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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

A Discussion Of HVAC Coil Coatings

March 12, 2010 8:52 am | by Joshua D. Sole, Ph.D., Senior Mechanical Engineer, and Alan H. Brothers, Ph.D., Senior Materials Engineer, Mainstream Engineering Corp. | Articles | Comments

Many HVAC manufacturers and distributors may not realize that hundreds of thousands of coil failures have occurred during the last decade from corrosion. The cause is most typically environmental pollutants, which range anywhere from salt-air, to household cleaning agents, pesticides, formaldehydes, building materials, and even off-gassing of food.

Ten Steps To DIY BPI

March 12, 2010 3:42 am | by Amy Radishofski, Features Editor, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

Companies are always striving to make their businesses leaner and more efficient, so the concept of business process improvement (BPI) is nothing new to them. However, many companies default to a third party to help with the process. “There are several reasons why companies use consultants, usually either because they think BPI is more complicated than it is, they don’t feel that their employees have the required skills to do the work, they feel that they need better facilitation skills to lead the work, or they don’t believe that existing employees will eliminate a step in a process if it negatively affects their job,” said Susan Page, Manager, HRIS for a major entertainment company located in Orlando, FL.

GM Robots Aim For Space

March 10, 2010 11:16 am | Articles | Comments

Continuing their long history of collaboration, NASA and GM partner up once more to design and build the R2, an industrial robot with human-like movements and dexterity. For GM, these robots are great at automating repetitive, dull, or ergonomically-challenging tasks. Whether it’s in manufacturing plants or in space, this new generation of robotics will help free workers up from repetitive manual labor and allow them to do things only humans can do: think.

Is Time Travel Possible?

March 10, 2010 11:13 am | Articles | Comments

TIME ’s resident science comedian Brian Malow asks a simple question: Is time travel really possible? According to Hollywood, it’s already happened, but if you ask world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, the answer is no. A few interesting paradoxes keep the nay-sayers with plenty of evidence, namely that if time travel were possible, we would already have seen travelers from the future.

From Racing To Hybrids

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

To the tune of some—ahem—sexy music, CNN's Jim Boulden takes a look into last week’s Geneva Auto Show, where the biggest automakers in the world unveiled their newest wheels. Between Spyker’s attention to detail, Morgan’s oh-so-British roadsters, and a Ferrari hybrid, this show has something for just about anyone.

Dribbling, Catching, Chopstick-Loving Robots

March 10, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

The Ishikawa Komuro Lab in Japan is developing some robotic “hand” technology that far outpaces its human counterparts. Using high-speed actuators with harmonic drive gears, the hand can open and close in 1/10 of a second. In addition, tactile sensors inside the fingers allow the robotic hand to grasp and handle almost any object with a grace normally reserved for humans.

How Does Your Gearbox Sound?

March 9, 2010 6:21 am | by Todd R. Bobak, Sumitomo Drive Technologies | Articles | Comments

Introduction Sound can be a very subjective thing. What may sound “unusual” to one individual may very well sound “normal” to another. As a method of diagnosing a potential problem with a gearbox or gearmotor, the sound coming from it should not solely be relied upon to determine whether-or-not a problem exists.

Bottler Bets On Stretch Wrapping Technology

March 9, 2010 3:23 am | Articles | Comments

The Lantech No Film Break stretch wrapper in action at Buffalo Rock Company, Birmingham, Alabama. Buffalo Rock Company—a private, family-owned Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes bottler—has the flexibility to make quick decisions, so when given the opportunity to shakedown an alpha model of Lantech's patent-pending No Film Break stretch wrapping machine in 2008, the company took the offer.

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