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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Wal-Mart's Green Balancing Act

April 14, 2010 9:04 am | Articles | Comments

Wal-Mart has long been seen as an opponent to organic food and sustainability efforts, but Lee Scott, chairman of the company, disagrees entirely in an interview with John Huey, Editor-In-Chief of Time Inc. Scott says that there is no conflict between sustainability and low cost — as most consumers believe — and goes as far as to say that the two are “totally aligned.

Choosing The Right Inspection System, Screener Or Separator

April 13, 2010 5:30 am | Articles | Comments

Chem.Info  recently spoke with Jeffrey Kaveney, Manager — Product Marketing at Eriez Magnetics, about how chemical, food and pharmaceutical processors can choose the best quality control technology—inspection/vision systems, screeners, separators—for their specific applications.

'Agnes' Transforms Material Handling With Tape

April 12, 2010 8:01 am | Articles | Comments

With more than 500 retail stores in 36 states, Eye Care Centers of America Inc. is the third largest retail optical chain in the U.S.  To meet Eye Care Centers’ need for product, parent company HVHC Inc. has to produce huge quantities of eye glasses in an array of configurations.

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Six Ways Outsourced Maintenance Saves

April 12, 2010 7:58 am | by Ron Hoffman, VP/General Manager, MAG Maintenance Technologies | Articles | Comments

With today's limited internal resources, it's tough to transform machine maintenance from reactionary to preventive, and ultimately proactive, despite the obvious upsides in higher overall equipment efficiency (OEE), better process control, and lower total cost. Outsourcing this requirement to a third-party specialist, however, is a cost-effective alternative.

Survive The Economy By Getting Leaner With ERP

April 9, 2010 11:09 am | by Jim Shepard, Sr. VP of AMR Research, for SYSPRO Inc. | Articles | Comments

Under today's conditions of stagnant demand and tight credit, many mid-market manufacturers and distributors face intense competition for dwindling markets and increasing pressure on their bottom line. With recovery still "around the corner" at an uncertain date, how can they continue to survive, let alone thrive? Essentially, the same way they compete in prosperous times — by increasing the efficiency of their planning, administration, production, sales, distribution, service, and other essentials of their particular business.

Time For Action: When Windows Can't Protect You

April 8, 2010 7:01 am | by Torsten Roessel | Articles | Comments

All things come to an end. And so it is with Microsoft Extended Support and Security Updates for Windows 2000, which will cease in July of this year. Any manufacturer with industrial applications based on Windows 2000 may wisely be considering a newer operating system right now, in order to remain in production with the needed security support.

The Color Of Spinach

April 7, 2010 11:08 am | Articles | Comments

Tony Bordieri of State Garden, Inc., a MA-based processor of fresh produce, details how his company was able to preserve customer confidence and limit profit loss during the recent spinach recall. This video is an excerpt of a webcast that discussed maintaining profitability in the event of a recall, and can be downloaded for free at www.

From Segways To Robotic Arms

April 7, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

Dean Kamen, well-known for inventing the Segway, visits Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report to show off the LUKE arm (yes, its named after Luke Skywalker and his unfortunate incident with Darth Vader). The robotic appendage was commissioned by the Department of Defense and DARPA, with the goal of accomplishing a simple mission: to provide amputees with the accuracy and touch sensitivity to pick up something as small as a raisin, or as fragile as a grape.

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The iPad — Will It Blend?

April 7, 2010 11:06 am | Articles | Comments

A tragedy? For many, absolutely. Amusing? At IMPO , we like to see product destruction in all its forms, whether or not it involves a highly-coveted new gadget. The people at Blendtec certainly seem to share that passion. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

A Meat-Flavored Cocktail

April 7, 2010 10:48 am | Articles | Comments

At the end of a long day at work, sometimes the one thing that hits the spot is a nice drink. Whether it’s a bottle of Bud Light or some expensive scotch, we all have our favorites. Well, have you thought about meat-infused whiskey? One “mixologist” has. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Eliminating Moisture In Electrical Cabinets

April 7, 2010 4:35 am | by David J.Connaughton, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Filtration and Separation Division | Articles | Comments

Moisture in electrical cabinets, control panels and motor compartments can affect plant efficiency and product quality, leading to significant downtime and expensive repairs. This is especially critical in food processing industries, since moisture can lead to mold and/or bacterial growth and create regulatory concerns.

Green Ideas In Motion

April 6, 2010 4:46 am | Articles | Comments

It started as a modest dream among three friends. Recently, the vision became reality with the opening of Green Planet Farms—a $40 million, 195,000 square-foot soy protein isolate (SPI) manufacturing facility in South Sioux City, Neb. As an ingredient manufacturer, Green Planet Farms’ main focus is to serve organic and non-genetically modified protein isolates to food and beverage producers worldwide.

Stretch Wrapping Technology Reduces Line Stoppages

April 2, 2010 9:14 am | Articles | Comments

In 2008, Buffalo Rock Company—a private, family-owned Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes bottler—had the opportunity to test Lantech's patent-pending No Film Break stretch wrapping machine. The company jumped at the offer. "We were already planning to buy an equivalent Lantech rotary-arm machine—without No Film Break—and determined this alpha machine trial was low risk to us, with the manufacturer standing behind it and able to monitor its performance through an on-line connection," says George Garrison, general manager of manufacturing at Buffalo Rock.

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Chocolate Potpourri Finds Sweet Solution

April 1, 2010 10:54 am | Articles | Comments

After experiencing operational inefficiencies, candy store truffle manufacturer Chocolate Potpourri, sought out an affordable ERP solution that offered a single, integrated database providing up-to-the minute, real-time data for manufacturing, distribution and accounting purposes.

Increasing Motor Efficiency With Power Factor Control

April 1, 2010 7:26 am | by Mark Steinmetz, Field Applications Engineer VincoTech GmbH | Articles | Comments

“Global warming, carbon footprint, and energy efficiency” are becoming mantras for the industrial manufacturing sector. With energy costs constantly rising leading to increased overhead costs, the need to use electrical energy in a more efficient manner by reducing the amount is at the fundamental basis of this crisis.

GM Commited To Electric Technology

March 31, 2010 11:18 am | Articles | Comments

CNNMoney reporter Poppy Harlow speaks to Bob Lutz, vice chairman of GM, about the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, and why it's such a revolutionary product for the company. Lutz says the Volt is the car he's most proud of in all his automaking years, considering the brand new and "very expensive" technology that has been mated together within the chassis.

Making A World Cup-Worthy Ball

March 31, 2010 6:56 am | Articles | Comments

Eagerly waiting for the 2010 World Cup to start in June? If you're an American, that's not likely. I suppose we just don‘t understand fútbol as well as the rest of the world. Whether you prefer good ‘ol American football, or the more global version, you can still appreciate the extensive and precise manufacturing process that goes into making official game balls.

Jay Leno's 1909 Electric Car

March 31, 2010 6:55 am | Articles | Comments

The automotive industry is all a-flutter with electric cars, but the technology is nothing new. Jay Leno is the proud owner of a 1909 Baker Electric, a fully-electric car that's was certainly ahead of the game. With a range of almost a hundred miles, the Baker could outlast even some of the modern offerings, albeit at a top speed of 22 miles per hour.

Under Pressure, Kraft Slashes Salt

March 31, 2010 6:54 am | Articles | Comments

Kraft, the nation’s largest food maker, has promised to cut 10 percent of the sodium from its portfolio of foods. A ten percent cut doesn’t seem like a whole lot, until you consider how big a piece of the pie it really is: 10 million pounds. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Kicking The Fossil Fuel Habit

March 31, 2010 6:51 am | Articles | Comments

Tom Rand — the engineer, venture capitalist, and self-appointed “philosopher” — thinks the world has every technology and resource it needs to break the bonds of fossil fuels. Why is that so important? Regardless of your stance on global warming, these green technologies can help any manufacturing facility save money.

Finding Those Golden Production Nuggets

March 30, 2010 9:49 am | by Herb Lichtenberg, Senior VP Practice Director for Production | Articles | Comments

Whistles are blowing, phones are ringing and people are scrambling all over the factory floor. There has just been a major equipment breakdown and it looks like it will take days to fix and get the plant running again. Just think of the lost production, the late orders and the unhappy customers.

Getting Smart About Dust

March 30, 2010 4:12 am | Articles | Comments

Bell, California — Seeing 250,000 pounds of product go to waste each year can bring a tear to any company’s eye. For powdered food processor Allied Blending & Ingredients, Inc., (Keokuk, IA) there was little comfort in knowing that product shrinkage on this order — one percent — is actually the industry norm when handling 25 million pounds of ingredients each year.

The 'Price Is Right' For Economic Recovery

March 26, 2010 10:28 am | by Amanda Earing, News Editor | Articles | Comments

Manufacturing.net sat down with Doug Fuehne, VP, Professional Services of PROS Pricing Software Solutions to talk about how manufacturers can improve their pricing strategies and come out ahead as the economy turns around. To get right to it, the five pricing strategies Fuehne suggests will help you come out ahead in the economic recovery: Identify underperformers.

Wake Up And Smell The SCADA System

March 25, 2010 7:39 am | Articles | Comments

For many years, Lavazza’s primary purpose has been to bring the aroma and quality of Italian espresso coffee to the world. Luigi Lavazza invented the concept of blending coffee from various sources to yield a savory blend in the early 1900s. Since then the company has built up more than a century of experience while pursuing its twin aims of excellence and innovation.

Stay Away From The Toxic Sprite

March 25, 2010 4:47 am | Articles | Comments

Coca-Cola has recently come under fire for an incident in China, where a large batch of Sprite was found to be contaminated with high levels of mercury. After consuming a can of the contaminated product, one man vomited up the small pieces of mercury, and others were hospitalized for poisoning. While some accuse Coca-Cola of bad manufacturing practices, others claim the product was intentionally poisoned to affect Sprite’s reputation.

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