In this episode of MBT’s Manufacturing Newswire, we’ll discuss a plant collapse in Omaha, as well as a recall for exploding toilets. We’ll also talk about 3D printing trends for 2014, and take a look at a Star Trek Tricorder you can buy today.
State Of The Economy
The U.S. economy is showing more strength than at any time since the Great Recession began six years ago. Employers are hiring. Home prices, sales and construction have surged. Corporate profits and stocks have hit records, and consumers have picked up their spending. By the middle of this year, after years of steady but sluggish improvement, the U.S. is expected to have finally regained all the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession.
The owner of an Omaha livestock feed manufacturer that was the site of a deadly industrial plant collapse last month announced that his company is laying off the plant's production staff. International Nutrition is outsourcing production following the Jan. 20 fire and collapse of the three-level southwest Omaha plant. The cause of the accident remains unknown. Inspectors with OSHA are looking at structural problems and a dust explosion as possibilities. At least one injured worker has sued the company.
Watch out for exploding toilets. Flushmate, the maker of a high-pressure flushing system sold at Home Depot and Lowe's, is expanding a recall of the parts, because they can burst near a seam with force enough to shatter the toilet tank.The company is recalling over 360,000 pressure-assisted flushing systems installed inside toilet tanks. While there were no reports of injuries, Flushmate has received reports of units bursting, resulting in property damage.
3D Printed Home
Bad news for the big bad wolf, a University of Southern California Professor has built a colossal 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours. The robot comes equipped with a nozzle that spews out concrete and can build a home based on a set computer pattern.
The technology, known as Contour Crafting, could completely revolutionize the construction industry. Once that part of the process is finished, humans would do the rest of essential tasks like hanging doors and installing windows.
Face to Face
Speaking of 3D printing, it’s become a hot topic in manufacturing lately as the technology continues to get smaller and more affordable, while innovators look to do more with the technology. In this week’s Face to Face, we’ve invited Stu Kaplan, president of Makuta Technics, an Indiana micro molder part of the Sansyu Group to talk about what impact 3d printing will have on manufacturers in 2014.
Thanks Stu. To see Stu’s full response to this question, please visit the multimedia section of mbtmag.com or click on the link below.
Now that Fiat has finished purchasing Chrysler, the company has unveiled its new name and logo. Chrysler and Fiat will be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as they move forward together as a single company. Fiat's board of directors agreed on the new name, with headquarters for tax purposes in the United Kingdom. But the board sidestepped the thorny political issue of whether the true headquarters would be in the United States or Italy.
Bad news for lovers of sub-compacts and fuel efficiency. It may be coming at the cost of your safety. Eleven of the smallest cars sold in America performed very badly in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. None of the 11 earned a “good” rating. Six cars were slapped with “poor” ratings in the test including: Toyota Prius C, Nissan Versa, Mitsubishi Mirage, Hyundai Accent, Fiat 500 and the Honda Fit. Only the Chevy Spark, did well enough in the test to receive the second-best rating of “acceptable.” The worst of the bunch was shared by Honda Fit and Fiat 500.
Clip of the Week
Reality took another step closer to becoming Star Trek with a tricorder-like device called the Sensordrone. The Sensordrone is a multi-sensor bluetooth device that you can use with your Smartphone, turning your smartphone into a thermometer, gas leak detector, weather station, breath analyzer, and much, much, MORE!
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