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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

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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.

Need A Beer?

July 21, 2010 7:22 am | Articles | Comments

You're working hard at your desk, but you feel like a nice, cold refreshment is exactly what you need to make it through the grind. Typically, you need to break your concentration and get up in order to procure said refreshment. Not anymore, thanks to some bright minds at Willow Garage. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Digging Through A Copier's Guts

July 21, 2010 6:51 am | Articles | Comments

Most of us probably use copiers on a pretty regular basis, but how many of us actually know how they work? Turns out the science is fairly simple, but the engineering certainly isn't. The most fundamental principles involved are electrostatics (materials sticking together due to static electricity) and photoconductivity (light causing current to flow).

In Tokyo, Ads Watch You

July 21, 2010 5:31 am | Articles | Comments

We're all used to watching ads, but if one Tokyo-based company has its way, the ads will be watching us right back. Facial recognition technology allows billboards to track faces, estimate ages, and gauge reactions to advertised products. The billboards are even able to personalize an advertisement based on your demographic, with the hope of greater interaction between consumer and marketer.

All The Right Pieces

July 20, 2010 10:59 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

Modular production systems have gone past just Lego-like pieces of equipment or construction plans, and into the very fabric of many processing plant’s design for growth. Modular approaches to new equipment and processing plant construction is not a new concept. However, the enhancements in many areas, along with their increased frequency of use, have driven these concepts to the top of many facilities’ plans for increasing production, while cutting costs and improving overall production efficiencies.

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LED Obstruction Lighting Saves Energy, Reduces Maintenance

July 20, 2010 5:49 am | Articles | Comments

PPL Generation LLC works diligently to reduce its environmental impact and encourage the responsible use of energy through innovative technology, conservation initiatives, and educational programs both inside its facilities and in the surrounding communities. Like many Americans, the company recently discovered that changing out a few light bulbs to install Dialight’s highly efficient LED-based obstruction lighting can make a big difference in reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs, while providing more reliable safety lighting to meet FAA requirements.

Ukraine Milk Company Powered By 4,000 Cows

July 19, 2010 6:23 am | Articles | Comments

JENBACH, Austria — Cow manure is being converted to energy at the first biogas cogeneration plant in the Ukraine. The facility, which is powered by 4,000 cows and a GE (NYSE: GE) Jenbacher gas engine, has recently completed nine months of successful operation at the Ukrainian Milk Company Ltd.

Oil Shear Technology Keeps Reading Rockin’

July 15, 2010 9:39 am | by Reading Rock | Articles | Comments

Reading Rock was using SmartPac vibrator shafts to introduce vibration to achieve the half-block height molds. For several years, however, Reading has been using a variation that allows Reading personnel to change the amplitude and frequency. In addition to flexibility never before seen in this application, the technology offers a service life that is fully twice the number of cycles of prior designs.

Industrial Vending For The Masses

July 15, 2010 5:49 am | Articles | Comments

Given vending’s long history, the question is: why hasn’t it been more widely adopted for industrial applications? Generally speaking, it boils down to cost. There’s been some great industrial vending technology out there, but the up-front capital expenses have been a tough sell for smaller or medium sized companies.

Air Doors Create AIQ Surprise

July 15, 2010 5:47 am | Articles | Comments

Coleman Tool & Mfg. Co. originally specified air curtains to save monthly winter heating costs, but later discovered a dual purpose of filtering welding process smoke to significantly improve employee indoor air quality (IAQ). “We hit two birds (energy savings and IAQ) with one stone (air curtain technology),” said Michael Coleman, president, Coleman Tool, Union Grove, WI.

Polyurethane Roll Covers, Revolutionized

July 15, 2010 5:00 am | Articles | Comments

Introduction Due to new technologies, polyurethane (PU) roll covers no longer require molds, as they can be cast directly on the roll core surface using a robotic deposition system and a CNC precision-coordinated spindle. Although this process was originally introduced in the 1980s, advances in chemistry, robotics, and computer technology in the past several years have led to significant maturity of the process, resulting in growth of this technique.

Minimum Wages Around The World

July 14, 2010 8:11 am | Articles | Comments

We don't often hear about the minimum wage in America anymore, but it's an issue that is plaguing countries worldwide as they try to find a middle ground between protecting workers and maintaining an economy accepting of business. Greece, for example, is cutting back on its old minimum wage policy in order to survive the credit crunch, while Asian countries such as India are simply struggling to enact a minimum at all.

Are Those Baked Beans Safe?

July 14, 2010 8:08 am | Articles | Comments

It's almost guaranteed that with every trip to the grocery store you pick up canned food of one kind or another, and that can will likely have a label that guarantees its freshness for years down the road. Some companies say their cans have a five-year shelf life. How can they make such a claim? The BBC visits the biggest Heinz baked beans factory in the world to see how they ensure the beans are safe to eat.

If You're Already Spending $100,000...

July 14, 2010 8:07 am | Articles | Comments

Yesterday, Chevrolet announced the "Corvette Engine Build Experience," which allows buyers of the Corvette ZR1 or Z06 to visit GM's Wixom, Mich. facility and assemble the engine themselves — under the observation of a skilled technician, of course. While many mocked Chevy's new idea, and suggested that it was a way for the company to lower labor costs, it's hard to argue against spending an extra $6,000 (you're already spending more than $100,000 for a ZR1, anyway) and driving around with the added joy of knowing that you helped build the car.

Consumer Reports: Don't Buy The iPhone 4

July 14, 2010 8:05 am | Articles | Comments

So, you just bought a brand new iPhone, but you've been noticing some dropped calls when you hold it a certain way. Turns out the new antenna design seems to be affected by the user's own hand, which leads to a degraded signal. Apple says this is a software issue, but Consumer Reports claims their extensive testing proves the flaw is hardware-based.

Refine Your Condition-Monitoring To Prevent Recurring Failures

July 13, 2010 7:52 am | by Paul Michalicka, SKF USA Inc. | Articles | Comments

Are your condition monitoring technologies deployed and integrated in the most efficient way? Have they succeeded in improving machine availability and reducing recurring equipment failures? If your answer is not a resounding "yes," then it might be time to review your condition-monitoring strategy.

Eating The Counterfeit Elephant

July 12, 2010 11:06 am | Articles | Comments

While the Internet has definitely made the industry more prolific, counterfeiting has a history that predates the Internet by centuries. There weren’t designer handbags or electronics hundreds of years ago to counterfeit, so people worked with what they had literature, for one, is a good example.

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