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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Carmakers Let App Developers Drive Innovation

January 11, 2013 10:18 am | by Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press | News | Comments

Drivers have grown so accustomed to their on-the-go tasks that automakers are increasingly trying to make those things easier to pull off with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. As General Motors and Ford commissioned ideas from app makers this week, the possibilities for what you can do with your vehicle's steering wheel buttons, microphone, speakers and internal gauges are quickly expanding.

Bombardier: Jets Will Retain Competitive Advantage

January 11, 2013 10:15 am | by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

Bombardier says its regional jets and new CSeries commercial aircraft will retain their competitive advantages even after Brazilian rival Embraer puts more fuel-efficient engines on its E-Jet family of aircraft. Embraer this week said it plans to use a variant of the Pratt & Whitney engine that will power the CSeries on a "second generation" of regional jets beginning in 2018.

Report: Apple May Build Less Expensive iPhone

January 10, 2013 1:50 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Apple is trying to decide whether it makes sense to offer a cheaper iPhone as it tries to boost sales in less-affluent countries and reclaim some of the market share lost to cheaper phones running Google's Android software, according to a published report.

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Chevy Spark Looks Electric But Runs On Gasoline

January 9, 2013 2:07 pm | by Ann M. Job, For The Associated Press | News | Comments

Don't be surprised if some people assume the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is another newfangled electric car. Just 12 feet long and with an aerodynamic front end and abruptly chopped-off rear, the South Korean-built Spark could pass for an electric car. But there's no plug and no problem with fueling the 2013 version of this Chevrolet, because it comes with a gasoline-sipping, internal combustion, four-cylinder engine.

Smart TVs Get Smarter, By Just A Little Bit

January 9, 2013 10:14 am | by Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press | News | Comments

In the not-so-distant future, couch potatoes will be waving, pointing, swiping and tapping to make their TVs react, kind of like what Tom Cruise did in the 2002 movie "Minority Report." That's the vision of TV manufacturers as they show off "smart TVs."

U.S. To Require Electric Cars To Make Noise

January 8, 2013 10:12 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A U.S. government safety agency wants electric and hybrid vehicles to make more noise when traveling at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them coming. The cars and trucks, which are far quieter than conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, don't make enough noise at low speeds to warn walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

LG Kicks Off CES With 1.4-Meter 'Ultra-HD' TV

January 7, 2013 2:16 pm | by Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

LG unveiled a 55-inch (1.4-meter) TV that sports "ultrahigh-definition" resolution with four times the sharpness of regular HD television sets, kicking off what is likely to be a mini-obsession with the latest super-clear format at the annual International CES gadget show.

Startup Vehicle Company Moving Into Old GM Plant

January 4, 2013 2:00 pm | by Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press | News | Comments

A startup company called Elio Motors is moving into the former General Motors plant in northwest Louisiana, where it plans to build three-wheeled vehicles with high fuel efficiency and a cheap price tag. The deal was announced Thursday for Elio to take over part of the plant to assemble its unusual-looking, two-seat vehicle.

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NEC To Build Space Satellite Factory

January 3, 2013 1:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

NEC Corp. will invest 10B yen to build a factory in Tokyo and make low-cost satellites for emerging countries, sources close to the matter said. The maker of electronics and telecommunication equipment plans to mainly manufacture small satellites from fiscal 2014 at the plant to be built in the city of Fuchu as part of its joint efforts with the government to win satellite-launching contracts from other countries, they said.

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, Manufacturing.net | 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.

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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, Manufacturing.net | 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.

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