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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Dear Governor, Can Detroit Survive?

January 27, 2010 8:23 am | Articles | Comments

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm sits down with TIME to answer some reader questions regarding her state, and more specifically, what is going to happen to Detroit in the coming years. One reader asks: “Will Detroit ever really recover, in your honest opinion?” As Gov. Granholm says, Michigan is chock-full of hard workers and intelligent engineers who can do more than just make cars.

Ultrasonic Tank Testing a Resounding Success

January 26, 2010 7:46 am | Articles | Comments

SGS Colombia S.A. was awarded the contract to perform storage tank inspections for the expansion of the Cartagena Refinery. All inspection services were performed in accordance with applicable Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) requirements. The storage of dangerous goods in tanks involves risk to the population, the environment, and the surrounding area, and must therefore be executed safely.

Biofuel 'Pests' Key to Energy Conversion & Storage

January 25, 2010 8:06 am | Articles | Comments

In South Dakota,  news that researchers have discovered that an obscure but fast-growing moth species  has a potentially destructive appetite for switchgrass, raises a question. Is the appearance of this destructive pest good news or bad news? Generally,  pests and invasive species are considered very, very bad news .

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Automated Manufacturing System Quadruples Production

January 25, 2010 8:05 am | Articles | Comments

Research Products Company, headquartered in Salina, Kansas, manufactures food additives for the baking and grain milling industries. Products include flour bleaching and maturing services, vitamin and mineral premixes, and others that help the company’s customers create nutritious food for their consumers.

How To Move A Super Duty

January 20, 2010 4:37 am | Articles | Comments

Have you ever needed to move your huge truck around the garage, but couldn’t do it yourself? Maybe your two small daughters are there to help out. Well, with the AeroGo Air Casters, your kids can put themselves to good use, moving that couple thousand pound Super Duty around like it’s a hockey puck.

The Irradiated Truth

January 20, 2010 4:36 am | Articles | Comments

When people hear their food is often “irradiated,” they think of nuclear fallout, or something equally unappetizing. The debate over the mertis of irradiation, including its safety, has raged on for years. Listen to one side of the story, from Sadex Corporation, out of Sioux City, Iowa.

Sheep + LEDs = Art?

January 20, 2010 4:36 am | Articles | Comments

The Mythbusters aren’t the only ones who can recreate the “Mona Lisa” with unconventional means. A group of shepherds from Wales got together (with a little help from Samsung… shh!) to outfit their herd with coats of LED lights, and set them loose, relatively speaking, at nightfall.

Extreme Maintenance: Methane Reactor Repair

January 20, 2010 4:35 am | Articles | Comments

Doing maintenance work on a methane tank is no simple task. Add to that a wet suit, some oxygen tanks, and a disturbing, 35°C sludge. If there was ever a video on why not to become a commercial diver, this is it. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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The 80 Millisecond Mona Lisa

January 20, 2010 4:35 am | Articles | Comments

Adam and Jamie (of Mythbusters fame) were asked by Nvidia, manufacturer of graphics processing units (GPUs), to build a machine that demonstrates the power of parallel processing found in their chips. To prove this power, they built the Leonardo 2.0 the only way the Mythbusters know—far, far over the top—and sought to remake the “Mona Lisa” with modern technology.

Benefits Of Real-Time Traceability, Cradle-To-Grave

January 18, 2010 6:27 am | by Linda Bryan, CEO, Tamlin Software | Articles | Comments

Manufacturing companies are increasingly under more pressure to be compliant. Whether mandated by the government, customers, third-party auditors or quality standards such as ISO, companies must prove their ability to track and trace inventory, goods and other items in order to remain compliant and competitive in the local and global marketplace.

A New Era of Loading Dock Safety

January 18, 2010 6:20 am | by Michael Brittingham, manager, 4Front Engineered Solutions | Articles | Comments

For years the focus on the loading dock has been on two issues — stopping energy loss and dock accident protection. With rising concerns about product quality, processing plant management has a new question to ask — how well does the dock protect against the invasion of airborne contaminants? According to Bruce Paulson with Evapco, Inc.

Automation As An Investment

January 15, 2010 7:30 am | by Paul J. Galeski, Maverick Technologies | Articles | Comments

As every business executive knows all too well, high-return, low-risk investments are hard — if not impossible — to find these days. The economy continues to look uncertain at best, with the stock market having reached its lowest level in many years and numerous companies declaring bankruptcy, including American icons like General Motors and Chrysler.

The Benefits of Deploying AC Drives

January 15, 2010 7:06 am | by Jacob Kimball, AC Drives Product Specialist, Schneider Electric | Articles | Comments

Variable speed AC drives are crucial in food and beverage manufacturing to improve energy efficiency, but that's just the beginning. For example, predictive downtime capabilities built into an AC drive reduce process downtime potential. This benefit can help avoid missed deadlines and product spoilage, while increasing cost savings.

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Wireless Marches On...

January 15, 2010 7:06 am | by Bob Karschnia, Vice President of Wireless, Emerson Process Management | Articles | Comments

The use of wireless technology to reduce engineering and construction costs while increasing productivity is being realized by more and more chemical companies. In that vein, Emerson has added a number of new products and solutions, including full redundancy, which enables further wireless adoption for control and critical monitoring applications.

X-Rays And Precision Scales Enhancing Reliability

January 14, 2010 6:59 am | Articles | Comments

Contract Pharmacal Corporation (CPC) develops, manufactures, and packages premium pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements for some very prominent brand owners. To assure the highest product quality, CPC recently installed five SmartChek x-ray inspection systems from Mettler-Toledo Safeline and seven XE2 checkweighers from Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed on their packaging lines.

Trash Talking The Markets

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

Peter Schiff, author of Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse , speaks with Justin Fox from TIME about how he, more or less, predicted the recession in which we're currently suffering, and got mocked for it. His book, published in February of 2007, scored him interviews on high-profile financial talkshows on CNBC and Fox, where he was mocked and dismissed by other commentators as being pessimistic and a bit crazy.

Ford CEO: How To Save Detroit

January 13, 2010 8:50 am | Articles | Comments

While the North American International Auto Show is being held in Detroit, the city has seen better days. Even though the Big 3 automakers are looking to make a large comeback this year, despite the poor economy, Detroit still suffers in the aftermath of their near-collapse. Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who has helped push his company through the dismal 2009 automotive year, offers some advice on how to revive Detroit.

Detroit Auto Show: Green Everything

January 13, 2010 6:33 am | Articles | Comments

CNN had the chance to visit the North American International Auto Show this week, where "green" has consistently been the biggest buzzword. From smaller cars, to hybrids and all-electric vehicles, fuel-efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices are No. 1 in Detroit. Also significant is interim CEO of GM Ed Whitacre's statement on the future of his company: he is sure they will be able to pay back the government loans, and they have no more plant closures on the docket.

Welding Ranks Among 'Worst Jobs'

January 13, 2010 6:31 am | Articles | Comments

CNN lists the 10 best and worst jobs for Americans in 2009, with actuaries and historians ranking highly for competitive salaries and normal business hours. Among the worst? Pretty much anything manufacturing, which is a shame. According to CNN , welding is among the worst possible jobs an American can have.

The Finger-Safe Table Saw

January 13, 2010 6:25 am | Articles | Comments

Table saws are responsible for countless workplace incidents every year, whether it comes down to carelessness, lack of training, or just plain bad luck. But some new technology is hoping to change that, and there's potential for these ideas to be migrated over to other heavy, dangerous machinery, such as those you see every day on the plant floor.

Quality Assurance On A Massive Scale

January 11, 2010 9:40 am | Articles | Comments

In the fast-growing market for wind power systems, quality assurance according to international industrial standards has become an important issue. Wind power plants are no longer a niche playground for environmental proponents, but a serious business where cost efficiency, life cycle costs, reliability, and availability of the components must be considered.

Indiana's Electric Car Comeback

January 7, 2010 4:06 am | Articles | Comments

Th!ink has just opened its first North American manufacturing plant, where they will employ 400 to build the Think City, an electric car with a top speed of 70mph and a range of roughly 100 miles. While the company has found success in Europe, they didn't believe the technology was mature enough for the U.

Also Obsolete: Your Boring 2D Television

January 7, 2010 3:51 am | Articles | Comments

If you're like me, you just bought a brand new HDTV. They're great. Well, like the gadgets in the above video, you'll be sad to know that your recent purchase is now "obsolete." If TV manufacturers have anything to do with it, 3D telveisions will be the next big thing. With blockbuster films like "Avatar" showcasing how 3D technology has advanced since the dizzying blue-and-red goggles of the past, it seems as though 3D HDTVs will soon be taking over the world of home entertainment.

Unemployment: How Much Longer?

January 6, 2010 8:39 am | Articles | Comments

We all know unemployment rates are through the roof. But how much longer is this streak of joblessness going to last? Bob Parker, vice chairman of Credit Suisse Asset Management, discusses some of the specifics regarding how the U.S. (and Europe) will recover from this downturn. His main contention? While 2010 will see a decline in unemployment rates, they will be slow to fall, and we may not see rates drop below 9 percent until next year.

From Eggs To Needles: Swine Flu

January 6, 2010 8:38 am | Articles | Comments

The swine flu scare in the U.S. is, unlike some technology, something that won’t become obsolete in the new year. In fact, drug manufacturers are working harder than ever to meet the incredible demand for the influenza vaccine. So before you go get poked with a needle carrying a dose of the influenza antigens, maybe you’d like to see how the vaccine is made.

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