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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Walking At Graduation Thanks To An Exoskeleton

May 16, 2011 5:31 am

This last weekend's graduates at UC Berkeley were witness to a unique event at their commencement thanks to Austin Whitney and a robotic exoskeleton. Whitney was paralyzed in a 2007 car accident, but was determined to walk across the stage and recieve his diploma. Enter Berkeley engineering professor Homayoon Kazerooni, who designed a bespoke exoskeleton for Whitney.

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Making Baseball In The U.S.A.

May 13, 2011 6:17 am

This one is for you baseball fans out there. Like many other manufacturing niches, work for making baseball gloves was sent overseas in order to reduce costs. In contrast to the normal outsourcing swing, and in spite of the economic downturn, Insignia Athletics, of Worcester, Mass., has recently started high-end baseball gloves using American leather.

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Melting Millions From Gold Scraps

May 11, 2011 11:47 am

Rhode Island-based Advanced Chemical Company recycles gold and other precious metals from industrial production through a variety of sophisticated reactions. Based on the almost continuously-rising price of gold, business is booming. If you’re having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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GM's 50 Years Of Bumpy Roads

May 11, 2011 7:55 am

General Motors was once the highlight of the American industrial complex, but it's been a bumpy road over the last 50 or so years. Between bad management and partial ownership by the U.S. government at the UAW, the company has lost is once-blinding luster. Fortune 's Alex Taylor III helps explain some of the ups and downs of America's largest automaker, how their current CEO is performing, and what the company will look like in 2020.

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Building A Civilization On $10,000

May 11, 2011 7:47 am

Marcin Jakubowsi is a Polish-born “technologist” who moved to Missouri to start a farm of his own, and ended up creating a whole new approach to living off the land — for cheap. He found that buying traditional farming equipment was prohibitively expensive for anyone but the biggest of farms, so he designed and build his own equipment.

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How To "Float" A Massive Ship

May 11, 2011 7:16 am

Anyone in the marine or ship-building industries is probably familiar with the process of “floating” a ship, but for the rest of us, it's a pretty eye-opening (and nerve-wracking) scene. Just imagine how stressful automaking would be if each car had to undergo a similar process. If you’re having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Making Potato Chips — A Numbers Game

May 11, 2011 7:13 am

CNN Money recently took a tour through an environmentally-friendly potato chip plant run by PepsiCo., where they make a wide variety of chips, including Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, and more. Despite processing 21,500 pounds of potatoes per hour , the plant is still striving to become more sustainable.

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What's With The Contradictory Jobs Numbers?

May 11, 2011 7:09 am

The Labor Department released some interesting employment data last week. The economy added 244,000 jobs last month. Private employers shrugged off high gas prices and created 268,000 jobs — the most since February 2006. However, the jobless rate edged upward at the same time. What gives? If you’re having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Stay Away From 'The Avalaunche'

May 10, 2011 5:33 am

Most likely encouraged by the increasing amount of media hype around his inventions, Joerg Sprave has developed his most powerful slingshot yet — “The Avalaunche” — that shoots six 20mm steel balls. According to Joerg, each ball carries 60 Joules as it strikes the target, enough to punch through wood or make slurry out of watermelon.

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The VW Passat: Made In America

May 9, 2011 6:29 am

CNN Money takes a look inside Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, which was built at the height of the "Great Recession." The $1 billion facility was built in Chattanooga thanks to some $500 million in financial incentives from the state government, which helped sway VW over the other 400 cities that bid for the plant.

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Military Makes Chopper Disappear

May 6, 2011 7:39 am

CBS News ' Chris Wragge speaks with national security correspondent David Martin about one of the U.S. helicopters that crash-landed in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. As pictures of the wreckage emerged on the Internet, some have noticed previously top-secret stealth technology on the Blackhawk.

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Plants Make A Better Plastic

May 5, 2011 5:55 am

Scientists at Sao Paulo's State University in Brazil have found that certain plants — such as agave, pineapple, and banana skins — can be used to make more resistant, eco-friendly plastics. According to some, these plastics are remarkably strong, and with any luck, this technology will continue to be developed in the coming years.

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Intel Brings Chips Into 3-D

May 5, 2011 4:20 am

Intel has announced that it will begin manufacturing a new type of transistor for its computer chips. Instead of the typical “flat” transistors, it will use three-dimensional ones, which has been a development a decade in the making. As with most things computers, their hope is to do things faster, cheaper, and while using much less power.

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How Is Globalization Hurting The Middle Class?

May 4, 2011 9:40 am

By all accounts, the United States economy is back on track following the Great Recession. But is the future bright for each and every economic class? Experts Chrystia Freeland and David Frum take an in-depth look at a new report on globalization and its economic impact on the American middle class.

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Technology Behind bin Laden Raid

May 4, 2011 6:08 am

CrossMatch Technologies, based in Palm Beach, Florida, has developed some of the high-tech devices that the U.S. military uses out in the field. One of them includes SEEK, which can capture fingerprints, facial images, or iris images, allowing operatives to determine the identities of captured or killed combatants without having to wait for a DNA test.

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Robots Learn To Slaughter

May 4, 2011 6:02 am

Mayekawa Manufacturing has developed the HAMDAS-R, a robotic system for automated ham boning. What makes it unique is the ability to be flexible for the variety of meat that would theoretically come down the line, while still producing consistent results. We’ll try to stay away from any robots-taking-over-the-world jokes here, but this would be a remarkably intimidating tool for them to use.

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Getting A "Kiss" Over The Internet

May 4, 2011 6:00 am

A student at The University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, Japan, has developed the “Oral Communication Device,“ which is a robotic way to transmit a “kiss“ over a computer. As the student demonstrates, one user initiates the kiss, while the other experiences it through a second device.

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Space-Age Technology To Soon Land On Earth

May 3, 2011 7:08 am

Undergraduate researchers are working on embedding the fabrics that make up space suits with metallic strands that are piezoelectric , which means that they create a small electric charge as they are bent, stretched, and compacted. The combination of all these charges could be enough to power the small portable gadgets of our time.

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Flying Safely With 1950s Technology

May 2, 2011 6:46 am

CNN contributor Miles O’Brien gives a little insight into the communication that occurs between pilots and air traffic control from inside the cockpit, and highlights some of the technology that helps our planes get — and stay — in the air. What’s most intriguing is that the technology, such as ground-based radar, is more than a half-century old.

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Are Electric Cars Safe?

April 29, 2011 6:37 am

More electric cars are arriving on dealership floors, and hitting the streets, so natually, many are left wondering: Are they as safe as their gasoline-powered silblings? Seth Doane reports for CBS News with the latest on electric vehicle safety. If you’re having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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