and Robert Irving, co-founders of Rex Bionics, explain the development of electromechanical bionic legs. They are available for people that are able to use an electric wheelchair, and will hopefully be available in the United States next year. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Buy The Better Safety Glasses

August 11, 2010 6:34 am | Articles | Comments

In this homemade safety video, a slingshot enthusiast tests the damage that could be done to one's eye if they aren't careful around projectiles. He tests cheap sunglasses and your typical safety glasses, but the results point to only one conclusion: If someone is pointing a high-powered slingshot in your direction, you might want to reach for the more expensive eye protection.

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The Best Ways To Convey With Metal Detection

August 9, 2010 6:11 am | by AJ Naber, Senior Design Engineer - Dorner Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

An essential part of any inspection process is the ability to quickly and effectively remove questionable product from the process flow. And a key component of that inspection process is metal detection. Once contaminated product has been detected there are many methods of product removal from a simple stop-on-detect mechanism to a more complex system such as a retractable tail.

Bagel Bakery Goes HI-SPEED

August 4, 2010 9:44 am | Articles | Comments

When a 30-year-old, U.S.D.A.-certified bakery wanted to increase production and improve quality and process control, Mettler-Toledo HI-SPEED developed an innovative solution for the Pacific Northwest business. The commercial bakery business can be tough, so keeping production and quality control up is the only way to stay competitive.

'Back To The Future' On Trash-To-Fuel

August 4, 2010 7:25 am | Articles | Comments

Remember that scene from Back to the Future , where Doc throws a bunch of trash into the Delorean for fuel? More and more entrepreneurs are stepping up with companies willing to do just that. Actually, the technology has been around for a while, but the market has only very recently become viable. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

X-Prize Proves Our Cars Are Inefficient, Slow

August 4, 2010 7:24 am | Articles | Comments

Automakers are constantly bragging about their fuel-efficient cars, but if you ask the engineers involved in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, the world's automakers are just saving face and pushing false marketing. The prize, which carries a purse of $10 million, is searching for cars that get more than 100mpg and are economically viable for mass production .

"Rural Sourcing": Big Idea, Small Towns

August 4, 2010 7:21 am | Articles | Comments

“Rural sourcing” is becoming a very real phenomenon for manufacturers, and it’s something every company should think about. Rural Sourcing Inc. CEO, Montey Hamilton, recently appeared on CNBC to discuss what rural sourcing actually is, and why it’s the best choice for American manufacturers.

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The Bionic Cat

August 4, 2010 7:17 am | Articles | Comments

Every once in a while, we hear about the revolutionary surgery doctors are performing on people who lose their limbs in an accident. From blade-shaped carbon fiber legs, to prosthetic arms that can respond to signals from the brain, 21st century medicine is proving to be all about bionics. So what happens when a cat gets his hind legs severed by a combine harvester? A veterinarian takes a big risk to develop two bionic legs that allow the little guy to live out the rest of his days like any other cat.

Choosing The Right Lift Truck

August 4, 2010 4:46 am | by Susan Comfort, Manager, Class II Narrow Aisle Truck Product and Joe LaFergola, Manager, Business and Information Solutions - The Raymond Corproation | Articles | Comments

Increasing efficiencies and reducing costs in a manufacturing facility can be a challenging task, especially considering all the factors that contribute to expenses. However, taking a close look at a facility’s lift truck fleet to ensure each truck is being used for the right application is an astute way to help manage costs.

When CPVC Beats Steel For Corrosive Piping

August 3, 2010 7:56 am | by Donald Townley, PE, business manager for Corzan Industrial Systems | Articles | Comments

Industrial wastewater treatment plants have always presented significant challenges for piping systems, not only because of the highly corrosive chemicals being transported throughout the system, but also because of demanding schedules that, typically, mandate a 24/7 operation. In recent years, however, the demands on these systems have increased greatly, largely as a result of newer disinfection technologies and chemical treatment processes, as well as more complex equipment designs and specification processes.

Trek Bicycles Software Races To 9-Month ROI

August 3, 2010 5:26 am | Articles | Comments

Trek Bicycle Corporation, founded in 1976 and based in Wisconsin, is a world-leading manufacturer of bikes. As a company that focuses as heavily on its carbon footprint as it does its manufacturing quality, they were looking for ways to streamline their nesting for their Gerber knife cutters. Trek evaluated the market, finalizing on two systems, however only JETCAM’s nesting and CAM software delivered the combined mix of automation and desired interaction.

Video Case Study: RFID And Guided Missiles

July 30, 2010 7:58 am | Articles | Comments

In the lastest edition of The RFID Network , Louis Sirico visits an aerospace and defense manufacturing facility, where RFID technology is being used to help simplify the complex process of building unmanned aircraft and guided missiles for the Department of Defense.

AS/RS Means More Yogurt To Go Around

July 28, 2010 8:37 am | Articles | Comments

YORK, Pa. — FAGE USA’s yogurt manufacturing venture in the USA has been a great success, so much so they are already expanding the facility. Back in early 2008, FAGE USA opened their new manufacturing plant and attached distribution center in Johnstown, NY. The original facility includes a Westfalia High Density Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) and Savanna.

Matches Are Made Out Of... What?

July 27, 2010 12:32 pm | Articles | Comments

Matches are so common nowadays we hardly think about them ( not unlike copiers ). So, where did they come from? Start with a little bit of animal urine, and mix in some engineering virtuosity. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Ford's New Explorer: Think Smaller

July 26, 2010 12:19 pm | Articles | Comments

Ford announced the all-new Explorer on Tuesday, which represents a major break from the old way of thinking about SUVs — hulking and gas-guzzling. The new vehicle is built on a car platform, not a truck's, and eschews the V-8 option for a more fuel-efficient V-6. In the wake of the announcement, MSNBC anchors take Ford CEO Alan Mullaly to task over fuel efficiency, Ford's part in the recovery of American automaking, and the difficulty of making and selling SUVs in a world where energy independence is so critical.

Managing Warehouse Temperatures

July 26, 2010 11:48 am | Articles | Comments

Anchor Warehouse Services is a commercial cold storage provider serving growers in California’s lush Central Valley. Anchor provides pre-cooling and SO2 gassing services to maintain the optimum quality of all types of perishable produce including avocadoes, kiwis, and quinces as well as large quantities of table grapes and citrus.

The Taser Is So 20th Century

July 23, 2010 11:35 am | Articles | Comments

We've all heard about the Taser, so much so that it's starting to get a bad reputation. Enter the "Dazer Laser." According to the manufacturer, it can be used to disorient suspects without resorting to harsher techniques like the aforementioned Taser. Based on the video below, it would certainly seem to be effective at being incredibly annoying, at least.

Save Some Green: Green Up Your Machines

July 22, 2010 11:47 am | Articles | Comments

Investing in more efficient process machinery makes good business sense and will help to ensure reduced costs plus a greener plant. However, not all plants can afford to replace their present equipment with newer, more efficient machines. What steps can these plants take to “green up” their business and operate more efficiently? Most plants can vastly improve machine reliability, efficiency, and reduce raw materials conversion costs by simply making improvements in their present machinery.

A 'Star Wars' Future Is Here

July 21, 2010 10:45 am | Articles | Comments

The future of equally dangerous and awesome technology is getting ever closer. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy and Raytheon announced they had successfully used a high-powered, solid state laser to shoot down multiple drones over the coast of California. Once the technology is perfected, the defense contractor hopes to deliver a laser system that can shoot down incoming missiles, UAVs, or even aircraft.

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