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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Time To 'Think Big'

August 31, 2010 9:00 am | by Joel Hans, Associate Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

The 2010 Energy Intelligence Competitor Breakdown aims to give you a cross-sectional view of what other manufacturers are looking at when trying to make their operations more energy efficient. Readers weighed in on which aspects of their current processes are more inefficient, which they would like to replace in the future, what equipment purchases they have made in the last six months, and their achieved ROI.

Putting Metal Detection To The Test

August 31, 2010 5:49 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. The sites operate five day weeks with a same day delivery policy to a variety of major supermarkets.

Ultrasonic Condition Monitoring: An Application Overview

August 30, 2010 12:28 pm | Articles | Comments

Ultrasound inspection offers a unique position for condition monitoring as both a “stand-alone” inspection technology, and as an effective screening tool that can speed up the inspection process and help inspectors determine effective follow-up actions for mechanical, electrical, and leak applications.

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You Don't Need A New Heat Exchanger

August 30, 2010 7:59 am | Articles | Comments

When a heat exchanger begins to fail or becomes problematic, it may be indicative of various problems ranging from inappropriate mechanical design to unforeseen chemical reactions. Chemical process industry professionals know all to well that damaged or failed heat exchangers can lead to unexpected downtime and corresponding consequences.

More Beans To Count

August 27, 2010 10:39 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

The units above have been added to help Faribault Foods better manager their water and natural gas usage rates. When you look at either the finished product or the actual facility’s exterior, it’s not unlike the canning factory my grandfather worked at over 60 years ago. However, much like the products they process, the most appealing elements of Faribault Foods are found beneath the outer skin and within the distinctive flavors of their processes and approaches.

An ERP Success Story

August 26, 2010 6:59 am | Articles | Comments

A quality enterprise resource planning solution can offer a manufacturer a powerful, end-to-end value-chain solution to manage key infrastructure and support its manufacturing and business needs. Located in Irwin, Pennsylvania, Precision Defense Services (PDS) is a leading manufacturer of high quality precision machined parts for both the military and commercial marketplaces.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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