Today in randomness on Etsy.com: check out this human thumb-shaped USB drive. The gadget is made from flesh-tinted urethane and based on a rubber cast of the creator’s own thumb. Um, ew? Anyone else think a human thumb coming out of your laptop is a bit too Salvador Dali-ish for real life? [Etsy.com]
Significant changes are underway at Renosol's Bay City manufacturng plant.
Online PR News – 29-June-2010 – A major revitalization is underway at Renosol Corporation’s Bay City, Michigan, manufacturing site. Dennis Resseguie, Plant Manager, has expanded operations by 15,800 square feet, reorganized and streamlined operations, and has introduced new processing capabilities.
A co-tenant of Renosol, which had shared Renosol space at 691 River Road in Bay City, relocated in 2009 and terminated its lease. Resseguie used this opportunity to improve the exterior of the property, add break room accommodations for Renosol employees, refurbish office areas, re-configure manufacturing processes, purchase production equipment and pave driveways and the parking lot.
Several equipment purchases give Renosol added capacity and manufacturing flexibility. Renosol molds many different polyurethane products, each of which requires different polyurethane foams, with discrete processing parameters. Renosol now has the capability of manufacturing a wider variety of polyurethane products, from flexible foam to rigid foam (including honeycomb materials) integral skin products, energy absorbing foam, structural foam and high durometer and density dunnage foams.
The expansion also allowed for the recent addition of plastisol compounding capability in Bay City, bringing this operation in closer proximity to Renosol customers. Renosol Corporation has custom-formulated plastisol molding compounds since its formation in 1981, and has unique color-matching capabilities for critical automotive industry standards.
Resseguie has proven adept at utilizing the broad range of talents found among his Bay City team: renovations to the office area were completed entirely with Renosol personnel. Bay City’s engineering expertise is creative in its solutions through the use of the extraordinary imaginations of his employees: his team – in addition to their normal manufacturing duties – not only re-configured the manufacturing operations, they routinely refurbish and build specialized production machinery from the floor up.
Says Resseguie, “I marvel at my team’s creativity and energy every day. Our production staff is as solid as they come. We don’t have turnover problems, and we don’t have quality issues at our customers’ facilities. My technical team knows its business and has lots of experience in manufacturing. The engineering team is by far the most creative I have worked with. These guys can design a production line and then go out and build it.”
In 1998, after studying manufacturing engineering at Central Michigan University, Resseguie met Warren Wright, President and acting plant manager of Renosol’s Farwell, Michigan, facility. Wright offered Resseguie the position of Industrial Engineer for a major production start-up. Resseguie accepted. Resseguie was quickly promoted to Operations Manager, then to Plant Manager of the Bay City operation in 2005. Today – 10 years after joining Renosol – Resseguie still exudes enthusiasm about his career at Renosol.
“Renosol gives me the pleasure of working for an organization that treats you like family. During the last ten years, I’ve seen Renosol make sacrifices to keep its family together during difficult times. That drives all of us to stay focused and work smarter,” said Resseguie.
Renosol Corporation was formed in 1981 out of Hoover Universal’s chemical specialties division. Its strong background in formulation and experience with processing challenges dovetail well with specialty molding of polyurethane. Among Renosol’s suite of polyurethane options are noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) dampening, energy absorbing (EA), flexible, rigid/structural, microcellular, elastomeric, integral skin and visco-elastic foams.
Renosol Corporation also custom formulates plastisol molding and dipping compounds, material handling dunnage and racking systems. Marine, automotive, industrial, packaging and sporting goods are among the industries it serves.
DETROIT — General Motors laid out a plan on Tuesday to increase sales worldwide and eliminate its debt — evidence, company officials said, that the carmaker had overhauled its way of doing business since filing for bankruptcy protection last year.
“We are not re-introducing G.M. today,” Edward E. Whitacre Jr., the G.M. chairman and chief executive, told financial analysts and investors gathered in suburban Detroit.
“We are introducing a new G.M., because we are a new and a much different company than we were 12 months ago.”
The biggest question on most everyone’s mind — the timing of the company’s initial public offering — was not addressed at the all-day event; G.M. has hinted in the past that it would come late in the year.
The revamped company, 61 percent owned by the federal government, emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009.
The new G.M. is profitable, Mr. Whitacre said, referring to first-quarter earnings of $865 million, the company’s first profit since 2007.
It became so by eradicating the bad habits, distractions and poor decision-making that caused the old company to fail, he said.
“If we once did things that didn’t support the vision,” Mr. Whitacre said, “and believe me, we did plenty of those, it’s dead now or it’s on its way out. It’s breathing its last breath.”
Executives said that North American consumers were paying an average of $3,000 more for G.M. vehicles than they did a year ago and that factories were running almost at full capacity to keep up with higher demand for many vehicles.
And they said G.M., which is cutting 8,300 jobs in Europe at its troubled Opel division, would break even next year before generating “significant profits” as the region’s economy improved.
In the rest of the world, the executives said G.M. planned to introduce 70 new models by 2014 to take advantage of emerging and rapidly growing markets.
Christopher P. Liddell, G.M.’s chief financial officer, said forecasts for worldwide growth in demand for cars and trucks by 2014 showed that the company could increase sales by 2.6 million vehicles a year just by maintaining its current market share.
Because G.M. is already earning profits at today’s depressed sales levels, that increase represents a “massive economic opportunity,” he said.
Mr. Liddell said G.M. planned to work toward paying off all of its debt, which stood at $42.2 billion as of March 31, including pension obligations.
Doing so should result in a return to the “strong investment grade” credit rating it enjoyed for most of its history, he said.
“We’ll always have a little bit of debt for tactical reasons, but conceptually we should have no debt, and we should have a fully funded pension plan,” he said.
“You will see every dollar of spare cash that we generate put toward that use over the next few years.”
Also on Tuesday, the so-called old G.M. — the unit that is disposing of assets that did not get carried out of bankruptcy with the new company — moved closer to the sale of a closed plant in Wilmington, Del.
A federal bankruptcy judge approved the $20 million sale to Fisker Automotive, which plans to build plug-in electric cars there.
TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese and US universities have jointly developed a medical technique that can quickly detect various cancers using a simple saliva test, researchers said on Tuesday.
Japan's Keio University and University of California, Los Angeles, have developed the technology with which they detected high probabilities of pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer.
The researchers analysed saliva samples of 215 people, including cancer patients, and identified 54 substances whose presence can be used to detect the disease, Keio University said in a statement released Monday.
By further analysing the substances, the test detected 99 percent of pancreatic cancer cases, 95 percent of breast cancer and 80 percent of oral cancer cases among those taking part, it said.
The cancer test using the technology would take half a day at the longest, the researchers said.
The new technology can detect up to 500 different substances found in saliva at one time, said professor Tomoyoshi Soga at Keio's Institute for Advanced Biosciences.
He said the technology would make it especially easier to detect pancreatic and oral cancers.
"The survival rates of pancreatic cancer and oral cancer are especially low, because they don't show clear symptoms in early stages, which often delays spotting of the illness," the statement said.
"Saliva can be sampled more easily and casually than blood or stool inspection," said institute head Masaru Tomita in the statement.
"We would like to apply this technology not only to cancer cases but also other illnesses as well," he said.
Entrepreneurship Helps Make America Great
For all its problems, America is a great place. And one thing that makes America great is its prosperity. Yes, some people have suffered during the recession -- but compared to all the other countries in the history of the world, America is rich. Why?
One reason is that America is a good place to do business.
Dinesh D'Souza, author of "What's So Great about America," points out: "In most other societies, the businessman has been looked down upon. He's been seen as a kind of sleazy guy. But then American founders specifically put protection for patents and trademarks in the Constitution.
And suddenly, the entrepreneur is taken from the bottom of the heap and brought to the front."
Today, Asian students crush Americans on standardized tests, but it's Americans who invent things like the transistor and the integrated circuit and go on to win disproportionate numbers of Nobel Prizes. Our culture of entrepreneurship turns that science into wealth.
TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan is from Britain, but he says his business didn't thrive there.
"I found in England if there's 10 reasons you could do something, there's 20 reasons why you couldn't do it, you shouldn't do it, " says Sullivan. "I found in the States that people will give you a shot."
One sign of this attitude is that it's relatively easy to start a business here. I opened one in Wilmington, Del. I named it the Stossel Store. It was just a table from which I pitched my "Give Me a Break" book and Fox merchandise. I picked Wilmington because our research showed that Delaware and Nevada make opening a business easier than other states. It still took me a week to get legal permission, but it would have taken much longer in Europe.
"I have started businesses in the U.K. and India. It takes at least a month or more just to open doors," A.J. Khubani, president of TeleBrands, says.
Unfortunately, bureaucrats are threatening this good part of America. I had to register with the Delaware Secretary of State and the Division of Corporations, get a federal employer identification number, buy commercial liability insurance, register with the Delaware state Department of Finance, etc.
I didn't even try to open a business in my hometown, New York City, because the bureaucracy is so ferocious. The fastest-growing cities of the world make it easier. In Hong Kong several years ago, I got a business permit in just one day. It's a reason Hong Kong is rich. Entrepreneurs are encouraged.
But at least America is a close second.
America also has a different idea about failure. The Stossel Store was a bad idea. I lost money. D'Souza says that in other places, that would be evidence that I am a complete failure. I tried to make a profit, failed and so shouldn't try again.
That's the attitude in most of the world, says D'Souza.
"You say: 'You know what? I tried my hand at business. It didn't work. Now, let me take a salary job where I'll have some security."
He says that's not true in America.
"An American will start a company. It'll fail. Pretty soon, he's starting a newspaper, or he's now trying to export fish to Japan."
We know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but Edison failed much more often than he succeeded. He had hundreds of failures. He was fired by the telegraph office, and lost money on a cement company and an iron business. Henry Ford's first company failed completely. Dr. Seuss' first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Oprah was fired from her first job as a reporter. A TV station called her unfit for television.
"There's something in the American temperament that says, 'Gosh, I lost seven times but that's OK,'" D'Souza says. "And I think that that's a resiliency of the American spirit."
It's one of several great things about America.
By Amy Thomson
June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company, will start selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone next year, ending AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the smartphone in the U.S., two people familiar with the plans said.
The device will be available to customers in January, according to the people, who declined to be named because the information isn’t public. Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, and Peter Thonis, a Verizon Communications Inc. spokesman, declined to comment.
The iPhone, which has been the sole domain of rival AT&T in the U.S. since June 2007, will give Verizon a boost in its competition for smartphone customers, UBS AG analyst John Hodulik said in an interview. Verizon customers, who numbered 92.8 million at the end of the first quarter, may buy 3 million iPhones a quarter, he estimates.
“The fact is, Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends,” said Hodulik, who is based in New York and rates Verizon shares “neutral.” “It’s hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T has faced.”
Verizon Wireless, which is building a high-speed fourth- generation network, plans to unveil a number of devices that will run on the new technology in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam has said.
Verizon Communications, which co-owns the wireless company with Vodafone Group Plc, rose 28 cents to $28.99 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 3:08 p.m. AT&T declined 54 cents to $24.41. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, dropped $9.45 to $258.85 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Last Updated: June 29, 2010 15:10 EDT
July US propylene contract expected to fall 2-3 cents: sources
Houston (Platts)--23Jun2010/1219 pm EDT/1619 GMT
The expected drop in chemical-grade and polymer-grade propylene could be
less than originally anticipated as refinery-grade propylene prices have
rebounded this week.
"The refinery-grade sentiment is turning around," a trading source said
Wednesday. "Some people were talking about a 4-cent drop in the contract. But
with refinery-grade hitting bottom, and coming back up, the most we can expect
to see is a 2- to 3-cent drop. That would be the maximum."
The polymer-grade contract for June was settled at 55.5 cents/lb
($1,223.55/mt) delivered. The chemical-grade price was settled at 54 cents/lb
delivered. The last polymer-grade trade was heard done at 51 cents/lb, while
the last chemical-grade deal was done at 49.5 cents/lb.
Refinery-grade propylene for June traded at 43 cents/lb on Tuesday, up
more than 2 cents from Monday. A 41 cents/lb trade was also heard done, but
the timing of the deal could not be confirmed.
Olefins prices have been stronger across the board this week following
the unexpected shutdown of Chevron Phillips' Port Arthur, Texas plant. The
plant shut during the weekend weekend following a loss of steam supply to the
plant, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality. According to the filing, there was an "emergency shutdown of all
process units due to disruption of steam supply to the plant."
Calls to Chevron Phillips seeking comment were not returned. The Port
Arthur facility produces ethylene, propylene and cyclohexane. According to the
filing affected units include cyclohexane and ethylene units, as well as
cumene feed preparation units. The plant produces approximately 1.75 billion
lbs/year of ethylene and propylene.
--Jim Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Mattress manufacturer bounces into profit but warns on economic outlook and VAT increases||29/06/2010|
The British-based mattress manufacturer Airsprung reported today (29
June) that it had increased sales and turned last year's losses to
profits but warned that it would continue to take "vigorous steps" to
ensure future progress.
Airsprung – which manufacturer beds, mattresses and sofa beds, under the Airsprung, Gainsborough, Hush and Hush-a-Bye brands as well as operating the Cavendish Upholstery, Airofreem foam component and Arena graphic design businesses – saw sales for the year ended 31 March rise 9% on the prior year to £46.5 million, while pre-tax profit was £978,000, a strong recovery after last year's loss of £417,000 and representing a favourable swing of £1.4 million.
Commenting on the results, chairman Stuart Lyons said: "Airsprung Group is well positioned in the marketplace but vigorous steps will continue to be necessary to secure a satisfactory platform for future progress. Our management teams are continuing to look for operational and buying efficiencies, and to develop strategic and market opportunities."
Among the Group's bed brands, all based on sites in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, Airsprung Beds was the major driver of £38.0 million-worth of sales and £1.5 million profit. While the sales were little changed from the previous year in a challenging marketplace, significant reductions in direct and indirect costs were achieved while maintaining raw materials cost ratios. The Gainsborough and Hush businesses achieved increased sales in a difficult market, but at lower gross margins.
The Group's three business activities outside the bed sector are Cavendish Upholstery, Airofreem and Arena.
After a difficult three years and following a change in its retail business model, Cavendish Upholstery – which manufactures and distributes upholstered furniture from its site in Chorley, Lancashire – saw increased revenues of well over 50%, and a 70% reduction in losses over the previous year.
Airofreem – which supplies cut foam components increased its margins during the year as a result of greater operational efficiencies despite rising costs for petrochemically derived materials.
The graphic design business Arena also had a good year and is developing strength in web design.
Combined, sales for these three businesses rose to £8.4 million, yielding pre-tax profits of £0.4 million.
However, looking ahead, Airsprung said that trading in the first quarter of the current financial year had been weaker than expected with revenues for the first two months (April and May) down on last year and it was likely that profits for the first six months will fall modestly below the level of 2009.