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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Mexican Blue Jeans: An American Tradition

November 4, 2009 5:14 am | Articles | Comments

The Mount Vernon Mill in Georgia is one of the last functioning cotton mills in the country, making a product that's truly American: blue jeans. But the mill only weaves denim. The sewing and hemming work has largely been outsourced to foreign companies, largely Mexican, that turn the long rolls of denim into jeans with labels that read: "Made in Mexico of U.

Coloring Supplier Ramps Up Safety Efforts

November 3, 2009 10:02 am | Articles | Comments

Founded in 1865 in New York City as a manufacturer of burnt sugars for the brewing industry, D.D. Williamson & Co., Inc, has grown to become the world’s leading supplier of caramel coloring and natural coloring for use in food production. Now headquartered in Louisville, KY, D.D. Williamson has nine operations on five continents that produce food colorings that are used in 1.

Enterprise Process Monitoring For Winemakers

November 2, 2009 8:53 am | Articles | Comments

“Bronco Winery is passionate about producing its wines with a consistent color, flavor, and mouth-feel,” says John Franzia, a co-owner in the California-based Bronco Wine Company. The metrics are staggering. Their top brand—Charles Shaw—sells for $2 in California.

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The Mattress Dominoes World Record

October 28, 2009 10:36 am | Articles | Comments

The warehouse staff at Bensons for Beds attempt to set the world record for mattress dominoes. Do you think your facility staff could do any better? First, you just have to round up about 100 mattresses, which might be tricky unless you work at, you know, a mattress factory. 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.

There's A Robot For Everything

October 28, 2009 9:15 am | Articles | Comments

We all know manufacturing is being overrun by robots. In many cases, they've become vital resources to our assembly lines, whether it comes to welding, sorting, or fabrication. In many cases, they've taken on jobs that humans find difficult or repetitive, and sometimes dangerous. So, it's inevitable that robots start taking over our other repetitive tasks, like playing Guitar Hero.

The Man With The Golden Audit

October 28, 2009 7:28 am | Articles | Comments

Check out some of Atlas Copco's newest products, including the AIRScan and AIROptimizer, in this James Bond-esque clip. No, the funky music won't play in the background when you're using these products, but you can at least pretend they're some of Q's gadgets. 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.

Bologna Is A 'Dirty Job'

October 28, 2009 6:56 am | Articles | Comments

What won't Mike Rowe do for TV? Luckily, this trip to a bologna factory ranks pretty low on the gross-out factor that has made Mike's expeditions so popular. We do get to see him "throw up," though. 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.

The SuperFreakonomics Of Global Warming

October 28, 2009 6:39 am | Articles | Comments

Steven D. Levitt, author of the famed book "Freakonomics," has some interesting proposals when it comes to global warming. When most people are trying to "green" their lifestyle to reduce their environmental impact, Levitt bucks conventional thought with some cold, hard statistics. Instead of exerting so much effort to be green, there's a simple solution available to us, at little cost or trouble.

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Fish Company Ensures Metal-Free Product

October 27, 2009 11:20 am | Articles | Comments

Channel Fish Company (Boston, MA), producers of frozen and salted seafood, takes tremendous care at every step of their process to produce the highest quality product. To improve the effectiveness of their metal detection operation — both in terms of maximizing detection sensitivity and production uptime — they recently turned to Mettler-Toledo Safeline and selected the PowerPhasePRO.

CRM: The Secret Ingredient

October 26, 2009 10:53 am | Articles | Comments

As with many a treasured recipes and favorite dish, Illes Seasonings & Flavors’ name and genesis came from its founding family: current owner Rick Illes’ grandfather, Dr. A.E. Illes, who in 1927 founded this highly respected manufacturer of distinctive seasonings and flavor products.

Inspection Methods To Determine Potential Arc Flash

October 22, 2009 6:38 am | by Jeffrey A. O'Hearn, Product Manager, Eaton Corporation | Articles | Comments

The attributes that make Teflon® an ideal hose material for hundreds of critical applications—thermal stability, strength, and compatibility with a wide variety of different media—also make it well suited for many mobile and industrial applications.

A Teflon® Fluoropolymers Hose Primer

October 22, 2009 6:37 am | by Jeffrey A. O'Hearn, Product Manager, Eaton Corporation | Articles | Comments

The attributes that make Teflon® an ideal hose material for hundreds of critical applications—thermal stability, strength, and compatibility with a wide variety of different media—also make it well suited for many mobile and industrial applications.

Vibration Due To Shaft Misalignment

October 21, 2009 10:38 am | by Bill Hillman, technical contributor for LUDECA, INC. | Articles | Comments

Unlike imbalance, misalignment does not produce forces that are similar in the radius of the machine. Vibration in one radial direction may be very different in amplitude when compared to vibration in another radial direction. This is one instance where amplitude readings are not only helpful in detecting a problem but also helpful in diagnosing a problem.

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Why I Fired GM's CEO

October 21, 2009 9:13 am | Articles | Comments

Yesterday Steve Rattner, the former head of Obama's automotive task force, said he was alarmed by the "stunningly poor management" of GM and Chrysler earlier this year and considered GM to have "perhaps the weakest finance operation any of [the task force] had ever seen in a major company." Ouch.

1959 vs. 2009: The Chevrolet Showdown

October 20, 2009 11:55 am | Articles | Comments

To celebrate its 50th year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (you know, those guys who crash cars together) lined up a classic 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air with its contemporary counterpart, the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. Let the games begin. If nothing else, this video presents a vivid example of why manufacturing must always innovate and improve, because nothing we've ever made is perfect, and everything we make now will soon be obsolete.

Horizontal Motion Conveying FAQ

October 20, 2009 11:05 am | Articles | Comments

Horizontal motion conveying is proving to be an alternative to vibratory conveying. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions that come up when investigating conveying processes for the dry-bulk and food processing industries.  How does a horizontal motion vibrating conveyor work without any vertical motion? In horizontal, zero-pitch, conveying, the translation comes from a differential or slower forward movement relative to the retraction, which is quick.

Taking Them On, One Weld At A Time

October 19, 2009 12:33 pm | Articles | Comments

In 1972, Time published a special issue of their magazine, devoted to addressing the staus of women in the American workplace. One of the women they spoke to was Janie Cottrell, who had taken a liking to her welding class at school. At the age of 24, Janie couldn't get an interview because no male manager could possibly believe Janie had any talent in welding.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

October 19, 2009 12:11 pm | Articles | Comments

Meet William Kamkwamba, author of the new book " The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind ," written with Bryan Mealer. At the age of 14, William Kamkwamba was a poor farmer in Malawi, a country blighted by years of drought and famine. After he was forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford to pay the fees, William was left to his own devices.

Dog vs. Keyboard — The Ultimate Showdown

October 19, 2009 11:58 am | Articles | Comments

Many industrial components are designed and tested to withstand the rigors of the manufacturing plant, whether it's extreme temperatures, water, or intense shock and vibration. But have your components been tested to function under the terrifying dangers of the office dog? Reagan, iKey's in-house German Shepard, took the SLK-79 to task and gave it the rundown.

What If Your Automation Is Anything But?

October 19, 2009 5:16 am | Articles | Comments

What is the most important thing on the mind of a manufacturing professional? Well, from most articles we read, there are two areas — improving manufacturing performance and reducing downtime with a wide array of solutions available to assist you with both. You can focus on integration with your business systems to improve the real-time aspects of production management and you can focus on better production analytics to squeeze additional performance out of the equipment you are monitoring.

The Self-Lubricating Machine

October 15, 2009 4:48 am | Articles | Comments

A simple, self-lubricating machine. Now, if it could do something other than lubricate itself, the people at MIT who built it might be on to something. Wouldn't it be great if all our machines took this great care of themselves? Do you 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 a future deployment? Email me at Joel.

Making The Ultimate Office Weapon: Rubber Bands

October 15, 2009 4:33 am | Articles | Comments

We use them. We love them. Good 'ol rubber bands. Perfect for flinging at co-workers, or even just holding a pack of index cards together. Whatever floats your boat. But I bet you've never thought about how the stretchy brown things are made. I, for one, did not know latex came straight from a tree, just like maple syrup.

Mechanical Walkthrough: The Differential

October 15, 2009 4:06 am | Articles | Comments

We all experience the engineering prowess of our car's differential every day when we head off to work, go errands, or, for some, hit the apex just right. But do we really understand how it works? This video, as old as it is, features an excellent step-by-step explanation of how the differential works.

Building Airplanes, One Lego At A Time

October 15, 2009 3:51 am | Articles | Comments

Most children spend countless hours building Lego airplanes that just fall apart after their inaugural flight. These enthusiasts? They built a Lego factory that builds its own airplanes. Beat that. These dedicated Lego builders take no shame in the $12,000 they poured into the project, nor the 2,000 man hours it took to complete.

A Historical Tour Of Autonomous Robots

October 14, 2009 12:01 pm | Articles | Comments

Take a tour of domestic robots throughout history. Now that we're approaching a time where autonomous, human-interacting, robots will take over the home, how long until industrial robots offer the same type of complex decision-making processes? We've already featured a video on the necessity for industial robots that can interact with humans ( Our Robot Future ), but the question begs to be asked again: why are industrial robots so unfriendly to their human co-workers? Should there be a movement in manufacturing toward robotics that is self-aware, do not harm people, and yet do its task just as efficiently? Via ROCKETBOOM .

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