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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Quality Assurance On A Massive Scale

January 11, 2010 9:40 am | Articles | Comments

In the fast-growing market for wind power systems, quality assurance according to international industrial standards has become an important issue. Wind power plants are no longer a niche playground for environmental proponents, but a serious business where cost efficiency, life cycle costs, reliability, and availability of the components must be considered.

Indiana's Electric Car Comeback

January 7, 2010 4:06 am | Articles | Comments

Th!ink has just opened its first North American manufacturing plant, where they will employ 400 to build the Think City, an electric car with a top speed of 70mph and a range of roughly 100 miles. While the company has found success in Europe, they didn't believe the technology was mature enough for the U.

Also Obsolete: Your Boring 2D Television

January 7, 2010 3:51 am | Articles | Comments

If you're like me, you just bought a brand new HDTV. They're great. Well, like the gadgets in the above video, you'll be sad to know that your recent purchase is now "obsolete." If TV manufacturers have anything to do with it, 3D telveisions will be the next big thing. With blockbuster films like "Avatar" showcasing how 3D technology has advanced since the dizzying blue-and-red goggles of the past, it seems as though 3D HDTVs will soon be taking over the world of home entertainment.

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Unemployment: How Much Longer?

January 6, 2010 8:39 am | Articles | Comments

We all know unemployment rates are through the roof. But how much longer is this streak of joblessness going to last? Bob Parker, vice chairman of Credit Suisse Asset Management, discusses some of the specifics regarding how the U.S. (and Europe) will recover from this downturn. His main contention? While 2010 will see a decline in unemployment rates, they will be slow to fall, and we may not see rates drop below 9 percent until next year.

From Eggs To Needles: Swine Flu

January 6, 2010 8:38 am | Articles | Comments

The swine flu scare in the U.S. is, unlike some technology, something that won’t become obsolete in the new year. In fact, drug manufacturers are working harder than ever to meet the incredible demand for the influenza vaccine. So before you go get poked with a needle carrying a dose of the influenza antigens, maybe you’d like to see how the vaccine is made.

Technology Graveyard: What’s Obsolete In 2010

January 6, 2010 8:38 am | Articles | Comments

The beginning of a new decade is a perfect excuse to practice the oft-quoted adage: “Out with the old, in with the new.” This isn’t more true than in the world of technology. CNN walks through some of the technology that seems to be dead in the new decade. Some — like dial-up internet and classifieds in your local paper — are pretty obvious.

Transforming Your Safety Culture With Lean Management

January 5, 2010 8:06 am | by Amanda Earing, News Editor, Manufacturing.Net | Articles | Comments

Many businesses that attempt to use lean techniques in their business often find employees reluctant to embrace changes. However, author Robert Hafey of “Lean Safety, Transforming Your Safety Culture with Lean Management” says a lean safety program can not only improve your company’s safety record, but also help workers accept lean in your company.

Licensed To Flex Feedstock Muscle

January 4, 2010 8:16 am | by Carrie Ellis & Luke Simpson, Editors, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

Nobody would believe it until they saw it—especially leery investors. But FlexEthanol technology is here today and readily available. October 15 was the big day for Coskata Inc. After more than three years spent refining the technology that has excited investors like General Motors, the ambitious cellulosic ethanol company declared itself open for business.

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Boiling Up A Pot Of Conservation

December 23, 2009 6:17 am | Articles | Comments

As part of its compliance with a PepsiCo corporate mandate on resource conservation, the Quaker Oats Bridgeview Division food manufacturing plant has installed two Miura Boiler LX200 gas-fired steam boilers to reduce fuel and water consumption, increase energy efficiency, and cut emissions.

Forget The Hybrid, Let's Start Composting

December 22, 2009 11:14 am | Articles | Comments

Vertal, a British composting company, has introduced some of the most innovative technology when it comes to turning our organic waste — you know, that steak you couldn't quite finish last weekend — into energy. Unlike other technologies, the process is entirely self-heated, so the company does not have to use any energy in the composting process, which is called autothermal thermophilic aerobic digestion.

Hackers: Criminals Or Just Unemployed?

December 22, 2009 11:05 am | Articles | Comments

Hackers can bring down government agencies, hijack websites, and snoop on private information. But sometimes, they're just looking for a job. At the U.S. Cyber Challenge, hackers battle each other in a multi-faceted battle — they have to exploit other systems while protecting their own. The contest isn't just about being able to hack into another system, but rather finding these intelligent and tech-savvy youth constructive and non-exploitative outlets for their hacking skills.

Making Candy Canes... As Hard As Steel

December 22, 2009 10:43 am | Articles | Comments

Like most anything else eaten during the holidays, most of us don't know where candy canes come from, or how they're made. Turns out it's not all that different from making steel. Just more... sweet. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

How An Engineer Puts Up Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:35 am | Articles | Comments

Christmas lights are a trademark of the season, but some homeowners take the tradition a little further than others. While some settle for a single dim string on the bush beside their front door, others opt for something more luminescent. See what happens when a database engineer from Middletown, OH gets into the holiday spirit.

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'Greening' Building-Sized Christmas Lights

December 22, 2009 10:25 am | Articles | Comments

Every year, Hong Kong lights up for the holidays. That is, they decorate their high-rise buildings in millions lights, all in dazzling displays and patterns. For years, the bulbs were a drain on the city's electrical supply, until the designers began to switch to energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights.

Reducing Emissions While Recouping Costs

December 18, 2009 4:05 am | by Karl Walby | Articles | Comments

The aluminum division of CMWA approached the Environmental and Energy Systems group of Dürr Systems Inc. in keeping with their green factory efforts and a focus on reducing fuel consumption. The plant was in the midst of a company-wide initiative to reduce energy at both the aluminum and steel wheel divisions.

CSB Warnings: The Fiery Side Of Ice

December 16, 2009 11:24 am | Articles | Comments

An idled pipe and cold temperatures set off a series of events that culminated in a gas explosion and chlorine gas release at Valero's McKee refinery. The CSB looks at ways the incident could have been avoided. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

The Snowman And His 1 µm Nose

December 16, 2009 11:18 am | Articles | Comments

Researchers at the Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) made a tiny snowman out of two tin beads, and then went as far as to mill out a smile and eyes using a focused ion beam. The little guy's nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), was made out of platinum and was deposited by an ion beam.

The Coolest Gadgets Of 2009

December 16, 2009 10:21 am | Articles | Comments

TIME technology editor Peter Ha counts down his top 10 gadgets released this year, and it runs the gauntlet from cool to crazy. There's the standard cell phones and digital cameras, with some interesting additons from a wristwatch (who wears those anymore?) and a bladeless fan . [ Time.com ] If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

The 787 Dreamliner (Finally) Takes Flight

December 16, 2009 10:00 am | Articles | Comments

As most of us know, Boeing's long-awaited 787 Dreamliner took its maiden voyage on Tuesday, marking the end of a construction process that has been delayed for more than two years due to labor issues and malfunctioning components. While the plane still has a battery of tests to complete before the first models are shipped off to airlines around the world, the first flight represents a significant leap forward for the project.

Renegade Electric Cars In China

December 16, 2009 9:54 am | Articles | Comments

In the Shandong province of China, some entrepreneurs have started building their own emission-free electric vehicles, much like what we will someday see in the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt, to an extent. Thing is, these cars weren't exactly legal to start out. But now that so many companies and individuals have stepped up to retrofit cars with electric drivetrains, demand is steadily rising.

The Brainstorm: Innovation In A Recession

December 14, 2009 10:23 am | by Tim Bowe, CEO & Co-Founder, Foliage | Articles | Comments

It has been suggested that the recession is, in part, a result of a lack of innovation in America? Do you buy that?  This question has been discussed by economists for quite some time. The basis of the question is that in the 1980’s, the U.

Flying Into The Wind-Powered Future

December 11, 2009 9:00 am | Articles | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expecting to achieve 20 percent wind energy or 300 GW of wind generating capacity by 2030. Unlike many traditional energy sources, the challenge to achieve this goal is not related to availability of raw materials but rather increasing the manufacturing capacity of wind energy generation equipment.

Simplicity On The Road To Recovery

December 10, 2009 7:45 am | Articles | Comments

Listen to talk radio or the cable news pundits, and it’s easy to believe Michigan, and its largest city (Detroit), are industrial wasteland. True, the unemployment levels are the highest in the nation, and the battering the automotive industry has taken has been significant and deeply felt.

Too Lazy To Do Dishes? There's A Robot For That

December 10, 2009 4:06 am | Articles | Comments

You just can’t stop the Japanese obsession with robotics. We’ve featured domestic robots on the IMPO Insider before, but they’ve never made us quite this lazy. For those who have decided that putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher is now too difficult—fear not, robotics will help you not only on the plant floor, but at home too.

OLED Displays: Wearing Your Plant Around Your Wrist

December 10, 2009 4:01 am | Articles | Comments

First came those clunky CRT monitors that could kill a man even when unplugged, then dainty LCD panels that were thin and light, but looked like you could snap them in two. Now there’s OLED—the latest and greatest in display technology. Just imagine the possibilities of flexible, wearable OLED monitors in manufacturing.

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