TOYOTA RECALLS SELECT TOYOTA, LEXUS MODELS TORRANCE, CA—Toyota Motor Sales USA announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 283,200 Toyota and 137,000 Lexus vehicles to replace the crankshaft pulley on the V6 engine. There is a possibility that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise and/or illumination of the discharge warning light. If this condition is not corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley and the driver may notice a sudden increase in steering effort. There are no reports of accidents or injuries related to this condition.The vehicles involved are: • 2004 Avalon • 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara • 2006 Highlander HV • 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 • 2006 RX400h No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles or these Toyota models with 4 cylinder engines are involved. Toyota is currently working on obtaining the necessary replacement parts. Once the replacement parts have been produced in sufficient quantities, Toyota will send an owner notification by first class mail advising owners to make an appointment with an authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer to have the crankshaft pulley inspected and if necessary, replaced at no charge. The owner notifications will be mailed by first class mail beginning this month. SEAT FABRIC IN NEW FORD FOCUS ELECTRIC USES RECYCLED WASTE MATERIALS DEARBORN, MI—The new Ford Focus Electric features seat fabric made of recycled material that includes the equivalent of more than 20 plastic bottles per car. The fiber, called Repreve, is made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials and manufactured by Unifi Inc., a global sustainable textile solutions company. Unifi officials say 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used in the seat fabric of a single Focus Electric. The figure is based on the amount of Repreve branded fiber used in the production of fabric in each vehicle. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric also runs on battery power alone, requiring no gasoline and producing zero carbon dioxide emissions. In 2009 Ford mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25% recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles. Carol Kordich, lead designer of Sustainable Materials for Ford, says Ford is taking it a step further by mandating that fabric be 100% sustainable in vehicles with eco-conscious powertrains like Focus Electric. Repreve fits the bill, she says, because it is a combination of post-industrial fiber waste and post-consumer waste, like the plastic water bottles made of Polyethylene terephthalate plastic.Using Repreve also reduces energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production. Repreve meets all Ford performance requirements, says Kordich, and Ford already is considering other uses across its entire car and truck lineup. Ford’s reduce, reuse and recycle commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world. In November, Ford announced it is using 25 20-ounce plastic bottles to make the carpeting in every all-new Ford Escape utility vehicle it builds. It is the first time Ford has used this type of carpeting in an SUV. Over the past several years Ford has concentrated on increasing the use of nonmetal recycled and bio-based materials whenever possible, provided these materials are environmentally favorable in the specific application.Examples include soy foam seat cushions and head restraints, wheat straw-filled plastic, castor oil foam in instrument panels, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components. POST-CRASH VOLT FIRE PROMPTS NEW SAFETY STUDY DETROIT, MI—Federal regulators, stressing they see no consumer safety issue, have launched a new study of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) after a battery pack for a Chevrolet Volt caught fire three weeks after the car was crashed in a side-impact collision test. The Volt fire occurred in June at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s test facility in Wisconsin, where the wrecked Volt was being stored. Since then, NHTSA has contacted all major automakers with Evs in their lineups or in the future product plans with questions about lithium-ion battery safety. Both General Motors and NHTSA have tried to replicate the post-crash fire but have not been able to, a GM spokesman says. While lithium is highly flammable and there have been several instances of lithium-ion batteries in laptop computErs catching fire, automakers use multiple safety systems in their EV battery packs to safeguard against heat build-up and other “thermal incidents” that could lead to EV battery fires. GM suggested in a statement that the fire at the NHTSA facility occurred because testers did not de-energize the Volt’s battery after the side-impact crash test and stored the wrecked car with a live battery pack. It appears that coolant that leaked after the crash came into contact with the battery and was ignited. NHTSA, which is looking into automakers’ procedures for “draining” EV batteries after collisions, said in a statement that it has no reason to believe that electric vehicles are any more dangerous—or fire prone—than conventional gasoline vehicles. Separately, Nissan North America, which has been selling the all-electric Leaf hatchback since December 2010, says that There have been no reported incidents of a Leaf battery fire. Both the Volt and the Leaf have been given 5-star crashtest safety ratings by NHTSA. The agency said that its chief concerns in the wake of the Wisconsin blaze is that tow operators, wrecking ad storage yard personnel and safety responders all are aware of the need to de-energize EV batteries and of the process involved. More than 8,000 Leafs and 5,000 Volts are on the road in the United States and only two other Volt-involved fires have been reported and neither has been a lithium-ion battery fire. In the most recent case, a garage at a North Carolina home burned on Oct. 30 and early speculation centered on the home charging station in the garage. But in a recent report, the Green Car Reports blog quotes a Mooresville, NC, fire investigator as saying that his preliminary findings in a much-reported garage fire involving a Volt show that neither the car nor the home charging unit was the cause. The Volt was hooked up to the charging station and early reports speculated that the charger had malfunctioned. But the deputy fire marshal for the county said his early findings show that the blaze started elsewhere in the garage and then involved the Volt and the charging station. GM, Nissan, NHTSA, Siemens—maker of the charging station—and power supplier Duke Energy all have sent investigators to the Mooresville fire site. In the first incident a garage in Connecticut burned, destroying a Volt and a homemade Suzuki-based electric car that was parked next to it. Fire investigators determined that the fire did not originate with either vehicle or their chargers. Jim Federico, GM’s chief engineer for electric vehicles, said in a statement that the company “is working with other vehicle manufacturers, first responders, tow truck operators and salvage associations with the goal of implementing industry-wide protocols” for safe handling and storage of electric vehicles and their batteries in the aftermath of a crash. GM, he says, has its own protocols to “depower the battery of an electric vehicle after a significant crash” and has engineered the Volt with multiple on-board safety systems.The Volt, he says, “is a safe car.” GE’S SENSING BUSINESS GETS GOVERNMENT GRANT TO DEVELOP UK METROLOGY CENTER GROBY, LEICESTER, UNITED KINGDOM— The Groby manufacturing site of GE’s Sensing business, part of GE Energy, Measurement & Control Solutions, has been awarded £4.2 million ($5.76 million) over the next five years from the U.K. Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The funding will be used to help the company to develop its GE U.K. metrology center and to continue its investment in advanced pressure sensor design and manufacture, creating innovative products for harsh environments, ranging from aerospace to sub-sea oil and gas production. The RGF is a £1.4 ($1.89) billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2014. It provides targeted support for businesses to allow them to expand and create jobs. The award is recognition of GE’s significant growth over the past few years and acknowledges and supports its planned investment in innovative technologies for a wide range of market segments, which will sustain existing jobs at the Groby site as well as creating a number of highly skilled, engineering and advanced manufacturing posts. As Groby Site Leader Tim Povall explains, “We already are seen in GE as a Center of Excellence for pressure technology and can point to recent important developments such as our 4Sight calibration and maintenance software and our TERPS pressure sensor technology. This new funding will help us to continue to build our research and development capabilities and establish a world-class metrology center for GE in the East Midlands.” NO NEW U.S. PLANT FOR MAXED-OUT HYUNDAI ANN ARBOR, MI—With explosive U. S.-market sales virtually demanding the company find a way to get more cars into customers’ hands, Hyundai Motor America is not ready to commit to a second assembly plant in the United States, president and CEO John Krafcik told reporters at a media event at the company’s technical center near Ann Arbor, MI, in November. Krafcik insists that despite a meteoric post-recession sales climb and excruciatingly thin inventories for many models, Hyundai has not Made the decision to build another U.S. assembly plant to add to its current site in Montgomery, AL, that started production in early 2005. Along with the Korea-based Hyundai Group’s affiliated Kia Motors America’s assembly plant in West Point, GA, the company currently has capacity to build about 400,000 vehicles in the United States—but the “problem” is that both Hyundai and Kia have been setting monthly and annual sales and market-share gains for several years—and record October sales for both brands were emblematic of their new front-runner status. In October, Hyundai and Kia surpassed their full-year 2010 sales performance, itself a record sales year for both; the two companies combined for 10-month sales just shy of 1 million units. In October, Hyundai’s year-to-date sales were up 21% (compared with its record 2010) and retail sales were up 31%. Hyundai’s looming supply crisis is underscored by its almost nonexistent inventories, which since the Japan earthquake in March have dipped to levels one-third of what is considered healthy. Hyundai says its days supply in July was 21 days, a low for the year, and things had scarcely improved by October, when the company set its new sales record for the month despite a 26-day supply. “We’ve got a lot of headwind, a lot of opportunity to grow the brand in the U.S.,” Krafcik says, while simultaneously sticking to the story that Hyundai, acutely concerned about maintaining quality, is not considering another U.S. assembly plant. Hyundai’s U.S. boss did say the company is projecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales in 2012 of about 13.5 million units (vs. The 12.8-million SAAR predicted for 2011), and says Hyundai “should at least grow with the industry next year.” The extra sales are not likely to Come from increased output from the Group’s two U.S. factories, however (Kia’s Georgia plant makes the Santa Fe midsize crossover for Hyundai). Krafcik says the company already wrung out unexpected combined extra output of about 10% for 2011, mostly through increased efficiencies, so little more can be expected. Instead, he says, Hyundai sales will increase with incremental volume from new or revised imported models, including an all-new Azera full-size sedan and a redesigned Genesis coupe and sedan, among others. But Krafcik’s admonitions that Hyundai is not working on U.S. expansion plans sound increasingly less convincing. The Alabama plant, which makes the popular new Elantra compact car and its bigger counterpart, the Sonata midsize sedan, is running flat-out and was scheduled to make about 330,000 vehicles in 2011, not to mention the high-volume 2-liter and 2. 4-liter 4-cylinder engines used for the Sonata and Kia’s Optima. The plant also is adding construction of the Nu 1. 8-liter 4-cylinder engine family, used in the Elantra. Unless another economic or natural catastrophe rears up to grenade sales, it seems inevitable Hyundai must address its stretched-to-the-max production. MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY ORDERS UP 91.9% IN 2011 McLEAN, VA—September U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $606.56 million according to the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA) and The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 22.9% from August and up 51.9% when compared with the total of $399.32 million reported for September 2010. With a year-to-date total of $4,074.00 million, 2011 is up 91. 9% compared with 2010. These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program. “September numbers were the second highest monthly dollar total in the last 15 years,” says Peter Borden, AMTDA president. “American manufacturers are still rushing to beat the end-of-year bonus depreciation deadline.” The United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, jointly compiled by the two trade associations representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of manufacturing technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity. U. S. manufacturing technology orders also is reported on a regional basis for five geographic breakdowns of the United States: • Northeast. At $112.75 million, September manufacturing technology orders in the Northeast region were Up 74.6% when compared with the $64.56 million total for August and up 71.9% when compared with September a year ago. The year-to-date total of $612.93 million is 65.0% more than the comparable figure for 2010. • Southern. September manufacturing technology orders in the Southern region totaled $78.04 million, 34.5% more than August’s $58.03 million and 16.1% more than the September 2010 total. With a year-to-date total of $513.08 million, 2011 is up 63.2% when compared with 2010 at the same time. • Midwest. Midwest region manufacturing technology orders in September stood at $175.88 million, 3. 7% less than the August total of $182.55 million but up 48.9% when compared with last September. At $1,376.97 million, the 2011 year-todate total is 119.6% more than the comparable figure for 2010. • Central. Manufacturing technology orders in the Central region in September totaled $170.82 million, up 22.4% from August’s $139.55 million and up 48.1% when compared with the September 2010 figure. The $1,098.33 million year-to-date total is 92.0% higher than the total for the same period in 2010. • Western. Western region manufacturing technology orders totaled $69.07 million in September, 41.9% more than the $48.66 million total for August and up 109.1% higher than the tally for September 2010. At $472.69 million, 2011 year-to-date is up 98.0% when compared with last year at the same time. AUTOMATE AND PROMAT TO COLOCATE IN 2013 CHICAGO—Automation Technologies Council (ATC) and the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) announce that the Automate Show and Conference will once again colocate with ProMat in 2013. Both exhibitions will be held January 21-24, 2013, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Automate 2013 is an event for robots, vision, motion control and related automation solutions in North America. ProMat is the premier material handling and logistics show held in North America. The colocation of events is the latest effort by ATC and MHIA to help end users find solutions to their manufacturing and supply chain challenges. “We had such terrific feedback from attendees and exhibitors in 2011 that it made perfect sense to build upon and expand our colocation in 2013,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of ATC. “We’re looking forward to an outstanding Automate event that educates current and potential users on how automation solutions can help them improve productivity; boost product quality, speed time to market, reduce costs and become stronger global competitors.” “The decision to colocate ProMat 2013 and Automate 2013 was an easy one after the successful collocation of these events in 2011,” says George Prest, COO for MHIA. “The colocation of Automate with ProMat 2013 will allow manufacturing, distribution and supply chain professionals unparalleled education and networking opportunities as well as exposure to the largest equipment and technology display of any show of its kind in North America.” The colocated Automate 2013 and ProMat 2013 will be the largest international event and conference of its kind ever held in the United States. More than 825 exhibitors are expected to showcase their solutions to some 30,000 professionals from more than 100 countries in industries such as warehousing/ distribution, automotive, alternative energy, consumer goods, defense, food and beverage, electronics, lab automation, medical, pharmaceutical, plastics, printing, security, semiconductors and more. CATERPILLAR EXPANDING OPERATIONS IN INDIA CHENNAI, INDIA—Caterpillar Inc. will build a $150 million engine manufacturing facility in India that will produce Perkins branded 4000 Series engines. Perkins is a subsidiary of Caterpillar. The company is also investing an additional $62 million in its existing off-highway truck manufacturing facility in Chennai. The new investment to expand truck capacity in Chennai is in addition to a $108 million investment for Chennai that Caterpillar announced in 2010. Together these new investments will help support customers in India and other growth markets, and are part of Caterpillar’s goal to be the leader in its industry in India. PEOPLE NEWS The ASM Philadelphia Chapter (Hatfield, PA) named MIKE MCVAUGH, president of Laboratory Testing Inc. (LTI), as the 2011 Eisenman Award recipient. The annual award is presented in recognition of dedicated service to ASM, foresight, leadership and promotion of the metals industry and metallurgical education.McVaugh received the award at the October 20, 2011, Chapter meeting and made a presentation on the topic, Technology Has Taken Testing to a New Level, which covered the evolution of materials testing at LTI over the past 27 years, including broader capabilities, equipment enhancements and tighter quality control.The first Armand V. Feigenbaum Lifetime Achievement Medal was presented to YUANZHANG LIU, research professor of the Academy of Math and System Sciences, Shanghai, China. He received this medal in recognition of his promotion of total quality management in China for more than 50 years during which time he accomplished many firsts. Some of them are: • He founded the first research group of TQM for China in 1957. • He opened the first training seminar on quality control in China in 1957. • He was the first to write a series of weekly articles to introduce quality control in Workers Daily in 1979. • He was the first to start and host a TV program on TQM in 1979. • He was first editor and chief of the China Quality Magazine. Spectroscopy specialist Starna Scientific (Essex, England) has appointed NATHAN HULME to the role of director to help guide the company’s expansion plans. Hulme’s main responsibilities will include assisting in setting out an overall business strategy for the company that will address communications with customers and dealers as well as involving leadership of the sales team. Transcat Inc. (Rochester, NY), a distributor of professional grade handheld test and measurement instruments and accredited provider of calibration, repair and other measurement services, has appointed LEE D. RUDOW to the role of chief operating officer. ASSOCIATION NEWS THE COORDINATE METROLOGY SOCIETY (CMS, Benbrook, TX) has announced the results of its large-scale, interactive measurement study conducted at the 27th annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC). The 58-page report entitled “How Behavior Impacts Your Measurement,” focuses on measurement strategies and behaviors of coordinate metrologists. More than 100 conference attendees participated in the data collection activity coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory (UK) assisted by members of the CMS Certification Committee. Metrology is the science of measurement, and professionals in this field work in diverse industries such as aerospace, automotive and power generation. During the two-day study, participants were asked to perform three tasks using portable 3-D coordinate metrology equipment for data acquisition: to measure a door using a combination of a laser tracker, retro reflectors and software; to measure an engine compartment using a combination of an articulating arm, probe and software; and to measure a vehicle using a combination of a laser tracker, probing and laser scanning system. The final report reveals various results based on 3-D measurement tasks executed with little or no instruction, as compared to the outcome of 3-D measurement tasks completed using procedures, or a participant guiding an operator with methodology to collect the needed measurements. The study was sponsored by Metrologic Group and its U.S. subsidiary ATT Metrology.
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