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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

A Bittersweet Lesson

June 25, 2010 6:55 am | by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) reports that the sugar industry, in particular, has had a long love affair with both combustible dust and lackadaisical housekeeping methods. In fact, this trend dates as far back as 1925. In a 2006 study, the CSB identified 281 combustible dust fires and explosions between 1980 and 2005 that claimed 119 workers’ lives and injured 718.

Climbing Out Of The 'Uncanny Valley'

June 21, 2010 7:59 am | Articles | Comments

Most people think of Honda as an automotive manufacturer, but that would be grossly underestimating the amount of time and money the company has spent in the last few decades on developing Asimo and other robotic technologies. While Honda's main goal is to create a robot that ordinary people would be comfortable using in their homes, their R&D efforts have led to better manufacturing processings and better products as well.

Copiers 'Goldmines' For Identity Thieves

June 18, 2010 11:36 am | Articles | Comments

Every business in the U.S. has at least one copy machine that’s used on an almost-constant basis. The problem is that most Americans, nor the businesses that employ them, are aware the copy machines store every document ever scanned, printed, and faxed on hard drives buried deep within the machinery.

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Pallets Cause Foobourne Illness

June 18, 2010 11:35 am | Articles | Comments

We've all heard about the typical food safety issues, but did you know pallets might be to blame for many of the millions of food-related illnesses in the U.S. every year? The National Consumers League conducted a study, which found that 10 percent of food pallets have E.coli, and 3 percent have the even-deadlier Listeria.

Americans Get Bigger, Coffins Get Wider

June 18, 2010 11:34 am | Articles | Comments

There's no questions Americans are getting wider, and everyone knows we'll all end up in the ground someday. But some Americans are so large they're fueling a niche Indiana business: extra-large caskets. This 5-person operation is positively booming, manufacturing caskets as wide as double beds for people 500-600 pounds.

What Makes A Modular Conveyor

June 18, 2010 7:31 am | Articles | Comments

Type into any Internet search engine the term “modular conveyor” and you will see a long list of manufactures that label their conveyors as modular.  Using a simple definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary for modular, “constructed with standardized units or dimensions for flexibility and variety in use,” it would appear that all conveyors are modular in design.

More Than Hot Air

June 18, 2010 7:30 am | by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Source: CSB We know that the most devastating part about the explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, CT on February 7, 2010 was that it killed six workers and injured 50 others. But what’s the worst part about what caused the explosion? That the process—the practice of using flammable natural gas to clean power plant piping—is a common industry practice amongst gas-fired power generation facilities—even when there are inherently safer technologies readily available today.

Eye And Face Safety Standard Explained

June 17, 2010 10:39 am | Articles | Comments

The Industrial Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), of which MSA is along-standing member, announced on April 13, 2010 that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved a new standard for eye and face protection. The new Z87.1 standard, titled “ANSI/ISEA Z87.

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Reducing VOCs, Helping The Environment

June 17, 2010 7:19 am | Articles | Comments

Many industrial processes use solvent based paint, ink, and coatings in their manufacturing process. When these solvents dry, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted which are damaging to the environment and can be harmful to health. Legislation, such as the Solvent Emission Directive in the EU and Clean Air Act in the USA, means that something must be done to remove or destroy the VOC prior to exhausting any process air to atmosphere.

Want An iPad? Head To China

June 16, 2010 9:28 am | Articles | Comments

While the whole tech world is abuzz over the Apple iPad, one country is notably absent: China. The shiny new gadgets aren't available there yet, but that doesn't mean there isn't a host of copycats and replicas available for the more adventurous consumer, and at a fraction of the cost. In fact, one Chinese businessman claims his manufacturing company was stolen from , by Apple, and he's turning to the law to make his case.

Painting Fighter Jets With Lasers

June 16, 2010 7:39 am | Articles | Comments

This Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II doesn't get your standard paint job, to say the least. It's supposed to be able to fly into enemy airspace without being detected by typical radar systems, which isn't an easy task. The people at Lockheed Martin have developed a whole host of laser systems to precisely paint the technology-heavy planes to make them as stealthy as possible.

Mixing Up Some Chicken Breast Tonight?

June 15, 2010 12:05 pm | Articles | Comments

Scientists at the University of Missouri have accomplished what many thought to be impossible: making fake chicken that tastes and feels like the real deal. It's soy-based, and considered to be the first "meat analogue." While some might consider it a novelty, the scientists involved think it could help the country depend less on expensive and agriculturally-intensive poultry production while continuing to satisfy our love for all things chicken.

Kevin Costner's Oil Spill Solution

June 15, 2010 12:04 pm | Articles | Comments

During the first few weeks of the BP oil spill, Kevin Costner was the butt of a lot of jokes surrounding his so-called fix for the polluted Gulf of Mexico, which revolves around a fairly simple and well-known concept: the centrifuge. Costner says he bought the patent to the device more than a decade ago, and has spent a lot of money in the meantime bringing it to fruition.

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Handling Supply Chain Disruptions

June 14, 2010 9:44 am | by Amanda Earing, News Editor, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

With the recent volcano eruption in Iceland, major manufacturers with global suppliers have had to halt operations as flights were grounded throughout Europe. Earlier this year, an earthquake in Chile ground supply chains in the area, halting major food source supplies.

Gray Markets: Buying Components At Your Own Risk

June 14, 2010 7:25 am | by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D | Articles | Comments

Buying from an authorized distributor is your safest bet, but some companies buy at their own risk when shopping on the gray market.  The best assurance that a manufacturer has to minimize the risk of buying counterfeit components is to buy from an authorized source.

Conveying In Hostile, Dirty Environments

June 11, 2010 7:55 am | Articles | Comments

In developing an automated system to lubricate aluminum parts for hot forging, Mike Will, Operations Engineer for Black Diamond Equipment, envisioned a Z-style conveyor as a central part of that system. Searching for a company that manufactures conveyor systems such as this, Will discovered Dynamic Conveyor Corp.

Harleys Of The World: Want To Race?

June 9, 2010 10:17 am | Articles | Comments

The Triumph is a classic British motorcycle, dating back decades to when they ran neck-and-neck with America's powerhouse: the Harley-Davison. While Triumph is still producing motorcycles across the pond, one company, Falcon Motorcycles, is taking vintage bikes and refurbishing them with a creative twist.

Until You Buy A Real F1 Car

June 9, 2010 6:53 am | Articles | Comments

Want to experience all the neck-breaking forces of an F1 race, without actually getting into a car? Look no further than this simulator, which tilts, dips, and dives to approximate how it feels to hit an apex just right. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

A Train That Never Stops

June 9, 2010 5:58 am | Articles | Comments

A train that never stops? How in the world would you hop aboard? This concept video has (some of) the answers. You might want to turn off the sound, unless you're fluent in Mandarin. It's not going to help you any. The idea is pretty simple: At any station, you get on a "boarding" cart, which is elevated on a second series of tracks.

The Bhopal Disaster, 25 Years Later

June 9, 2010 5:57 am | Articles | Comments

Some criminal liability was finally found in the Bhopal industrial accident of 1984, but that doesn't help heal the lingering wounds — both physical and psychological — that the victims are still feeling. Between the 100,000 people still suffering from chronic illnesses due to explosure, the Bhopal disaster is a painful reminder that industry can have an enormous impact on everyday people.

Hummer Fanatics Mourn Brand's Quiet Demise

June 9, 2010 5:56 am | Articles | Comments

While many are looking forward to Hummer's demise in the near future, a select few customers are "broken-hearted" over losing their favorite brand of mega-SUV. Yes, many consider the Hummer to be the go-to car for the man's man, but if you ask dealers, more women have bought them. To which brand they will move is unknown, but you can guess it's not going to be something environmentally-friendly, like the upcoming Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt.

Farming Fuel, Powering The Grid

June 8, 2010 6:03 am | by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

At one time, Farm Power stored its feedstock in this large tank, but upon discovering that the hay doesn’t degrade much when exposed to the elements, the not-for-profit chose to store it more naturally, on the ground. The antiquated view of the family farm may already be long gone in the minds of many, but Farm Power has managed to plow itself straight from the stigmatized old-fashioned farm into a farm of the future.

Dannon Improves Operations With SAM

June 7, 2010 12:13 pm | Articles | Comments

The Dannon Company, Inc. is America's founding national yogurt company and continually leverages its expertise to develop and market innovative cultured fresh dairy products in the United States. Headquartered in White Plains, NY, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX and West Jordan, UT.

Controlling Fugitive Emissions From Ball Valves

June 7, 2010 6:24 am | by Michael Adkins and Pete Ehlers | Articles | Comments

More and more attention is being focused on fugitive emissions, which are defined as equipment leaks as opposed to point-source emissions from reactor vents or boiler exhaust stacks. United States regulations are honing in on fugitive emissions in regions, such as the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Material Disclosure Best Practices

June 3, 2010 11:54 am | Articles | Comments

Are there toxic chemicals in the charm bracelet I bought for my daughter? Is there lead in this paint? These days, manufacturers and suppliers must disclose materials information to regulatory agencies and, often, to the public. The process is appropriately called material disclosure, and regulatory compliance depends on it.

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