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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

The Price Of Carbon: 27c Per Gallon

April 21, 2010 4:21 am | by Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest | Articles | Comments

Perhaps the only thing under heaven that moves slower and more unpredictably than evolution is the evolution of carbon policy. Biofuels investors have long since written off carbon as a factor, saying that the uncertainty of policy has led them to fund only those projects that can survive without a price on carbon.

Energy Harvesting Gets A Boost

April 20, 2010 12:05 pm | by Tony Armstrong, Director of Product Marketing, Power Products, Linear Technology Corporation | Articles | Comments

A wide range of low-power industrial sensors and controllers are turning to alternative sources of energy as the primary or supplemental means of supplying power. Ideally, such harvested energy will eliminate the need for wired power or batteries altogether. Transducers that create electricity from readily available physical sources such as temperature differentials (thermoelectric generators or thermopiles), mechanical vibration (piezoelectric or electromechanical devices), and light (photovoltaic devices) are becoming viable sources of power for many applications.

Getting Everyone On The Same Project Page

April 19, 2010 7:20 am | Articles | Comments

ASML is the world’s leading provider of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, manufacturing complex machines that are critical to the production of integrated circuits or microchips. The company spends an average of €460 million annually on research and development and has more than 3,000 engineers in R&D.

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Tesla Takes On Chevrolet, Nissan

April 19, 2010 6:43 am | Articles | Comments

Tesla is forging ahead with their mass-market electric sedan, the Model S, priced at about $50,000 after rebates. The car, which will be released to the market in 2012, is designed to be attractive enough that consumers will not care what's under the hood, or that it runs on just a hum. But with cheaper alternatives from the likes of Chevrolet and Nissan, the higher sticker price could sway consumers away from the Tesla.

Where No Excavator Has Gone Before

April 19, 2010 6:37 am | Articles | Comments

If you put a man in a big machine, like this excavator, chances are at some point he'll try to do some crazy stunt with it. The people at Liebherr are no different. To prove the strength of their hydraulic system, they put this excavator to the ultimate test: a vertical climb. It's hard to explain here, so direct yourself toward the videos to see for yourself.

GM Embraces Deadly Sin: 'EN-V'

April 16, 2010 11:50 am | Articles | Comments

GM is predicting a revolution in the way urbanites get from one place to another, and it doesn't involve two legs or four wheels. The EN-V concept car proposes to send its drivers about on two wheels, like a Segway, using electric batteries and a bit of technological know-how. While the EN-V doesn't have much to show for range or speed, it could make up for it in convenience and price.

Market Update for April — Regulatory Issues

April 16, 2010 10:09 am | by Karen Langhauser, Editor-In-Chief, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

The large number of recalls in recent history has caused consumers to doubt the safety of our food supply as well as stimulated scrutiny of regulatory agencies in the food industry. While FDA and USDA guidelines, policies and inspections are devised to ensure the safety of our nation's food supply, they still can be a source of frustration and confusion within the food industry, and their efficacy is sometimes called into question.

Avoiding Pink Easter Eggs

April 16, 2010 9:37 am | Articles | Comments

Established in 1978, Kinnerton today is part of Zetar Plc, and can boast a turnover of £60 million ($92 million). At its manufacturing plant in Fakenham, the company produces confectionery ranging from Easter eggs and Advent calendars, through to chocolate bars and chocolate miniature figures, as well as chocolate lollipops.

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Consortium Supports The Rebirth Of Manufacturing Jobs

April 15, 2010 9:45 am | Articles | Comments

Manufacturing, an industry long known as the most vital to the overall economic strength of North America, is faltering. Without the attention it so desperately deserves, it is in grave danger of continual decline. While financial experts claim the economic situation is entering the recovery stage, industries such as manufacturing are still struggling to gain traction.

Ford Pushing Gasoline Vehicles Off The Road

April 15, 2010 4:59 am | Articles | Comments

The Transit Connect Electric is Ford’s first all-electric vehicle, but the company insists its just the first of four new vehicles arriving in the near future that will dart around the city without a single puff of exhaust. The Transit Connect is meant to replace gasoline-driven fleet vehicles with a top speed of 75 mph and a range of 80 miles.

Anti-Bacterial Soaps Kill More Than Bacteria

April 15, 2010 4:52 am | Articles | Comments

It’s a chemical you find in most soaps, anti-bacterial products, and even toothpaste: triclosan. While it’s been given a pass by the FDA as safe for humans, some organizations, such as the National Resource Defense Council, think it’s hazardous. Studies on animals have shown a tendency for triclosan to affect thyroid and sex hormones, which can lead to behavioral changes and learning abnormalities.

A Tribute To LEGO

April 15, 2010 4:50 am | Articles | Comments

I admit — this one is a little out there. But I know many of us grew up with LEGO, and for many, they occupy a special place in our memories. This short film pays tribute to the big — and small — ideas that come from building something with our two hands. Without getting too sappy, all I can say is just watch.

Is China Changing U.S. Business?

April 15, 2010 4:50 am | Articles | Comments

The fish fillet on your dinner plate tonight might have traveled some 14,000 miles before arriving at the supermarket. Hard to believe? With China’s penchant for cheap labor and highly-subsidized industrial segments, it’s cheaper for many seafood companies to send their Alaskan catches there before returning to U.

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Hugo Boss Workers Rally To Save Jobs

April 14, 2010 9:57 am | Articles | Comments

Apri 14, 2010 Actor Danny Glover and hundreds of Hugo Boss workers rallied outside of the German clothing manufacturer’s Brooklyn, Ohio facility Wednesday in an effort to gain support for keeping the plant open. In December, Hugo Boss announced its plans to close the Brooklyn plant and move jobs and manufacturing out of the country.

Toyota's Safety Woes Grow

April 14, 2010 9:26 am | Articles | Comments

Toyota just can’t catch a break. The Lexus GX460 SUV recent received a “Don’t Buy” rating from Consumer Reports due to a quirk in the electronic stability control that allows the car to slide sideways when taking a turn at speed. Toyota has learned it’s lesson, however, and quickly moved to halt sales, provide buyers with loaner cars, and increase internal testing to fix the issue.

Bunnies Die By Incandescence

April 14, 2010 9:25 am | Articles | Comments

We all know that incandescent bulbs are a “thing of the past” with their electricity-hogging ways. But because they’re usually up in our ceilings, we forget about all the heat they produce, too. For 90 minutes, heat is all this unfortunate chocolate bunny can think about. And it should get you thinking about the possibility of LED technology in your plant.

Can The Lithium-Ion Battery Save Detroit?

April 14, 2010 9:20 am | Articles | Comments

A panel of experts on the battery technology discuss the emerging market for electric-powered vehicles on the road. Up until now, American battery manufacturing has been nonexistent, meaning that Asian companies like Sanyo have taken in all the profits. As Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Satki3, says, battery manufacturing is in a “dead sprint” toward stealing back market share, and it’s going to change the landscape of American automaking forever.

Wal-Mart's Green Balancing Act

April 14, 2010 9:04 am | Articles | Comments

Wal-Mart has long been seen as an opponent to organic food and sustainability efforts, but Lee Scott, chairman of the company, disagrees entirely in an interview with John Huey, Editor-In-Chief of Time Inc. Scott says that there is no conflict between sustainability and low cost — as most consumers believe — and goes as far as to say that the two are “totally aligned.

Choosing The Right Inspection System, Screener Or Separator

April 13, 2010 5:30 am | Articles | Comments

Chem.Info  recently spoke with Jeffrey Kaveney, Manager — Product Marketing at Eriez Magnetics, about how chemical, food and pharmaceutical processors can choose the best quality control technology—inspection/vision systems, screeners, separators—for their specific applications.

'Agnes' Transforms Material Handling With Tape

April 12, 2010 8:01 am | Articles | Comments

With more than 500 retail stores in 36 states, Eye Care Centers of America Inc. is the third largest retail optical chain in the U.S.  To meet Eye Care Centers’ need for product, parent company HVHC Inc. has to produce huge quantities of eye glasses in an array of configurations.

Six Ways Outsourced Maintenance Saves

April 12, 2010 7:58 am | by Ron Hoffman, VP/General Manager, MAG Maintenance Technologies | Articles | Comments

With today's limited internal resources, it's tough to transform machine maintenance from reactionary to preventive, and ultimately proactive, despite the obvious upsides in higher overall equipment efficiency (OEE), better process control, and lower total cost. Outsourcing this requirement to a third-party specialist, however, is a cost-effective alternative.

Survive The Economy By Getting Leaner With ERP

April 9, 2010 11:09 am | by Jim Shepard, Sr. VP of AMR Research, for SYSPRO Inc. | Articles | Comments

Under today's conditions of stagnant demand and tight credit, many mid-market manufacturers and distributors face intense competition for dwindling markets and increasing pressure on their bottom line. With recovery still "around the corner" at an uncertain date, how can they continue to survive, let alone thrive? Essentially, the same way they compete in prosperous times — by increasing the efficiency of their planning, administration, production, sales, distribution, service, and other essentials of their particular business.

Time For Action: When Windows Can't Protect You

April 8, 2010 7:01 am | by Torsten Roessel | Articles | Comments

All things come to an end. And so it is with Microsoft Extended Support and Security Updates for Windows 2000, which will cease in July of this year. Any manufacturer with industrial applications based on Windows 2000 may wisely be considering a newer operating system right now, in order to remain in production with the needed security support.

The Color Of Spinach

April 7, 2010 11:08 am | Articles | Comments

Tony Bordieri of State Garden, Inc., a MA-based processor of fresh produce, details how his company was able to preserve customer confidence and limit profit loss during the recent spinach recall. This video is an excerpt of a webcast that discussed maintaining profitability in the event of a recall, and can be downloaded for free at www.

From Segways To Robotic Arms

April 7, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

Dean Kamen, well-known for inventing the Segway, visits Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report to show off the LUKE arm (yes, its named after Luke Skywalker and his unfortunate incident with Darth Vader). The robotic appendage was commissioned by the Department of Defense and DARPA, with the goal of accomplishing a simple mission: to provide amputees with the accuracy and touch sensitivity to pick up something as small as a raisin, or as fragile as a grape.

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