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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Dribbling, Catching, Chopstick-Loving Robots

March 10, 2010 11:07 am | Articles | Comments

The Ishikawa Komuro Lab in Japan is developing some robotic “hand” technology that far outpaces its human counterparts. Using high-speed actuators with harmonic drive gears, the hand can open and close in 1/10 of a second. In addition, tactile sensors inside the fingers allow the robotic hand to grasp and handle almost any object with a grace normally reserved for humans.

How Does Your Gearbox Sound?

March 9, 2010 6:21 am | by Todd R. Bobak, Sumitomo Drive Technologies | Articles | Comments

Introduction Sound can be a very subjective thing. What may sound “unusual” to one individual may very well sound “normal” to another. As a method of diagnosing a potential problem with a gearbox or gearmotor, the sound coming from it should not solely be relied upon to determine whether-or-not a problem exists.

Bottler Bets On Stretch Wrapping Technology

March 9, 2010 3:23 am | Articles | Comments

The Lantech No Film Break stretch wrapper in action at Buffalo Rock Company, Birmingham, Alabama. Buffalo Rock Company—a private, family-owned Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes bottler—has the flexibility to make quick decisions, so when given the opportunity to shakedown an alpha model of Lantech's patent-pending No Film Break stretch wrapping machine in 2008, the company took the offer.

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Turning Trash Into Cash

March 5, 2010 6:15 am | Articles | Comments

The holiday season always proves to be a busy time for retailers and wholesalers alike. Alexandra Foods Co., makers of the finest pierogies and Polish dumplings in the Chicago area are no different. The year-end rush for their products places an undue burden on their factory, which is unable to keep up with the amount of cardboard and plastic shipping and packing materials.

Tweeting For Popcorn

March 3, 2010 10:36 am | Articles | Comments

Every once in a blue moon, someone comes up with a machine that’s utterly… worthless. Well, worthless but cool. A couple of guys hooked a hopper filled with popcorn to an Archimedes’s screw that only turns when someone uses the #popcorn hashtag on our favorite social media website, Twitter.

Aww, Shucks!

March 3, 2010 10:35 am | Articles | Comments

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame meets up with some oyster shuckers to learn the ins-and-outs of a dirty business. If you thought your job was tough, just think about shelling out thousands of oysters a day for $0.50 a pound. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

The Shredder's Endless Appetite

March 3, 2010 10:27 am | Articles | Comments

SSI has built one of the world’s toughest shredders, capable of handling almost anything they toss into its ever-hungry jaws. In this video, the Monster takes on everything from George Foreman grills to football helmets. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Are Sodas The New Cigarettes?

March 3, 2010 10:25 am | Articles | Comments

After the death of the federal bill imposing additional taxes on sweetened beverages, California state senate majority leader Dean Flores discusses the possibility of imposing the tax on the state level. What do you all think? Should consumers be penalized for consuming soda (as they are with cigarettes), or does this all come down to personal freedom and responsibility? Visit msnbc.

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Big Bonuses Don't Equal Big Results

March 3, 2010 10:13 am | Articles | Comments

Daniel Pink, former speechwriter for Al Gore, makes a “case” for a revolution in the way Americans do business: our old ideas of big rewards for big success are blatantly false. Pink points to a number of studies that have demonstrated how people engaged in creative work perform better without the added stress of meeting specific, performance-based rewards.

Preemptive Disaster Planning

March 2, 2010 8:19 am | by Allen Melton and Jason Trahan | Articles | Comments

How would your company respond if your manufacturing plant were flooded? Or hit by a tornado? Or damaged by fire? Your likely response would be to discuss your company's business continuity plan (BCP) for these events … but what about the financial recovery? Many large food manufacturers have business continuity plans that detail procedures for ensuring employee safety, salvaging supplies and inventory and restoring operations should disaster strike.

Energy Meets Quality

March 1, 2010 11:23 am | Articles | Comments

Prestress of the glass panes requires extremely careful handling and a high level of precision in the transfer system. Stops with air nozzles installed on the belt sections and lift transverse units briefly raise the film on the top of the glass, making it possible to reliably and precisely position the fragile panes at any time.

The Private Brand Revolution

February 25, 2010 11:20 am | by George Young, Founding Partner, Kalypso | Articles | Comments

It’s no secret: the buzz surrounding the trajectory of private, or own, brands has reached a fever pitch. With the growth rate outpacing national brands year over year, the private brand revolution is not only changing how consumers shop, but how retailers stock their shelves.

Honda: The Land Of Automation

February 25, 2010 3:59 am | Articles | Comments

Honda’s manufacturing plants have largely moved to automation as a means of performing repetitive or labor-intensive tasks, such as welding and metalworking. And while we all know that robotics are slowly gaining hold in manufacturing plants worldwide, it’s sometimes hard to understand the scope until you actually see it.

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It's 2010. Where's My Fuel Cell?

February 25, 2010 3:56 am | Articles | Comments

Fuel cells have been the poster child of the "green revolution" for years, with supporters claiming that America could completely eliminate their dependence of foreign oil if automakers and consumers could work together to get the technology on the road in the foreseeable future. Truly, fuel cells are a remarkable breakthrough, but their major fault isn't the technology itself, but rather infrastructure.

Vinyl Is Not Dead

February 25, 2010 3:42 am | Articles | Comments

Once again, we dive into the world of vinyl manufacturing, this time at Stoughton Printing & RTI, based out of California, as they press copies of Weezer’s (Red) Album . Who knew that vinyl manufacturing could be as pleasing to the eyes as vinyl itself is to the ears? Weezer Vinyl Manufacturing from Roberto Lepe on Vimeo .

From Legos To Audis

February 25, 2010 3:35 am | Articles | Comments

Audi's plant in Brussels was recently charged with the responsibility of building their new A1 vehicle, no meager task considering the €285 million ($384 million) the automaker has invested in the facility. So, how do Audi's workers prepare for the new class of car? Why, they start small, of course.

How Safe Is Your Toyota? Pretty Darn Safe

February 25, 2010 3:31 am | Articles | Comments

Seems like everyone in America is clamoring to put Toyota out to pasture in light of their recent recalls. CNN digs through NHTSA records to find out not only how many complaints all automakers have recieved of unintended acceleration, but also how Toyota and it's competitors rank in overall safety complains.

Ace Makes The Grade

February 22, 2010 9:53 am | by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Ace Hardware Corp. manufactures only one product that bears its name brand amongst all of the do-it-yourself tools, equipment and other miscellany occupying its more than 4,600 retail stores nationwide. That product is paint, or more specifically, an entire line of interior and exterior water-, latex-, oil- and solvent-based paints, stains, varnishes and coatings.

Hydrostatic Load Cells Bear The Weight Of Washdown

February 22, 2010 8:01 am | by Rudi Baisch, Emery Winslow | Articles | Comments

“We just lost another load cell on mixer scale number three” is not what any operations or maintenance manager wants to hear in a busy food processing facility. When a scale goes down, and accurate weight data is no longer available, it creates a real problem for production. When Plumrose USA, premium meat product provider, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, decided to do something about it, they turned to Emery Winslow Scale Company for help.

Honda's 'Southern Belle': The ATV

February 17, 2010 7:08 am | Articles | Comments

Honda of South Carolina in Timmonsville, South Carolina, builds a variety of ATVs for their flagship brand, and we take a look at how they’re built, from design to piecing together their single-cylinder, four-stroke engines. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Writing E-mails With Your Mind

February 17, 2010 7:07 am | Articles | Comments

Back in 1997, Kathy Wolfe was given a painful diagnosis: she has Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS. In the time since her diagnosis, Kathy has lost her ability to move, speak, and even breathe. But thanks to some new technology that translates electrical signals in the brain into text on her computer, she can still write e-mails, and, most importantly, communicate with her husband of 41 years.

Price Wars: China vs. Japan

February 17, 2010 7:06 am | Articles | Comments

CNN’s Kyung Lah (Tokyo) and John Vause (Beijing) compare prices on popular products in their respective countries, such as cars and TVs. The differences can be staggering, at times. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Reviving Manufacturing, One Guitar At A Time

February 17, 2010 7:04 am | Articles | Comments

Every summer, professors at the College of Technology at Purdue bring students in for the High School Guitar Workshop, which allows the youngsters to build a fully-functioning guitar in little more than a few days. Using their own designs, students go through the entire process, and get to take home their custom guitar at the end.

Manufacturing Olympic Gold

February 17, 2010 7:03 am | Articles | Comments

With the Olympics at full-steam right now, we take a look with VBS.TV into where the gold, silver, and bronze medals came from. Visit Omer Studio in Vancouver, where designers were asked to create a medal that incorporates recycled metal from electronic components. It’s a great combination of industrial design, manufacturing, and sustainability.

Why Foreign Corporations Struggle In America

February 12, 2010 8:43 am | by Jeff Klingberg, President & CEO, Fluid Power Technologies | Articles | Comments

A recent LinkedIn post asked for experiences from foreign national corporations who have had trouble introducing their products and services to the North American market. From our experience in this area, foreign national corporations typically encounter the following issues: Send a foreign national to open the operation just because someone believes there is a large untapped market in North America, but no research is done and no plan is formulated before coming.

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