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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Thirsty For Change

March 19, 2010 6:55 am | Articles | Comments

Vitality Foods Production Manager Ryan Jennings (left) and Vitality Foods General Manager Bruce Burlington (right), start up their new Clayton SigmaFire Steam Generator SFG-125M to produce 99.5% dry steam for their beverage manufacturing processes. If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of coffee, glass of juice or a nice cool smoothie in Canada, you’ve probably got Vitality Foodservice to thank.

Toyota: 'Runaway' Prius A Lie

March 17, 2010 9:56 am | Articles | Comments

While testing the Prius that took its driver for a high-speed ride last week, Toyota found no software or mechanical fault, and called into question the validity of the driver's statements. Engineers were unable to recreate the issue the driver allegedly experienced, and even claim that the wear on the car's brakes are inconsistent with his story.

Indonesia: We're A BRIC Too

March 17, 2010 7:45 am | Articles | Comments

Indonesia has long been considered a third-rate competitor in the new running for industrialization in the 21st century. But massive developments in the last decade have catapulted the 4th most populous country into the industrial limelight. Some have called for Indonesia’s inclusion into the BRIC group — an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, and China — as the most promising of industrial nations.

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Manufacturing Invincible Black Boxes

March 17, 2010 7:43 am | Articles | Comments

Airline accidents are rare events, but when they do occur, investigators pore through every detail of the wreckage to determine if the crash was the result of human error or mechanical failure. The black box is one of the many keys to solving these massive puzzles, but they have to survive the perils of a crashed, burning plane.

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

March 17, 2010 7:42 am | Articles | Comments

OK Go, known for their low-budget and very-viral music videos, takes on the Rube Goldberg machine for their latest project. With the help of Synn Labs and director James Frost, the band designed and built what is arguably the most impressive Rube Goldberg machine to date. Any engineer or manufacturer can not only see the fun and whimsy in this creation, but also its incredible attention to detail and immaculate craftsmanship.

China's Communist Billionaires

March 17, 2010 7:41 am | Articles | Comments

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that China is a Communist country. When the government used to condemn its richest citizens for greed, a newfound love for capitalism has sprouted among the more than 1 billion citizens, creating a new land of immense wealth. With all those people and all that productivity, China now has the world’s most billionaires except for the U.

Soup Start-Up Finds Path For Growth

March 16, 2010 10:57 am | Articles | Comments

Having recently retired, Philip Wilbur-with family in tow-opened the doors to HURRICANE'S Café & Deli in 2005. Among the traditional deli fare, HURRICANE'S offered quality soups and chowders, which were made entirely from all-natural, local ingredients. Soup sales took off, with volume quadrupling in a single year.

In Search Of Universal Sensors

March 16, 2010 10:16 am | by Wesley Sund, Brooks Instrument | Articles | Comments

You are working in a process development research laboratory. Wouldn’t it be easy if you could take a flow device off the shelf, install it, and have immediate, accurate and reliable measurements? This is a dream, a fantasy for some. Advances in sensor design, electronics and software, however, is bringing this day closer than ever through recently introduced developments.

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Managing Energy With Modern Drive Systems

March 16, 2010 10:11 am | by Michael Perlman, Siemens Industry Inc., Motion Control Marketing Manager | Articles | Comments

While it is valid to state that energy efficiency is defined as the same level of production being achieved at an overall lower energy cost, it is equally important for today’s machine builders and automation engineers alike to remember than an energy-efficient system can actually translate into higher productivity.

A Discussion Of HVAC Coil Coatings

March 12, 2010 8:52 am | by Joshua D. Sole, Ph.D., Senior Mechanical Engineer, and Alan H. Brothers, Ph.D., Senior Materials Engineer, Mainstream Engineering Corp. | Articles | Comments

Many HVAC manufacturers and distributors may not realize that hundreds of thousands of coil failures have occurred during the last decade from corrosion. The cause is most typically environmental pollutants, which range anywhere from salt-air, to household cleaning agents, pesticides, formaldehydes, building materials, and even off-gassing of food.

Ten Steps To DIY BPI

March 12, 2010 3:42 am | by Amy Radishofski, Features Editor, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

Companies are always striving to make their businesses leaner and more efficient, so the concept of business process improvement (BPI) is nothing new to them. However, many companies default to a third party to help with the process. “There are several reasons why companies use consultants, usually either because they think BPI is more complicated than it is, they don’t feel that their employees have the required skills to do the work, they feel that they need better facilitation skills to lead the work, or they don’t believe that existing employees will eliminate a step in a process if it negatively affects their job,” said Susan Page, Manager, HRIS for a major entertainment company located in Orlando, FL.

GM Robots Aim For Space

March 10, 2010 11:16 am | Articles | Comments

Continuing their long history of collaboration, NASA and GM partner up once more to design and build the R2, an industrial robot with human-like movements and dexterity. For GM, these robots are great at automating repetitive, dull, or ergonomically-challenging tasks. Whether it’s in manufacturing plants or in space, this new generation of robotics will help free workers up from repetitive manual labor and allow them to do things only humans can do: think.

Is Time Travel Possible?

March 10, 2010 11:13 am | Articles | Comments

TIME ’s resident science comedian Brian Malow asks a simple question: Is time travel really possible? According to Hollywood, it’s already happened, but if you ask world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, the answer is no. A few interesting paradoxes keep the nay-sayers with plenty of evidence, namely that if time travel were possible, we would already have seen travelers from the future.

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From Racing To Hybrids

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

To the tune of some—ahem—sexy music, CNN's Jim Boulden takes a look into last week’s Geneva Auto Show, where the biggest automakers in the world unveiled their newest wheels. Between Spyker’s attention to detail, Morgan’s oh-so-British roadsters, and a Ferrari hybrid, this show has something for just about anyone.

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.

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.

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.

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