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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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.

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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 .

The Bowling Ball-Tossing Industrial Robot

October 14, 2009 10:23 am | Articles | Comments

Innovation is key to our industry, so here at IMPO we like to showcase ways that individuals and companies are doing something unique with the tools that get used every day to make the products we all know and love, even if they're a little off-beat. The guys from Mana Energy Potions program a KUKA industrial robot to hurl heavy objects like a medieval trebuchet.

Take Back Your Facility

October 14, 2009 6:47 am | Articles | Comments

Managing storage space is critical in the effort to maximizing your productivity. In most storage facilities, a whopping 60 percent of floor space is wasted on aisles. So how do you add more SKUs to the same amount of square footage? What do you do when you run out of space? The Compact Storage Systems are a solution.

'Don't Die On Me!': Staying Alive With Predictive Maintenance

October 13, 2009 9:45 am | Articles | Comments

In recent years, modern packaging machines have become more intelligent. They are incorporating more decentralized intelligence in order to protect the machine from expensive breakdown situations using error diagnostics and reactions without any detour through the control. With today’s generation of intelligent servo drives, predictive maintenance functionality is now built into the electronics.

The Mysteries Of Ketchup

October 8, 2009 4:16 am | Articles | Comments

Ever wondered how ketchup is manufactured? This video will take you through (most of) the process, save for the "myserious" blue bags containing the Heinz secret recipe. And ironically enough, they actually have a test to make sure that the ketchup is next to impossible to extract from those glass bottles.

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Combustible Dust At Imperial Sugar

October 7, 2009 5:54 am | Articles | Comments

The CSB has investigated the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion of 2008, and has concluded that combustible dust was to blame for the deaths of 14 workers and injuries of many more. The company did not properly clean up after combustible dust, particularly that which accumulated on hard-to-reach places like light fixtures and beam, and did not provide adequate ventilation systems for dust in the air.

Forget The Cling Wrap

October 6, 2009 9:04 am | by ScienCentral | Articles | Comments

Scientists have created a new type of food wrapping that will someday leave the traditional plastic wrap unused in the back of some kitchen drawer. The new material is anti-microbial, which means things like fresh fruit stay fresh considerably longer. In addition, it's completly edible and environmentally-friendly.

The Cloaking Cop Car

October 6, 2009 8:57 am | by HARD Lifestyle | Articles | Comments

These guys have developed a paint that changes colors when applying heat, and they thought it would be perfect for a cop car that goes from jet black to fully-marked in seconds. They strip the interior of an Escalade to attach massive heaters to the doors and, well, you can see the rest for yourself.

Respect The Nerd: Part 3

October 6, 2009 8:21 am | Articles | Comments

Watch the exciting conclusion of Gerard's long struggle with keeping his processes quick and error-free. With a robotic arm from FARO, Gerard manages to not only capture the attention and respect of his boss, but also a special someone... 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.

Respect The Nerd: Part 2

October 6, 2009 8:18 am | Articles | Comments

Gerard still can't seem to stay on top of his work. After that many complaints, it's no wonder he gets sent to his supervisor. At the end of his rope, it seems like Gerard won't ever catch a break... Stay tuned for Part 3 . 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.

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Respect The Nerd: Part 1

October 6, 2009 8:14 am | Articles | Comments

Poor Gerard. The nerdy quality control inspector is mocked incessently by his co-workers for being slow and keeping things off schedule. In Part One of the series, see how Gerard finds a glimmer of hope in his effort to revolutionize his quality control process.

Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Material

October 2, 2009 11:54 am | Articles | Comments

Poly(lactic acid) cup before and after adding hot water. Interest in biodegradable disposable plastic items has steadily grown over the last decade. With packaging materials, the reduction in usage of raw materials, re-use, and recycling is of course the best route to a sustainable lifestyle.

Doing A 180

October 1, 2009 4:55 am | Articles | Comments

Via Hossfeld Bender . This video demonstrates the process behind creating a 180 degree bend in a length of pipe. See how to mount the 180 degree die, the back block, and the draw block, with additional tips to keep your components working strong well into the future. 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.

Hop Aboard The Jet-Powered Merry-Go-Round

October 1, 2009 4:55 am | Articles | Comments

Here at IMPO , we like discovering the best in new technolgies, whether it's a oddly-shaped device that encourages sedentariness from a major automaker, or a jet-powered, steampunk-inspired merry-go-round. Built by a Brooklyn-based arts collective, The Madagascar, the ride is relatively simple. Ignore the "Caution: This may kill you!" sign, fire up the massive jets, and get airbourne.

Like A Bird On A Wire

October 1, 2009 4:53 am | Articles | Comments

See how maintenance is performed on live, high-powered electric lines. Thanks to Michael Faraday's theory that a man enclosed in a metallic box will not be affected by an electric current supplied to the box, regardless of its voltage, this work is now possible. Every movement has an elegance and beauty, even when there's half a million volts flowing over his body.

Our Robot Future

October 1, 2009 4:46 am | Articles | Comments

Via FORA.Tv . At Maker Faire 2009 iRobot CTO Rodney Brooks had the opportunity to speak about the future of robotics in manufacturing. He argues that "untouchable" robots are a thing of the past, even though they're just reaching their hayday in manufacturing facility. But they're dangerous; no one can get close unless they're shut down.

Yep, Walking Is So 20th Century

October 1, 2009 4:44 am | Articles | Comments

The U3 X from Honda hopes to, like the Segway, "revolutionize" the way people move around their lives. The UX 3 is small, sleek, and looks relatively easy-to-use. It's certainly more attractive than the Segway. So what do you think? Can we abandon walking altogether yet? 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.

Extreme Maintenance

September 21, 2009 6:54 am | Articles | Comments

Sure, we've all experienced the occasional stuck bolt, especially those charged with building and maintaining manufacturing equipment like yourselves. But what about a stuck bolt in space? In their latest spacewalk outside of the Hubble telescrope, American astronauts braved injury and death to install a new, $150 million dollar camera into the Hubble's aging body.

Building Behemoths

September 21, 2009 6:21 am | Articles | Comments

Digital Altiel gives a quick tour of their facility, where they utilize Delcam's PowerMILL and PowerSHAPE technology to recreate lifesized sculptures in massive scales for the likes of Disney and Pixar. Digital Altiel scans the original piece and machines it in large pieces, which are welded together to create a finished product.

The Lego V8 Roars

September 21, 2009 6:12 am | Articles | Comments

Remember the Lego of your childhood, when you spent countless hours just putting together a space ship or castle that just fell apart after an hour? Well, those days are over. In the 21st century, Lego engineers have moved to bigger and better pastures. Listen to the "roar" of this pushrod V8 as it revs up over 1,500 rpm.

Over-engineering, F1-Style

September 21, 2009 5:45 am | Articles | Comments

Via AutoMotoTV . Take a look inside the incredible precision that goes into making every Red Bull Technology F1 race car. Through extensive research, protoyping, and testing, the vehicles come together like a work of art, not to mention an incredible example of precision in engineering.

Apple Reveals Revolutionary Keyboard-less Laptop

September 18, 2009 12:03 pm | Articles | Comments

Apple is renowned for their revolutionary and innovative products, some of which have changed the way we live. First, the iPod, featuring the world-famous "click wheel." Now, see how Apple has hybridized click wheel technology with their sleek laptops, forming a keyboard-less laptop that functions seamlessly and beautifully.

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