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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Jay Leno's 1909 Electric Car

March 31, 2010 6:55 am | Articles | Comments

The automotive industry is all a-flutter with electric cars, but the technology is nothing new. Jay Leno is the proud owner of a 1909 Baker Electric, a fully-electric car that's was certainly ahead of the game. With a range of almost a hundred miles, the Baker could outlast even some of the modern offerings, albeit at a top speed of 22 miles per hour.

Under Pressure, Kraft Slashes Salt

March 31, 2010 6:54 am | Articles | Comments

Kraft, the nation’s largest food maker, has promised to cut 10 percent of the sodium from its portfolio of foods. A ten percent cut doesn’t seem like a whole lot, until you consider how big a piece of the pie it really is: 10 million pounds. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Kicking The Fossil Fuel Habit

March 31, 2010 6:51 am | Articles | Comments

Tom Rand — the engineer, venture capitalist, and self-appointed “philosopher” — thinks the world has every technology and resource it needs to break the bonds of fossil fuels. Why is that so important? Regardless of your stance on global warming, these green technologies can help any manufacturing facility save money.

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Finding Those Golden Production Nuggets

March 30, 2010 9:49 am | by Herb Lichtenberg, Senior VP Practice Director for Production | Articles | Comments

Whistles are blowing, phones are ringing and people are scrambling all over the factory floor. There has just been a major equipment breakdown and it looks like it will take days to fix and get the plant running again. Just think of the lost production, the late orders and the unhappy customers.

Getting Smart About Dust

March 30, 2010 4:12 am | Articles | Comments

Bell, California — Seeing 250,000 pounds of product go to waste each year can bring a tear to any company’s eye. For powdered food processor Allied Blending & Ingredients, Inc., (Keokuk, IA) there was little comfort in knowing that product shrinkage on this order — one percent — is actually the industry norm when handling 25 million pounds of ingredients each year.

The 'Price Is Right' For Economic Recovery

March 26, 2010 10:28 am | by Amanda Earing, News Editor | Articles | Comments

Manufacturing.net sat down with Doug Fuehne, VP, Professional Services of PROS Pricing Software Solutions to talk about how manufacturers can improve their pricing strategies and come out ahead as the economy turns around. To get right to it, the five pricing strategies Fuehne suggests will help you come out ahead in the economic recovery: Identify underperformers.

Wake Up And Smell The SCADA System

March 25, 2010 7:39 am | Articles | Comments

For many years, Lavazza’s primary purpose has been to bring the aroma and quality of Italian espresso coffee to the world. Luigi Lavazza invented the concept of blending coffee from various sources to yield a savory blend in the early 1900s. Since then the company has built up more than a century of experience while pursuing its twin aims of excellence and innovation.

Stay Away From The Toxic Sprite

March 25, 2010 4:47 am | Articles | Comments

Coca-Cola has recently come under fire for an incident in China, where a large batch of Sprite was found to be contaminated with high levels of mercury. After consuming a can of the contaminated product, one man vomited up the small pieces of mercury, and others were hospitalized for poisoning. While some accuse Coca-Cola of bad manufacturing practices, others claim the product was intentionally poisoned to affect Sprite’s reputation.

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Man On Moped vs. Pressure Washer

March 24, 2010 11:32 am | Articles | Comments

Hotsy has hired once-retired stuntman Courageous Carl Payne to demonstrate the power of their pressure washers. Check out the video to see the result of the man-and-moped vs. machine showdown. As if you needed any reminder, industrial pressure washers are extremely dangerous if not used correctly, or if shot at stuntmen, however willing they may be.

India's Electrified Automotive Industry

March 24, 2010 11:24 am | Articles | Comments

In India, sometimes smaller is better. Especially when it’s electric, too. That’s why the manufacturer of the Reva, the newest competitor in the burgeoning marketplace, is hoping India’s traffic woes will become easier, quieter, and more environmentally-friendly. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

China Scares, Alienates Foreign Companies

March 24, 2010 11:10 am | Articles | Comments

Companies doing business in China are experiencing a growing uneasiness, including feeling as though they are unwelcome among local brands. A recent survey found that 38 percent of companies are concerned about their Chinese-based business, a 12-point increase since December of last year, a mere three months ago.

Running Cars On Old Beer

March 24, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

The E-Fuel MicroFueler consists of a simple idea: bring ethanol production to the residential level. The MicroFueler is a 250-gallon tank, with an attached fuel pump just like the ones you would find at the local Shell station, which converts organic feedstock into pure ethanol. Chances are you have some old, skunky beer or a bottle of red wine that’s aged a little past its prime.

Cover Your Bases When Combating Combustible Dust

March 24, 2010 10:31 am | by Jon A. Barrett, Business Development Specialist, Interior Maintenance Company, Inc. and Paul R. Miller, General Manager, Nilfisk CFM | Articles | Comments

Combustible dust is fine particulate generated from products such as wood, metals, grains, chemicals, plastics, paper, and more. Manufacturers often pulverize, mill, grind, crush, macerate, and cut this bulk product, which in turn generates dust that settles on equipment and facility structure surfaces.

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Hazardous Chemical Control Is Turning Green

March 24, 2010 5:57 am | by Art Stevens for Justrite Mfg. | Articles | Comments

A recent Google search revealed 290 million hits on “economy,” compared to 405 million on “environment.” Even a cursory review of the annual reports of publicly traded companies reveals goal after goal related to the environment. Why? Not only do both federal and state legislation incentivize these efforts, but also regulatory statements mandate compliance.

Tube Bending Cell Changes Production Of Heat Exchanger Elements

March 24, 2010 5:46 am | Articles | Comments

RathGibson is a leading provider of precision engineered stainless steel, nickel, and titanium welded, welded and drawn, and seamless straight lengths, coil, and U-bend tubing to a wide variety of markets such as chemical, petrochemical, power generation, oil and gas, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology, and general commercial.

Overcoming Jelly Belly Aches

March 23, 2010 11:26 am | by Karen Langhauser, Editor-In-Chief, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Requests from overseas customers started almost immediately after it became known in 1980 that President-elect Ronald Reagan adored the jelly beans made by the Herman Goelitz Candy Company. Jelly Belly® jelly beans were different from the standard penny store jellies, instead manufactured through a meticulous process, with intense and unusual flavors in the candy shell as well as inside of the bean, using natural ingredients for flavoring.

Thirsty For Change

March 19, 2010 6:55 am | Articles | Comments

Vitality Foods Production Manager Ryan Jennings (left) and Vitality Foods General Manager Bruce Burlington (right), start up their new Clayton SigmaFire Steam Generator SFG-125M to produce 99.5% dry steam for their beverage manufacturing processes. If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of coffee, glass of juice or a nice cool smoothie in Canada, you’ve probably got Vitality Foodservice to thank.

Toyota: 'Runaway' Prius A Lie

March 17, 2010 9:56 am | Articles | Comments

While testing the Prius that took its driver for a high-speed ride last week, Toyota found no software or mechanical fault, and called into question the validity of the driver's statements. Engineers were unable to recreate the issue the driver allegedly experienced, and even claim that the wear on the car's brakes are inconsistent with his story.

Indonesia: We're A BRIC Too

March 17, 2010 7:45 am | Articles | Comments

Indonesia has long been considered a third-rate competitor in the new running for industrialization in the 21st century. But massive developments in the last decade have catapulted the 4th most populous country into the industrial limelight. Some have called for Indonesia’s inclusion into the BRIC group — an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, and China — as the most promising of industrial nations.

Manufacturing Invincible Black Boxes

March 17, 2010 7:43 am | Articles | Comments

Airline accidents are rare events, but when they do occur, investigators pore through every detail of the wreckage to determine if the crash was the result of human error or mechanical failure. The black box is one of the many keys to solving these massive puzzles, but they have to survive the perils of a crashed, burning plane.

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

March 17, 2010 7:42 am | Articles | Comments

OK Go, known for their low-budget and very-viral music videos, takes on the Rube Goldberg machine for their latest project. With the help of Synn Labs and director James Frost, the band designed and built what is arguably the most impressive Rube Goldberg machine to date. Any engineer or manufacturer can not only see the fun and whimsy in this creation, but also its incredible attention to detail and immaculate craftsmanship.

China's Communist Billionaires

March 17, 2010 7:41 am | Articles | Comments

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that China is a Communist country. When the government used to condemn its richest citizens for greed, a newfound love for capitalism has sprouted among the more than 1 billion citizens, creating a new land of immense wealth. With all those people and all that productivity, China now has the world’s most billionaires except for the U.

Soup Start-Up Finds Path For Growth

March 16, 2010 10:57 am | Articles | Comments

Having recently retired, Philip Wilbur-with family in tow-opened the doors to HURRICANE'S Café & Deli in 2005. Among the traditional deli fare, HURRICANE'S offered quality soups and chowders, which were made entirely from all-natural, local ingredients. Soup sales took off, with volume quadrupling in a single year.

In Search Of Universal Sensors

March 16, 2010 10:16 am | by Wesley Sund, Brooks Instrument | Articles | Comments

You are working in a process development research laboratory. Wouldn’t it be easy if you could take a flow device off the shelf, install it, and have immediate, accurate and reliable measurements? This is a dream, a fantasy for some. Advances in sensor design, electronics and software, however, is bringing this day closer than ever through recently introduced developments.

Managing Energy With Modern Drive Systems

March 16, 2010 10:11 am | by Michael Perlman, Siemens Industry Inc., Motion Control Marketing Manager | Articles | Comments

While it is valid to state that energy efficiency is defined as the same level of production being achieved at an overall lower energy cost, it is equally important for today’s machine builders and automation engineers alike to remember than an energy-efficient system can actually translate into higher productivity.

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