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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China To Overhaul Struggling Solar Panel Industry

December 20, 2012 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

China's government says it will encourage mergers among producers of solar panels to strengthen an industry that has suffered huge losses due to excess production capacity and price-cutting wars. The announcement, which analysts have expected for months, comes as Beijing faces trade sanctions by the United States and possibly Europe over complaints its support for solar panel producers violates trade rules. 

CNET's 2012 Gadget Tips And Picks

December 20, 2012 8:08 am | by CBS News | Videos | Comments

CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley lists the top gadgets of 2012 and gives tips on picking the right products. He covers the top smartphones (his top pick: the Galaxy S3), the top tablets (the Nexus 7 or the new Microsoft Surface), the top computers (the MacBook Air), the top e-readers (none, go cheap, he says), and the top TVs (plasma).

BlackBerry Maker Hopes To Launch A Comeback

December 18, 2012 2:00 pm | by David Friend, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

After a year of persistent struggles, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion hopes to launch a comeback in 2013 as it works to convince customers its latest smartphones are a worthy alternative to the growing list of competitors. It's a battle that won't be won overnight, and depending on who you ask, might not be won at all.


The Plant Of The Future: 3D Printing

December 18, 2012 8:04 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Articles | Comments

3D printing is a technology that has, for more than a decade, seen inroads mostly in the hobbyist community. It’s expensive and slow, but is capable of producing items that are difficult — if not impossible — to replicate with more traditional processes. Kevin Sullivan, director and global practice lead of the Industrial Practice, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), says that day will come by the end of this decade.

Ford Hybrid Fuel Economy Falling Short

December 17, 2012 10:18 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford said Friday that it's talking to the government about the fuel economy of its hybrid cars after a report suggested they're falling short of targets. Consumer Reports said last week that Ford's new C-Max hybrid didn't meet the published fuel economy of 47 miles per gallon, averaging 38 miles per gallon in the magazine's testing.

Indy To Replace Entire Fleet With Electrics, Hybrids

December 12, 2012 2:23 pm | by Rick Callahan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Indianapolis wants to become the first major city to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in a move the mayor says is designed to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign-produced fuels, city officials said Wednesday.

Crowdfunding Fuels Innovation

December 11, 2012 8:09 am | by Ryan Sauer | Blogs | Comments

While it continues to be controversial in more conservative investment circles, crowdfunding is on its way to becoming a major source of venture capital for upstart companies. With passage of the JOBS Act in April of this year, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress cleared the way for crowdfunding to be both legal and regulated.

Report: Kodak Gets Patent Bid From Apple, Google

December 10, 2012 2:09 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Apple and Google, bitter rivals in smartphone technology, have joined up to make a combined bid for a bundle of patents offered by photography pioneer Kodak, according to a published report. Bloomberg News reported Saturday that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. have abandoned competing bids for the portfolio to offer a combined $500 million.


Black Boxes In Cars Raise Privacy Concerns

December 7, 2012 10:21 am | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

Many motorists don't know it, but it's likely that every time they get behind the wheel, there's a snitch along for the ride. In the next few days, the NHTSA is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers to include event data recorders — better known as "black boxes" — in all new cars and light trucks.

Trained Navy Dolphins Losing Out To Robots

December 3, 2012 12:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Some dolphins used by the Navy to track down mines will soon lose their jobs to robots — but they'll be reassigned, not retired. Starting in 2017, 24 of the Navy's 80 military-trained dolphins will be replaced by a 12-foot (3.6-meter) unmanned torpedo-shaped vehicle, according to the newspaper UT San Diego.

Perfect Experiences Are Ruining Tech Education

December 3, 2012 11:05 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Blogs | Comments

Better, and more polished, interfaces make it easier for more people to sit back and play iOS games or watch something on Netflix, they also create a dangerous abstraction — a distance between the user and the actual technology that functions it.

Couple Convicted Of Stealing GM Trade Secrets

December 3, 2012 10:15 am | by Ed White, Associated Press | News | Comments

A former General Motors engineer with access to the automaker's hybrid technology was convicted Friday along with her husband of stealing trade secrets for possible use in China. Shanshan Du won a transfer within GM in 2003 to be closer to the technology and then copied documents until she accepted a severance offer and left the company in 2005, prosecutors said.

Honda Gets A Do-Over; Revamps Civic To Fix Flaws

November 30, 2012 2:06 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

Honda has made a quick U-turn. Just 19 months after its Civic compact hit showrooms and was slammed by critics, the company has revamped the car, giving it a sportier look and upgrading the interior. It's an unusual and costly do-over. But Honda — among the auto industry's most highly-regarded brands — was worried the car's flaws would hurt sales and market share, analysts say.


My First Trade Show & The Digital Revolution

November 30, 2012 8:08 am | by Abbigail Kriebs, Associate Editor, Industrial Distribution | Blogs | Comments

For companies in modern America and across the globe, the digital revolution is every bit as unsettling today as the financial crisis was in 2008. The ways in which we interact today are so different from what we have encountered in the past. Social media has given corporations and their products a face of their own; a presence that people can interact with and relate to, for better or for worse.

7 Hot Cars At The LA Auto Show

November 28, 2012 2:03 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public Friday, and here are some of the most talked-about vehicles that will be making their world debuts at the event, including the Toyota RAV4, Honda Civic, Fiat 500e, BMWi3, Acura RLX, Chevrolet Sparks, and Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

Fiat 500 Adds Electric And Big Versions To Lineup

November 28, 2012 10:07 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

The Fiat 500 is getting bigger and going electric. Two new versions of the Italian-styled mini-car are appearing at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week: The "500e" is the brand's first all-electric model in the U.S. while the "500L" comes with four doors and significantly more room than a regular model.

Chevy Small Car Drivers To Get iPhone's Siri

November 27, 2012 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Siri, the helpful voice of the iPhone, will work for drivers of two small Chevrolets starting early next year. Drivers of the Spark mini-car 1LT and 2LT models and the Sonic subcompact LTZ and RS models will be able to tell Siri to do a limited number of tasks through the cars' infotainment systems, Chevrolet announced Tuesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

GM Rolls Out New Electric Mini-Car

November 27, 2012 10:02 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

General Motors is giving its Chevrolet Spark a jolt of electricity. An all-electric version of the mini-car will debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It goes on sale this summer in California, Oregon, Canada and South Korea, where it's made. Other markets will follow.

Q&A: The Future Of CAD

November 27, 2012 8:09 am | Articles | Comments

CAD is a very mature tool these days. The idea of 3D CAD has been around for two-and-a-half decades. A lot of companies have already moved to 3D CAD, and most of our customers are already using a 3D definition of the design as sort of a virtual prototype. What I see happening today is an effort to get more and more people to be able participate in either the definition or the consumption of that rich, digital definition.

Transforming The Relationship Between Manufacturers And The DoD

November 27, 2012 8:08 am | by Mitch Free, Founder and CEO | Articles | Comments

The challenges of sourcing complex manufactured goods to support the Department of Defense (DoD) create significant obstacles for the U.S. manufacturing industry. While today’s manufacturing environment is notably global, opportunities exist to help strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base while improving supply chain security.

Japan Brands Fend Off Rivals At China Auto Show

November 26, 2012 10:22 am | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Global automakers and their Chinese rivals put on sleek displays of new cars at a major auto show Thursday in Guangzhou, the southern Chinese stronghold of Japanese brands that have been hard hit by tensions between Tokyo and Beijing. Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. were among the dozens of brands showcasing new vehicles at the auto show, the first major marketing event since the tensions flared in September.

Toshiba Shows Four-Legged Robot For Nuke Disaster

November 21, 2012 10:11 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Toshiba Corp. unveiled a robot Wednesday that the company says can withstand high radiation and help in nuclear disasters. But it remains unclear what exactly the new machine will be capable of doing if and when it gets the go-ahead to enter Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

GE Buys 2,000 Ford Plug-In Hybrids For Fleet

November 20, 2012 10:13 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

GE is buying 2,000 plug-in hybrid cars from Ford for its corporate fleet. Ford and GE announced the purchase Tuesday. GE has set a goal of converting half its fleet to alternative energy vehicles. With the Ford purchase, GE now has 5,000 alternative-fuel vehicles, or about 10 percent of its fleet.

Ford To Bring Smaller Engine To U.S. In 2014 Fiesta

November 20, 2012 10:09 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford is bringing its smallest engine to the U.S. in the race to meet stricter government fuel economy rules. The company says the 2014 Fiesta will be the first North American vehicle to get Ford's new 1-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine when it goes on sale next year. The 1-liter has been sold in the European version of the Focus sedan since March.

IMTS Boosts Manufacturing Technology Orders

November 16, 2012 8:30 am | Articles | Comments

“In the 17 years that this data has been collected, there is only one other month that broke $600 million. Both of those were in months that reflected sales from IMTS, showing its strength as the largest manufacturing event in the Americas,” said Douglas K. Woods, AMT President.

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