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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

RIP, Cassette Walkman?

October 27, 2010 11:46 am | Videos | Comments

RIP, cassette Walkman. Anyone who was alive in the ’80s or ’90s fondly remembers the Sony Walkman, once the world’s smallest cassette player. Of course, the march of technology makes all things obsolete, this gadget included. Sony has recently announced they will discontinue selling the product in most markets.

100 Miles On One Gallon Of Gas

October 27, 2010 11:23 am | Videos | Comments

What’s 830 pounds, can be moved using only one human thumb, and can travel 100 miles using just one gallon of gas? Apparently, the car featured in this video. The Edison 2 is this year’s winner of the Automotive X Prize competition. It’s certainly not a luxury automobile an executive would buy to impress his or her friends and colleagues, but it's a pretty impressive (and efficient) vehicle in its own right.

Richard Branson: 'This Is History'

October 27, 2010 11:15 am | Videos | Comments

Richard Branson, billionaire and adventurous entrepreneur, recently unveiled the runway at what will someday be the world’s first commercial spaceport. While the actual craft that will take aspiring "astronauts" into space isn't quite ready yet, those who have already booked their six-figure ticket are eager to get into the air (and beyond it) some 12 to 18 months from now.

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Are Mushrooms The New Plastic?

October 27, 2010 10:58 am | Videos | Comments

Styrofoam is well-known as an environmental disaster, considering that it can stick around for centuries after we throw it out. The problem is, it's relatively cheap to make compared to the alternatives, and it uses easily-procured petroleum. Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material.

Manufacturers Worried About Absenteeism During Flu Season

October 25, 2010 11:10 am | Articles | Comments

New Survey Finds Support for Hand Hygiene Education & Preventive Measures On the heels of last year’s H1N1 scare, manufacturers are taking a closer look at how to avoid wide-spread workplace absenteeism and productivity declines if faced with another flu pandemic. According to a recent survey conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, 87 percent of manufacturing industry professionals polled said they are concerned about declines in productivity at their workplace due to absenteeism or presenteeism related to a flu pandemic.

The Challenges Of Viscous Fluids

October 25, 2010 6:50 am | Articles | Comments

Measuring flow in fluids with viscosities of more than 100 centipoise (cP) requires special consideration by those responsible for operating and maintaining the equipment. In addition to heavy crude, other challenging high-viscosity products include: heavy fuel and lubricating oils, bunker fuels and grease components.

HACCP In The Food Industry

October 22, 2010 12:06 pm | by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is quickly becoming one of the most important issues in the food industry.  Food Manufacturing  spoke with Mike Gay of Rockwell Automation to discuss the latest HACCP technology and trends and how food manufacturers can utilize these tools to improve efficiency, increase cost savings and strengthen product quality control.

ERP: Your Strategic Weapon

October 22, 2010 6:41 am | by Cindy Jutras, Vice-President, Research Fellow & Group Director, Aberdeen Group | Articles | Comments

ERP provides a necessary infrastructure that forms the transactional system of record upon which a business is based, it serves as a source of cost savings and operational improvements, and it streamlines and accelerates business processes. As optimism increases for a worldwide economic recovery, small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) once again look forward to revenue growth.

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New Motivations For Plant Modernization

October 22, 2010 5:03 am | by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor , Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Pictured is the integrated Bayer site in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. In the foreground is the state-of-the-art methylene diphenyl diisocyanate plant. On September 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The 101-page legislation contains a number of provisions designed to free up credit for small businesses and provide incentives for small business job creation.

Pumping Up The Bottom Line

October 21, 2010 12:26 pm | Articles | Comments

For the management of a fiberglass and steel door manufacturer, taking their traditional East Coast manufacturing facility through a three-year Lean manufacturing process in order to re-engineer and improve their practices and workflow turned out to be a profit making investment. In fact, it actually led to additional and more creative income streams.

An Introduction To Vibration

October 21, 2010 12:19 pm | by Eric Hudson, Fluke Corporation | Articles | Comments

Most industrial devices are engineered to operate smoothly and AVOID vibration, not produce it. In these machines, vibration can indicate problems or deterioration in the equipment. If the underlying causes are not corrected, the unwanted vibration itself can cause additional damage. In this article, we are focused not on machines that are “supposed” to vibrate as part of normal operation, but on those that should not vibrate: electric motors, rotary pumps and compressors, and fans and blowers.

'Dean of Invention' Looks at Life-Changing Science

October 21, 2010 9:23 am | Articles | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Dean Kamen was game to do a weekly TV show about science. Under two conditions, that is: First, he wanted to keep the focus squarely on science — especially its thrilling possibilities for youngsters who dive in. Second, Kamen, a world-renowned inventor (maybe you've heard of his Segway human transporter), didn't feel like reinventing himself as a TV personality.

Why Isn't China Exporting Tech Materials? 

October 21, 2010 4:36 am | Videos | Comments

China supplies approximately 90 percent of the rare earth materials to the rest of the world for use in the manufacturing of tech goods, among other uses. Needless to say, the recent news about China holding back exports of these important materials to countries such as Japan is rather disconcerting.

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Controlling Gadgets On Your Sleeve

October 21, 2010 4:35 am | Videos | Comments

A researcher from Georgia Tech visited CNN to show off some of their newest innovations in the way we control all of our electronic gadgetry: conductive fibers embroidered right onto the sleeve of a jacket or shirt. The wires can then be run right through the fabric to whatever gadget might be in your pocket at the time, allowing you to answer your phone with the swipe of the sleeve.

Sticking Your Hand In The Large Hadron Collider

October 15, 2010 5:34 am | Videos | Comments

Sixty Symbols asks the world's best physicists a relatively simple question: What would happen to your hand if you stuck it inside the Large Hadron Collider? A small sampling of possible answers: "Not a good idea." "I don't think you'd feel very much." "These protons have an energy .

Get Your Ducks In A Row

October 15, 2010 5:28 am | Articles | Comments

Migrating the combined entities onto the same enterprise application is considered a best practice for bringing together merged entities into a single business unit. After a merger or acquisition, migrating the combined entities onto a common enterprise application is considered a best practice for uniting merged entities into a single business unit.

American Companies Don't Innovate

October 14, 2010 10:14 am | Videos | Comments

A lack of innovation on the part of American companies is one of the biggest reasons behind the economy's struggles, or so argues Michael Mandel, the former chief economist at Business Week. And according to a National Science Foundation study, a mere 9 percent of American companies are committed to "innovating.

The Price Was Right

October 14, 2010 7:49 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

Food Manufacturing 's inaugural Smart Sourcing Award winners showcase overwhelming returns on their equipment investments.  Regardless of their background or area of expertise, every Food Manufacturing reader struggles with how to stretch limited purchasing budgets in keeping their operations moving as efficiently and profitably as possible.

Is It Time To Upgrade?

October 13, 2010 7:48 am | Articles | Comments

When manufacturers see their operations grow in size and complexity, they should consider system solutions or upgrades that offer more adequate and extensive capabilities. Cedarlane Natural Foods offers an easy solution for home-cooked wholesome meals with a wide variety of all-natural frozen foods.

eLEGS Give Paralyzed New Hope

October 13, 2010 6:58 am | Videos | Comments

Just last week, Berkely Bionics unveiled eLEGS, which they describe as "an exoskeleton for wheel-chair users who are committed to living life to its fullest." The bionic legs will hopefully allow paraplegics to be mobile even after their accident. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Will Kit Kat Take A Break After 75 Years?

October 13, 2010 6:56 am | Videos | Comments

Kit Kat turns 75 this year, so CNN 's Ayesha Durgahee visited a factory in York, England to learn about their secret to success even after three-fourths of a century. The bars you buy today are the same Rowntree recipe that was used decades ago, so no flavor has been lost over the years. As an added bonus, chocolate appears to be relatively recession-proof — despite increases in the price of cocoa, consumers are almost always willing to maintain their chocolate habit even as pursestrings tighten.

Crews Work To Remove Toxic Sludge

October 13, 2010 6:55 am | Videos | Comments

Workers are trying to turn the chemical tide to stanch the flow of toxic sludge in the rivers flowing toward the Danube River. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department. Have any comments or questions about our Thursday video editions of IMPO Insider? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in one of our deployments? Email me at Joel.

The Ship That Flips

October 13, 2010 6:55 am | Videos | Comments

The FLIP (FLoating Instrument Platform) is a one-of-a-kind vessel: by filling ballasts in its long, horizontal construction, it can actually rotate itself into a vertical position. By bobbing in the water, the craft is much less susceptible to waves, which aids in properly utilizing the detailed instrumentation onboard.

Minisplit Installation Accessory Checklist

October 12, 2010 6:00 am | by Lou Laroche, National Sales Manager, Airtec Products | Articles | Comments

Minisplit air conditioners are similar to central air conditioning or commercial split systems in that they all have an evaporator and condenser.  However, minisplits require far different support accessories for efficient, aesthetic and code-compliant installations. Therefore, a contractor should refer to a minisplit checklist of accessories before leaving the wholesaler.

Spuds With All The Right Moves

October 11, 2010 6:29 am | by Hapman Engineering | Articles | Comments

Known as the pioneer that perfected potato dehydration, Basic American Foods is the foodservice source for unique, convenient potato and bean products. From the restaurant operator to the household consumer, Basic American Foods provides a variety of innovative products.  In the mid-fifties, Basic American Foods established a potato processing plant in Blackfoot, Idaho, where the first instant potato product that could be rehydrated with boiling water was developed.

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