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* Online technology advisory board launched

Decision Analyst Inc., a U.S.-based marketing research firm, recently launched The Technology Advisory Board[TM].

This worldwide group of technology professionals aims to shape the future through online discussions and surveys. The Board is composed of engineers, scientists, information systems analysts, programmers, web developers and others employed in high-tech occupations. Executives are also invited to join.

Board members are paid for opinions and advice ranging from $10 to $200 or more per survey based on the length of questionnaire or discussion. Membership is free and participants can express opinions, give advice and argue viewpoints to help governments and corporations make decisions on technological issues and new high-technology products and services. Board member opinions, information and advice are given anonymously. Member answers are grouped and reported as statistical summaries.

The board's purpose is for marketing, business and economic research as part of Decision Analyst Inc., an international marketing and opinion research firm headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. The firm specializes in new product development research, strategic analyses, advertising testing, and econometrics research.

For more information, visit

* Uniform color code adds purple to its markers

The color purple has joined the unofficial, widely accepted uniform color code for marking underground utilities in construction and excavation areas.

The American Public Works Association (APWA), with recommendations from One-Call Systems International, approved the addition to designate reclaimed water, irrigation or slurry lines to offset the blue markers indicating potable water lines.

The change is incorporated in APWA's Guideline for Uniform Temporary Marking of Underground Facilities, which has become a standard in many states and abroad. The purple hue - Pantone Color No. 253 - provides recognition for normal and color-deficient observers.

Other recent guideline improvements focus on marking out-of-service or abandoned facilities and a suggestion that a small stencil or logo be used when a line is designated by someone other than the property owner. It was also recommended that multiple lines in a joint trench be marked in tandem.

* Food processing plants benefit from batch control

A new study shows that batch processing manufacturers, including food plants, will spend nearly $3 billion by 2003.

As the demand increases for more automated batch systems and larger users drive innovation, food industry users are benefiting from technology transfer.

The global batch processing market is growing faster than the overall process control market, reports the Dedham, Massachusetts-based ARC Advisory Group study. Growth is due to increased awareness of batch control benefits and cost-effective solutions, along with the expanding pharmaceutical, fine chemical and consumer goods industries.

The study predicts that the batch control market in North America and Europe will experience average growth over the next five years, while Japan will show less than average growth. Some Asian and Latin American countries are expected to show higher than average growth.

Large, sophisticated users are more likely to integrate systems with higher-level production management systems such as manufacturing execution and/or plant information management systems, and manufacturing resource and/or enterprise planning backbone-level systems.

For the full report, Worldwide Batch Control System Outlook - Market Analysis and Forecast through 2003, contact Jan Carman at ARC, 781-471-1149, jcarman

* Slow commodity price recovery projected

Producers are unlikely to see a rebound from low commodity prices this year. But the outlook for long-term recovery remains strong, the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute's (FAPRI) August Agricultural Outlook reports.

Financial assistance from the U.S. Congress will also give producer income a boost this year, FAPRI analysts/economists at the University of Missouri said during a recent marketing teleconference. The teleconference was hosted by Texas' Lubbock County Extension office and Lubbock County Marketing Club.

FAPRI, a dual-university research program established in 1984 by congressional grant, has offices and staff at Iowa State University and the University of Missouri. The institute uses data and computer modeling systems to analyze the economic interrelationships of agricultural production, food and agribusiness. This baseline information is shared with producers and agribusiness, policy makers and international commodity markets.

The institute collaborates with Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, University of Arkansas and North Dakota State University. The teleconference is a monthly network that involves producers and marketing clubs in several states and features comments from analysts on current market developments and marketing strategies producers can use to capitalize on the market.

FAPRI's long-term analysis calls for six to seven positive price years within the next decade.

Scott Brown, FAPRI livestock analyst, is optimistic about a long-term rebound in livestock prices due to strong potential for global economic growth. Although corn exports are expected to lag 75 million bushels behind 1998's exports, carryover stocks should drop by as much as 200 million bushels by the end of the year. FAPRI expects cotton carryover stocks to increase this year.

FAPRI co-director Robert Young says the U.S. Senate's $7.4 billion financial assistance package for producers would renew Step 2 funds through 2002, provide $5.4 billion in market loss assistance payments, increase a producer's farm program payment limitation from $75,000 to $150,000 and provide $400 million in crop insurance premium discounts.

FAPRI's research information and market outlook reports are available at

* UK government says water leaks at new low

Plugging leaks, improving water quality and protecting the environment are being delivered as part of the United Kingdom government's better deal for water customers.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott confirmed that water companies are on target to cut leakage by at least 25%. This step marks progress on one of the commitments set out in his 10-point action plan agreed to at the 1997 Water Summit. At the summit, he suggested a plan for a sustainable water environment. Some accomplishments since then include:

* cleaner and healthier bathing waters,

* more than five times as many shellfish waters protected, and

* an investment program to clean up rivers and beaches.

Water companies' performance reported in the last year show that overall, leakage was reduced 11%. In the two years since the summit, more than 200 million gallons (760 million liters) a day have been saved, which is enough to supply all of Yorkshire Water's customers.

To reach goals to cut water leakage, companies have distributed millions of water saving devices and provided free water audits.

In the last two years, the quality of some 310 miles (500 kilometers) of rivers has been improved so much it moved them into a higher class in the Environment Agency's general quality assessment. Another 200 kilometers of rivers are expected to move up this year.

* Techtextil 1999 innovation prizes awarded

Ten works from Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland have been honored with the Techtextil Innovation Prize for 1999.

The Techtextil Innovation Prize aims to make new ideas visible and promote new technology in technical textiles, nonwovens and textile-reinforced materials.

The prize jury reports that the standard of works submitted this year was higher than in the past and the range of themes expanded with a shift toward new applications and products. Prizes for

1999 went to:Research:

* Nonwovens for regenerating human tissue. The material produces organ parts, such as ears, along with cell cultures.

* Virtual production process for textiles.

New processes:

* Thermal coating of metals on technical textiles.

* High-strength concrete poles with carbon-fiber plastic reinforcement.

New applications:

* Contractible floating barrier for encircling and pumping out oil on the water surface.

* Pneumatic muscle. Uses air as a plastic building material for hybrid air vehicles, pneumatic halls and other applications.

* Pultruded joists made of textile-glass reinforced plastic for buildings. Initially used in a building to replace steel joists.

* Base mats made of textile waste for reposition plants. Can be used for planting steep and sloping roofs without earth, for embankments and as floating plant islands for water purification.

New products:

* Car towing system made of composites. Results in significant weight savings.

* Screening system for electro-smog. Based on copper coated textile-glass fabric, offers protection against perturbing radiation.

* Farm machinery sales increase in Finland

Agricultural machinery valued at $460 million was sold in 1998 in Finland marking the fifth consecutive year sales increased since the country's recession began in the early 1990s.

Tractors, which accounted for nearly half the sales value, decreased from 5,453 units sold in 1997 to 4,997 sold in 1998. But combine sales nearly doubled to 696 units. Finnish-made machinery's share of the total sales are up 48%, in terms of value.

Finnish farmers spend 46%, nearly half of their machinery investments, on tractors and roughly 5% of farms bought a new tractor last year. The average size of sold tractors has increased about two kilowatts per year. In 1998, 42 rear-wheel driven tractors were sold.

The combine business was weakest in 1995, when 180 combines were sold. Although sales have increased, more will be needed to meet the country's long-term harvesting capacity.

The most popular combine has a 128- to 152-inch (320- to 380-centimeter) working width. Until two years ago, 10 to 30 combines with larger than a 152-inch (380-centimeter) working width were sold annually. Last year, 126 combines in that class were sold.

Compared to 1997, 50% more stationary grain dryers and 35% more movable hot air dryers were sold in 1998.

These sales statistics were collected by the agricultural engineering unit of the Agricultural Research Centre of Finland.

* Grundfos donates pumps to Central America

Grundfos Pumps Manufacturing Corp. earlier this year donated submersible pump motors to Central America through The Wheel Chair Project, a nonprofit organization recommended by the American Red Cross.

The donation, estimated at $80,000, aims to aid Central Americans in economic recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Mitch.
Agricultural Machinery Sales in Finland 1996-1998

Tractors (# units sold) 1996 1997 1998

Rear-Wheel Drive

41-50 kW 21 8 1
51-60 kW 23 15 33
61-70 kW 6 24 7
71-80 kW 0 0 0
More than 80 kW 0 0 1

Total 50 47 42

Four-Wheel Drive

up to 40 kW 7 5 3
1-50 kW 195 197 192
51-60 kW 1,540 857 661
61-70 kW 1,885 2,571 2,346
71-80 kW 566 620 618
More than 80 kW 708 1,156 1,135

Total 4,901 5,406 4,955

Total tractors 4,951 5,453 4,997

Self-Propelled Combines

Cutting width up to 280 cm 25 0 0
Cutting width 280-319 cm 34 14 120
Cutting width 320-380 cm 133 267 450
Cutting width more than 380 cm 8 82 126

Total 200 363 696

Source: Agricultural Research Centre of Finland

"We have Grundfos people and Grundfos companies in Central America," says company President Bob Early. "We definitely wanted to help out, and felt that motors like those for our submersibles would be useful in helping to re-establish the groundwater supply where existing motors had been destroyed."

Grundfos is a worldwide centrifugal pump manufacturer for residential, agricultural, environmental and commercial applications. It has 53 companies in 36 countries employing more than 9,550 internationally.

* Drive axle, suspension companies merge

Tuthill Transport Technologies is the new business name arising from the acquisition and merger of two companies in the heavy-duty suspension and off-road axle industries.

Formerly known as Fluidrive, Inc. of Brookston, Indiana and Reyco Industries of Springfield and Mr. Vernon, Missouri, and Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, both companies were recently purchased by Tuthill Corp. of Hinsdale, Illinois.

The new company retains the Mud Hog[R] brand name for hydraulic axles for off-highway equipment. A new brand name, Reyco/Granning, describes suspension products for trucks, trailers and specialty vehicles such as motor homes, fire trucks, buses and ambulances.

Company officials say they will focus on customer needs by the establishing three customer service teams:

* trailer suspensions,

* truck/specialty vehicle suspensions,

* hydraulic axles.

Each team will be comprised of a cross-functional group including customer service, application engineering, and field sales and service. All other functions in the company are designed to support these teams.

Tuthill Transport Technologies has more than 400 employees and sells products around the globe. The parent company, Tuthill Corp., is a privately held company headquartered in Hinsdale. Tuthill has more than 20 manufacturing facilities with more than 3,000 employees on five continents.

* CSA changes name to CSA International

The Canadian Standards Association recently launched an international branding strategy that includes changing its name to CSA International.

Pat Paladino, vice president of certification and testing, says CSA's Board of Directors "agreed to a new vision for (CSA): to be perceived by members, customers, volunteers, regulators and employees as . . . global provider of integrated services for standards development, product certification and testing, inspection and management systems registration."

CSA will retain its legal name - Canadian Standards Association - but will use its brand name - CSA International. The CSA Mark and other product markings will not be affected by the name change. Local offices and contacts, phone numbers and other aspects of daily operations will remain unchanged.

* Gerber goes electronic for growers

This season, Gerber became first U.S. food processor to use a system requiring growers to file spray records electronically says Todd DeKryger, agricultural research specialist for the baby food company.

With more than 500 growers in 20 states delivering 13 fresh crops, Gerber found paper spray records for each block, grower and crop too cumbersome. Besides, that method produced 500 different sets of handwriting on forms that are open to interpretation.

Growers wanting to sell to Gerber had three options this year. The first involved buying Tiger Jill, a pesticide management software program. With this system, spray records are completed then downloaded to Gerber.

The second option was Gerber's private Web site,, which growers access using Microsoft Internet Explorer and a password. Growers fill an electronic form and print it as needed. Several layers of security on the site ensure no access to a grower's records except by Gerber.

The third option was for growers to take hard copy records to one of four U.S. sites and pay to have them typed into Tiger Jill then electronically sent to Gerber. Two of these sites are in Michigan and one each in North Carolina and Colorado.

Gerber leaders hope the new system will help them more efficiently understand material usage, evaluate grower performance and provide informed responses to consumer and regulatory questions.

* NSF and SME expand funding proposals

An expansion of the collaborative agreement between the National Science Foundation (NSF), Arlington, Virginia, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME-EF), Dearborn, Michigan, allows for co-funding proposals submitted to NSF's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and SME-EF's Manufacturing Education Plan (MEP) Grants Program.

Both organizations support technological education programs involving partnerships among two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities, secondary schools, business, industry and government. They also respond to the manufacturing sector's need for well prepared workers with adaptable skills.

The collaboration allows two-year college applicants to submit one proposal to NSF and SME-EF. It increases potential funding for industry driven change in high-technology manufacturing education. Evaluation results and budget allocations for the organizations will determine the number of joint awards.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that promotes and advances scientific and engineering progress in the United States. SME is an international professional society.

The SME Education Foundation's mission is to provide support for advancing manufacturing education. In 1999, the SME Education Foundation received 166 proposals from colleges and universities requesting $20.7 million. Since its inception in 1979, SME's Education Foundation has awarded cash grants of more than $11.2 million and in-kind gifts of more than $77.8 million to 378 colleges and universities.

* EMI announces 1998 Merit Award Winners

Winners of the 1998 Statistics Outstanding Merit Award were honored at an awards ceremony this summer by the Equipment Manufacturers Institute (EMI).

The 100% Club and Outstanding Merit Award honors statistical reporting companies that exemplify timeliness, accuracy, consistency and corporate citizenship in EMI statistical reporting. Forty-two award winners were recognized.

EMI statistical reporting companies receive points based on factors including prompt survey response, meeting attendance, reporting rule compliance, timeliness and accuracy.

Companies receiving 90% of possible points are awarded Outstanding Merit Award status. The 100% Club status is for companies achieving 100% of points.

* A friendly work place can save money

A recent study shows that rude employees can cost companies millions in lost productivity - and the biggest offenders are managers.

What employees think when a coworker is rude:

* 53% say they lost hours of productivity worrying, "What will happen next time?"

* 46% considered changing jobs.

* 37% felt less committed to their company.

* 22% deliberately got even by cutting back on efforts.

Keeping quiet about rude remarks may seem like the easy way out. But employees can get more positive results by:

* Repeating what was said. For example, "Let me see if I understood you correctly. Did you mean to say . . .?" Sometimes people don't realize they've been rude.

* Give people the benefit of the doubt. If they typically are not rude, assume they are having a bad day. Consider taking time to cool off before discussing the incident.

* Steer the discussion toward solutions. Resist the urge to let emotions interfere with reaching a positive outcome.

New on the Net

* The Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LASST) - LASST is an interdisciplinary research unit within the University of Maine comprised of faculty, staff, post-doctorates, graduate and undergraduate students from the departments of chemistry, physics and astronomy and electrical and computer engineering. LASST engages in research, public service and educational activities focused on training students in high technology areas related to surfaces, interfaces, and thin film materials. The site includes descriptions and images of projects, research facilities and personnel.

* Food security Web site - The USDA has established a Web site dedicated to the Secretary of Agriculture's Community Food Security Initiative. Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) staff created and hosts the site, which contains graphics created by the Economic Research Service.

* National Fluid Power Association's (NFPA) web site - Users are introduced to water hydraulics. The site provides a status report that explains how advancements have enabled engineers to use the performance features of water hydraulics. It also offers links to educational and environmental sites with information on safety, disposal and environmental issues.

EMI Merit Awards

100% Club Winners:

American Auger, Inc.

Melfred Borzall

Babson Bros. Co.

Paul Mueller Co.

Bou-Matic, Dairy Equipment Co.


Champion Road Machinery Ltd.

UpRight, Inc.

Deere & Company

Worksaver, Inc.

JLG Industries, Inc.

Outstanding Merit Awed Winners:

Alfa Laval Agri Canada

Kubota Tractor Corp.

Alfa Laval Agri, Inc.

Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co.

ARDCo/Traverse Lift, LLC

Long Agribusiness, LLC

Bell Equipment North America

MacDon Industries Ltd.

Bush Hog Division, Allied Products Corp.

MEC-Aerial Work Platforms

Case Corp.

Melroe Co.

Caterpiller Inc.

Moxy Trucks of America, Inc.

Charles Machine Works, Inc.

OmniQuip International, Inc.

Franklin/Tree Farmer

Partek Forest, Inc.

Gehl Co.

Patz Sales, Inc.

Hagie Manufacturing Co.

TCM America

JCB, Inc.

Time Condor Co.

J-Star Industries, Inc.

Volvo Construction Equipment North America, Inc.

KMN Modern Farm Equipment, Inc.

Westfalia Dairy Systems, Inc.

Kobelco America, Inc.

Woods Equipment Co.

Komatsu Mining Systems, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 1999 American Society of Agricultural Engineers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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