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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Wind Is Cheap, But Costs Far Too Much

May 5, 2010 10:05 am | Articles | Comments

Wind power has a number of great advantages over the likes of coal, but it still hasn't gained a significant foothold in the American energy market. While wind used to provide a pretty dismal ROI, with a number successful of turbine manufacturers ramping up production, that really isn't the case anymore.

BP Not Fazed By Massive Oil Spill

May 5, 2010 9:55 am | Articles | Comments

CNN's John Roberts speaks to Doug Suttles, COO of BP's exploration and production division about the options BP has to stop the 5,000 barrel-per-day leak. There are rumors the well could leak as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day, so what is BP doing to stem the tide? It's called a coffer dam, a massive construction of steel and concrete that will be placed deep in the ocean, right above the leaking well.

Retrofit Helps Pickle Maker Out Of A Jam

May 5, 2010 4:19 am | Articles | Comments

When your mission is to make the world’s freshest pickle, you can’t afford any jams in your cucumber processing line.  A major pickle manufacturer experienced this disruption in production at least two to three times per month because the conveyor that transferred the cucumbers from the water wash tank was prematurely wearing and breaking.

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Keeping It Fresh

April 30, 2010 12:09 pm | Articles | Comments

A leading international wholesale distributor that provides quality products at very competitive prices, Fair Market, Inc. requires extensive storage space to keep its products cold and fresh.  With its corporate headquarters and main warehouse located in Wentzville, MO, Fair Market, Inc.

How to Avoid And Respond To FDA Warning Letters

April 30, 2010 10:29 am | Articles | Comments

No regulated business wants to receive an FDA Warning Letter (or Form-483) of Inspectional Observations. In such controlled industries as food, agriculture and pharmaceutical, receiving a list of deficiencies can feel like a heavy blow to your quality system. Worse, with the 2009 increase in enforcement staff (1) and the September 2009 change to the response time—now 15 days—the FDA appears to be ramping up its enforcement mandate (2).

Hardened Reactive Metals Drive Innovation

April 29, 2010 6:39 am | by Brian P. Hood, Product Manager, Flowserve Flow Control Division | Articles | Comments

Metal-seated ball valves used in highly corrosive or erosive applications must be able to withstand challenging operating environments. Zirconium, titanium, and other reactive/refractory metals are extremely corrosion-resistant and are often used by valve manufacturers to design valves for applications involving sulfuric, hydrochloric, and acetic acids.

Manufacturing An Invisible Car

April 23, 2010 11:40 am | Articles | Comments

Normally we don't like to feature too many advertisements in IMPO 's Thursday video-based newsletters, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves. In this case, Shell wanted a better way to show how oil interacts with a car's engine without using special effects. While a number of ideas were floated around, like x-rays, the team finally settled on recreating a Nissan 370Z in clear plastic.

Cheese Producer Puts Metal Detection To The Test

April 21, 2010 6:02 am | Articles | Comments

Anthony Rowcliffe, a 42 year-old company that has its roots in Peckham, London, has grown over the years and is now operating out of two purpose-built BRC accredited sites at Paddock Wood in Kent, supplying over 1,000 different lines, including its own branded Clemency Hall product.

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Dipping Into The Future Of Food Safety

April 21, 2010 5:18 am | by Krystal Gabert, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Family-owned Country Maid, maker of dips, spreads and salads, has always been devoted to food safety and quality, but its recently installed track-and-trace system puts the facility on the cutting edge of traceability. In 1939 Irene Grebe opened Grebe’s Bakery, selling home-baked goodies from her own kitchen in Milwaukee.

Getting More From Accounting

April 21, 2010 5:03 am | by Jim Mandt, Vice President of Technical Services, Metafile Information Systems, Inc. | Articles | Comments

From invoices to purchase orders and myriad supporting documentation, all manufacturing organizations rely on their accounting departments to keep business moving. After all, a manufacturer’s success and profitability are ultimately defined by their ability to efficiently pay for what’s needed to run their business and, in return, promptly receive payment for goods and services rendered.

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.

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.

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.

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