Business & Industry

Autopsy of an Engine: and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant

Through 12 fictional stories, "Autopsy of an Engine" brings to life the spirits that populated Detroit's Clark Street Cadillac factory until its last smokestack was airlifted out in 1994. Told from the diverse perspective of unionized assembly line workers and engineers, management and janitors, payroll clerks and retirees, this collection was written by a woman who worked for Cadillac for 21...

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Business & Industry

New Pension Protection Provisions Premiere to Criticism and Praise

Many provisions of the new Pension Protection Act of 2006, signed in August, have received wide acclaim, notably those regarding 401(k)s. But critics say the legislation could accelerate the move away from traditional pension plans and that it does little to help the millions of workers whose companies don't offer retirement plans. In mid-August, President George W. Bush signed a sweeping pension...

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Business & Industry

Production vs. Maintenance: Think Uptime, Have Uptime

Breakdowns of industrial machinery cost industry billions each year, with most of the cost resulting from lost production time while unscheduled repairs or maintenance are performed. Motivated companies are netting billions industry wide with uptime technology and mindsets, finds The Manufacturer.com's Pam Derringer. Production vs. maintenance? Production vs. maintenance? Faced with the choice of...

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Business & Industry

Top-Notch Customer Service Bolsters Innovation

New research and technology indicates that innovation has less to do with inventions and securing patents and more to do with keeping an eye on external metrics such as customer service. Over the course of the past year, IMT has covered different degrees of innovation and its impact on the manufacturing community. Slowly, but surely, what can arguably be seen as the single most important aspect...

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Business & Industry

Overseas Competition = Plant Closings

As a preface to next week's IMT issue on plants and factories, here we address the scaling back of manufacturing operations to stem losses. As a result, plants not operating at full capacity are being shut down right and left. When will it end? Getting beat to the punch on innovation or price points is wreaking havoc on the U.S. manufacturing industry like never before. As a result, operations...

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Business & Industry

Lebanese Factories Burn, Iraqi Industry Sees Spark of Light

The physical destruction throughout the Middle East is obvious: bombs fly, bullets tear, civilians and soldiers fall. In Lebanon, plants and factories burn as morale among the country's workforce has already hit an all-time low. Despite the gloomy picture of industry and worker plight throughout Lebanon, however, wheels of industry are beginning to turn again in Iraq. The physical destruction...

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Business & Industry

An Imperfect CAD Compatibility Compromise

When an engineer has to share product designs with someone else in the group or with the supplier down the street, it can be especially difficult (never mind frustrating) when not all groups have the necessary CAD software. Compatibility between CAD software is a major pain. Here is one way to overcome such a dilemma. Everyone across the supply chain must be able to share and respond to...

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Business & Industry

Apple: Room for Factory Improvement, Yes. Sweatshops, No.

A U.K. newspaper reported in June that Apple Computer workers at a Chinese factory worked long hours under difficult conditions for little pay to manufacture iPods. So Apple launched a full-blown investigation into the alleged sweatshop-like conditions. Its report was released late last week. Apple Computer was under fire in June about allegations that its manufacturing facilities in China are...

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Business & Industry

Engineers Think You're a Big Screw-up, Big Dig...and They're Voicing It in Cyberspace.

More than a month after concrete ceiling panels fell on and crushed a car passenger due to an epoxy-and-bolts system, engineers across the Web have been discussing the debacle with Boston's Big Dig/Central Artery Tunnel project and the structure's latest failure. Current conversations are more about how much of "a screw-up" the project is and are speculative as to why parts of the project were...

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