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Today in Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

CA Refinery Unit Experienced Problems Before Blast

February 19, 2015 7:12 pm | by Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press | Comments

A California oil refinery unit that was damaged by an explosion was already offline for unplanned maintenance when the fire occurred, industry analysts said Thursday. The so-called fluid catalytic cracker unit refines gasoline and is critical to producing California-grade fuel. The unit had been offline for two days because of problems when a different piece...

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Caterpillar Says U.S. Is Investigating Its Movement Of Cash

February 19, 2015 3:43 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

The U.S. government is investigating how Caterpillar has been moving cash between its business units in the U.S. and overseas, the construction equipment company said Wednesday. Caterpillar said it received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois on Jan. 8 that asked for...

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Wal-Mart To Raise Pay For 500,000 Employees

February 19, 2015 3:18 pm | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Comments

Wal-Mart has announced it will give raises to 500,000 employees this year, representing about 40 percent of the 1.3 million workers at the country's largest private employer. The company said hourly workers would earn at least $9 per hour beginning in April, and that all current employees would earn at...

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Brazil Disconnects Nuclear Power Plant

February 19, 2015 3:13 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

One of Brazil's two nuclear reactors has been disconnected because of a flaw in a condenser that cools the steam used by the plant's electric power generator. Eletronuclear that operates the Angra Nuclear I power plant in the coastal city of Angra dos Reis in the state of Rio de Janeiro says on...

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Factory Activity Improves At A Slower Rate In Philadelphia Region

February 19, 2015 11:12 am | by Josh Boak, AP Economics Writer | Comments

Manufacturers in the Philadelphia area expanded at a slower rate in February compared with the previous month. New orders have slipped, although shipments and hiring have improved. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday that its index of regional factory activity fell to 5.2 this...

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U.S. Economy Gauge Posts Slight Gain In January

February 19, 2015 10:43 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | Comments

An index designed to predict the future health of the U.S. economy rose in January by the smallest amount in five months, indicating the economy's momentum may have slowed a bit. The New York-based Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.2 percent in January, the weakest gain since...

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Labor Disputes Roil Canadian Rail Industry

February 19, 2015 10:23 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Comments

The union representing thousands of Canadian National Railway Company employees says it is considering a strike vote as labor issues persist among the country's largest rail operators. The contract between the Unifor union—which represents about 4,800 mechanical, clerical and intermodal workers—and CN Rail, the country's largest rail company, expired...

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GM, Consumers Battle In Court Over Ignition Switch Defect

February 19, 2015 8:35 am | by Marley Jay, AP Business Writer | Comments

A federal bankruptcy judge this week heard arguments from consumers who are suing General Motors, saying their cars dropped in value because of a defect with its ignition switches. Attorneys for GM and several groups of plaintiffs argued before Judge Robert Gerber in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for...

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Samsung Buying Mobile-Pay Company In Bid To Challenge Apple Pay

February 19, 2015 8:32 am | by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer | Comments

Samsung is buying mobile-payment startup LoopPay as the Korean phone maker steps up to challenge Apple and its payment system on iPhones. The deal strengthens speculation that Samsung Electronics Co. plans to include mobile-payment technology in its next major phone, which is expected to be...

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4,300 Pounds Of Pork Sausage Products Recalled

February 18, 2015 12:44 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

Officials say a business is recalling about 4,300 pounds of pork sausage products in Michigan due to mislabeling and an undeclared allergen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall late Tuesday by Bay City-based Michigan Brand Inc. There are no reports...

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Barefoot Contessa Files Lawsuit Against CA Company Over Frozen Dinners

February 18, 2015 12:25 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

The Barefoot Contessa says in a lawsuit that a California company sold unauthorized look-alikes of her frozen dinners. Newsday says Ina Garten sued OFI Imports Inc. on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. The host of the Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa" cooking show filed...

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Warren Buffett's Firm Sells Exxon Mobil, Adds Deere Stake

February 18, 2015 12:22 pm | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer | Comments

Billionaire Warren Buffett's company unloaded its 41 million shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. and sold a smaller stake in ConocoPhillips as oil prices fell last fall. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. filed an update on the stocks it held at the end of 2014 with the Securities and Exchange Commission...

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White House Considering Oil Train Safety Upgrades

February 18, 2015 12:16 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

The oil train that exploded in West Virginia met the industry's voluntary 2011 safety standards, but a growing number of accidents has the Obama administration considering tougher rules for tank cars. A look at what's rolling on U.S. rails...  

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Manufacturing Snapshot Of The Week: Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails In WV

February 18, 2015 12:10 pm | by Bridget Bergin, Associate Editor | Comments

This week's Manufacturing Snapshot of the Week is an image of the fire caused by the February 16th train derailment near Charleston, West Virginia. The train was carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude oil, and the derailment sent fireballs into the sky and burned down a nearby...

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Producer Prices Decline For Third Consecutive Month

February 18, 2015 11:50 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Comments

The U.S. Labor Department's Producer Price Index decreased by 0.8 percent in January, the third consecutive monthly decline and the largest drop since the statistic debuted more than five years ago. The index, which measures changes in prices received by producers for domestically-made goods, was largely...  

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Report Chronicles Dangers Of Flavoring Chemical

February 18, 2015 11:18 am | by Andy Szal, Real Time Digital Reporter, Manufacturing.net | Comments

A chemical long known to cause rapid, severe lung damage remains unregulated by federal labor officials, according to a recent report. The report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel concerns diacetyl, which is used in its liquid form to flavor an array of food products, including as candy, chips and...

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U.S. Wholesale Prices Drop 0.8% In January

February 18, 2015 11:16 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | Comments

U.S. wholesale prices fell by a record amount in January, led by the biggest drop in gasoline prices in six years. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index declined 0.8 percent last month, the biggest drop in a data series that goes back to November 2009 when the...

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For Many In U.S., Cash Saved At Gas Pump Is Staying In Pockets

February 18, 2015 11:13 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | Comments

In recent months, the stage seemed set for American consumers to do what they've traditionally done best: Spend money — and drive the economy. The lowest gas prices in five years had given people more spending money. Employers added over 1 million jobs from November through January, the best three-month...

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SEC Filing: Duke Energy Says It Expects To Settle Criminal Probe

February 18, 2015 10:26 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

Duke Energy says it expects to pay $100 million to settle an ongoing federal criminal investigation that began after a massive coal ash spill at a North Carolina plant. The details are contained in an earnings report filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission...

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NAM Partners With Ecolab To Support Manufacturers Nationwide

February 18, 2015 10:20 am | by Jamie Hennigan, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) | Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today named Ecolab Inc. an exclusive Manufacturing Partner to provide thought leadership at NAM regional and national events and engage with manufacturing executives nationwide. "Ecolab has consistently been an industry leader in providing water...

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