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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Foxconn's Ineffective 'Morale Rallies'

August 25, 2010 8:30 am | Articles | Comments

Last week, Foxconn held a morale-boosting parade in order to stem the wave of suicides that have marred the company’s reputation. While workers certainly couldn’t complain about a little R&R, they were still skeptical of the rally’s effectiveness in making workers happier. One woman says the theatrics are worthless, and that Foxconn needs to start treating its workers like human beings instead.

China's Straddling Buses

August 25, 2010 6:04 am | Articles | Comments

China is well-known for its massive industrial surge, but their clogged infrastructure is starting to become a major issue, if that 10-day traffic jam is any indication. So what's their solution? A little something called “straddling buses.” These buses travel on two parallel sets of tracks, with one major difference: there is space beneath for cars to pass through, allowing for more traffic and less congestion.

A Pickup That Runs On Human... Waste

August 25, 2010 5:44 am | Articles | Comments

Automotive innovation is what originally put Flint, Michigan on the map, and this pickup is no different. The “brown” technology is being developed for potential use among all Flint municipal vehicles, which are in the process of being converted to natural gas. For all intents and purposes, the car is more or less unchanged, save for an extra fuel tank.

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High Schoolers Make A Better Car

August 25, 2010 5:39 am | Articles | Comments

Think high school students can't make anything worthwhile? While these students based their vehicle off the used frame from an Indy car, the drivetrain technology is all their own. Accoring to those involved, the car is capable of achieving the equivalent of 450mpg. Better yet? Programs like these are what inspire young Americans to take engineering and manufacturing as serious career choices.

Beat Outsourcing's Unwanted Byproducts 

August 23, 2010 8:43 am | by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor, Industrial Distribution | Articles | Comments

Logistical challenges and inefficiencies are often unwanted byproducts of a globalized industrial distribution enterprise. AquaPhoenix, a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of water treatment chemicals, was a company whose global presence and reliance on outsourcing necessitated a reorganization of its international supply chain.

Exports Go Green

August 23, 2010 5:33 am | by Amanda Earing, Manufacturing.Net | Articles | Comments

Between the U.S. Recovery Act, which included funding to stimulate training for high, tech, green manufacturing jobs and the National Export Initiative, the U.S. government has a strong interest in companies looking to export clean technology products to India and China. Manufacturing.net sat down with Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General for the U.

Drill Adaptors Make Operations Smoother

August 20, 2010 7:37 am | Articles | Comments

Rangers Die Casting Company, based in Southern California, is a major  producer of high quality “no porosity” aluminum die cast parts. They use over 30 DUMORE drill units at the facility for secondary operations, and rely on a hydraulic check system to control the feed rate of each drill.

Automation Saves A Watch Maker Time

August 19, 2010 7:50 am | Articles | Comments

Titan Industries is the world's fifth largest and India's leading manufacturer of watches. Corporately based in Tamil Nadu, India, the company has manufactured more than a 100 million watches to date and has a customer base of over 80 million. The umbrella brand Titan is one of India's leading watch brands that brought about a paradigm shift in the Indian watch market, offering quartz technology with international styling.

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The Massive Scale Of Chinese Manufacturing

August 18, 2010 10:27 am | Articles | Comments

The following video is a single shot from the documentary Manufactured Landscapes , which tries to examine the ways that manufacturing, especially its dirtier practices, have affected our environment. This shot attempts to showcase not only the size, but also the repetitive nature, of China's manufacturing base.

Robotic Snakes Ready To Invade

August 18, 2010 10:26 am | Articles | Comments

In mankind's efforts to make a robot for every animal, the snake has not gone unnoticed. Japanese researchers have created a new robot that can slither around on the ground almost like the real thing, thanks to motors in each section of the body that are in constant communication and collaboration. Even better, the robot can get tossed into a pool and gets around just as well.

As No. 2, China Looms Large

August 18, 2010 10:13 am | Articles | Comments

China has recently overtaken Japan as the world's No. 2 economy, leaving many worried here in the U.S. about what the future holds. Based on the trend of outsourcing the last few decades, it stands to reason that China is aiming for America's top spot, which could open up even more floodgates for jobs to escape overseas.

The New 'Blue Collar'

August 18, 2010 10:12 am | Articles | Comments

The roles of programmer, machinist, and quality control engineer are rolled into one at this new-age manufacturing plant. 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.

Supplying Faster Production And Flexibility

August 13, 2010 9:34 am | Articles | Comments

Imagine you’ve just started production in your newly remodeled assembly plant, and news comes that production of the existing models will be cut 30 percent and another completely different variant will need to be accommodated. Scenarios like this are a nightmare for the facilitation of lean principals, but a common occurrence in the automotive industry.

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Crane Operators Make The Grade With Training

August 12, 2010 6:38 am | Articles | Comments

Employee training has a bottom-line impact on ROI, according to Jim Lang, General Manager of the Konecranes Training Institute, a full-service training organization designed to help companies be more productive with their material handling. Investments in training can bring workforces to a higher level of proficiency, helping companies increase ROI over the entire lifecycle of their operations.

The Death Of The Middle Class

August 11, 2010 7:00 am | Articles | Comments

Everyone, regardless of their political inclinations, is clamoring about the death of the middle class, and that can be tied directly to the loss of American manufacturing jobs. Thom Hartmann, radio host and author, joins MSNBC to talk about why all these jobs have disappeared. According to Hartmann, our "laissez faire" trade policy has just served to create a situation where "trade" equates to "outsourcing.

Bat-Like Robot Clings, Climbs Walls

August 11, 2010 6:36 am | Articles | Comments

This wall-climbing robot uses a pendulum to generate the energy required to scale walls, and has potential applications along soldiers overseas if it can overcome its one downside: As of now, it can only climb carpeted walls. One probably doesn't see many of those in the likes of Afghanistan. Visit msnbc.

Bionic Legs Help The Paralyzed Walk

August 11, 2010 6:35 am | Articles | Comments

Richard Little and Robert Irving, co-founders of Rex Bionics, explain the development of electromechanical bionic legs. They are available for people that are able to use an electric wheelchair, and will hopefully be available in the United States next year. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Buy The Better Safety Glasses

August 11, 2010 6:34 am | Articles | Comments

In this homemade safety video, a slingshot enthusiast tests the damage that could be done to one's eye if they aren't careful around projectiles. He tests cheap sunglasses and your typical safety glasses, but the results point to only one conclusion: If someone is pointing a high-powered slingshot in your direction, you might want to reach for the more expensive eye protection.

The Best Ways To Convey With Metal Detection

August 9, 2010 6:11 am | by AJ Naber, Senior Design Engineer - Dorner Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

An essential part of any inspection process is the ability to quickly and effectively remove questionable product from the process flow. And a key component of that inspection process is metal detection. Once contaminated product has been detected there are many methods of product removal from a simple stop-on-detect mechanism to a more complex system such as a retractable tail.

Bagel Bakery Goes HI-SPEED

August 4, 2010 9:44 am | Articles | Comments

When a 30-year-old, U.S.D.A.-certified bakery wanted to increase production and improve quality and process control, Mettler-Toledo HI-SPEED developed an innovative solution for the Pacific Northwest business. The commercial bakery business can be tough, so keeping production and quality control up is the only way to stay competitive.

'Back To The Future' On Trash-To-Fuel

August 4, 2010 7:25 am | Articles | Comments

Remember that scene from Back to the Future , where Doc throws a bunch of trash into the Delorean for fuel? More and more entrepreneurs are stepping up with companies willing to do just that. Actually, the technology has been around for a while, but the market has only very recently become viable. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

X-Prize Proves Our Cars Are Inefficient, Slow

August 4, 2010 7:24 am | Articles | Comments

Automakers are constantly bragging about their fuel-efficient cars, but if you ask the engineers involved in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, the world's automakers are just saving face and pushing false marketing. The prize, which carries a purse of $10 million, is searching for cars that get more than 100mpg and are economically viable for mass production .

"Rural Sourcing": Big Idea, Small Towns

August 4, 2010 7:21 am | Articles | Comments

“Rural sourcing” is becoming a very real phenomenon for manufacturers, and it’s something every company should think about. Rural Sourcing Inc. CEO, Montey Hamilton, recently appeared on CNBC to discuss what rural sourcing actually is, and why it’s the best choice for American manufacturers.

The Bionic Cat

August 4, 2010 7:17 am | Articles | Comments

Every once in a while, we hear about the revolutionary surgery doctors are performing on people who lose their limbs in an accident. From blade-shaped carbon fiber legs, to prosthetic arms that can respond to signals from the brain, 21st century medicine is proving to be all about bionics. So what happens when a cat gets his hind legs severed by a combine harvester? A veterinarian takes a big risk to develop two bionic legs that allow the little guy to live out the rest of his days like any other cat.

Choosing The Right Lift Truck

August 4, 2010 4:46 am | by Susan Comfort, Manager, Class II Narrow Aisle Truck Product and Joe LaFergola, Manager, Business and Information Solutions - The Raymond Corproation | Articles | Comments

Increasing efficiencies and reducing costs in a manufacturing facility can be a challenging task, especially considering all the factors that contribute to expenses. However, taking a close look at a facility’s lift truck fleet to ensure each truck is being used for the right application is an astute way to help manage costs.

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