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Obama touts consumer watchdog's plans to regulate payday loans | Reuters


By Emily Stephenson and Julia Edwards


WASHINGTON/ BIRMINGHAM A U.S. consumer financial watchdog on Thursday outlined plans to crack down on payday lending practices that leave borrowers with debt they cannot repay, and President Barack Obama touted the move as a contrast with Republican polices.

Obama told an audience at a community college in Birmingham, Alabama, that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan would protect consumers while Republicans are seeking to unravel such financial safeguards.

"If you lend out money, you have to first make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back," Obama said.

Payday loans are small extensions of credit that borrowers agree to repay in a short time, such as when they next receive a paycheck. Similar products include car title loans, in which borrowers use vehicles as collateral, and installment loans, which can be longer-term and are paid back in larger amounts.

Lenders who offer the products say they help people who are strapped for cash. But consumer advocates say borrowers often roll over or refinance loans rather than paying them back, racking up debt due to high interest rates and fees.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are seeking to weaken the consumer watchdog agency by rolling back the Wall Street reform that established it after the 2008 financial crisis.

Obama said he would veto legislation that would unravel that reform.

The framework gives lenders two options. They can verify prospective borrowers' income and debt history upfront, or they can offer cheap repayment options and limit how many loans people may take out.

Even before the framework was released, lenders warned the consumer bureau not to disrupt access to credit.

"Consumers thrive when they have more choices, not fewer, and any new regulations must keep this in mind," the Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents short-term lenders, said in a statement on Wednesday.

A CFPB spokesman said a formal payday proposal could come later this year. A comment period for the industry would follow, after which the rules could be finalized.

Shares of consumer lenders dropped on Thursday. Enova International Inc (ENVA.N) shares were down 14.4 percent, First Cash Financial Services FCFS.O was down 2.2 percent and Cash America International Inc CSH.N was down 3.9 percent.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Julia Edwards; Editing by Dan Grebler, W Simon, Bernard Orr and David Gregorio)

Mexico stealing factory jobs? Blame automation instead


WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump blames Mexico and China for stealing millions of jobs from the United States.

He might want to bash the robots instead.

Despite the Republican presidential nominee's charge that "we don't make anything anymore," manufacturing is still flourishing in America. Problem is, factories don't need as many people as they used to because machines now do so much of the work.

America has lost more than seven million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. Yet American factory production, minus raw materials and some other costs, more than doubled over the same span to $1.91 trillion last year, according to the Commerce Department, which uses 2009 dollars to adjust for inflation. That's a notch below the record set on the eve of the Great Recession in 2007. And it makes U.S. manufacturers No. 2 in the world behind China.

Trump and other critics are right that trade has claimed some American factory jobs, especially after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and gained easier access to the U.S. market. And industries that have relied heavily on labor -- like textile and furniture manufacturing -- have lost jobs and production to low-wage foreign competition. U.S. textile production, for instance, is down 46 percent since 2000. And over that time, the textile industry has shed 366,000, or 62 percent, of its jobs in the United States.

But research shows that the automation of U.S. factories is a much bigger factor than foreign trade in the loss of factory jobs. A study at Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for just 13 percent of America's lost factory jobs. The vast majority of the lost jobs -- 88 percent -- were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories' need for human labor.

"We're making more with fewer people," says Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. think tank.

General Motors, for instance, now employs barely a third of the 600,000 workers it had in the 1970s. Yet it churns out more cars and trucks than ever.

Or look at production of steel and other primary metals. Since 1997, the United States has lost 265,000 jobs in the production of primary metals -- a 42 percent plunge -- at a time when such production in the U.S. has surged 38 percent.

Allan Collard-Wexler of Duke University and Jan De Loecker of Princeton University found last year that America didn't lose most steel jobs to foreign competition or faltering sales. Steel jobs vanished because of the rise of a new technology: Super-efficient mini-mills that make steel largely from scrap metal.

The robot revolution is just beginning.

The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 or 3 percent growth in recent years.

The economics of robotics are hard to argue with. When products are replaced or updated, robots can be reprogrammed far faster and more easily than people can be retrained.

And the costs are dropping: Owning and operating a robotic spot welder cost an average $182,000 in 2005 and $133,000 in 2014 and will likely run $103,000 by 2025, Boston Consulting says. Robots will shrink labor costs 22 percent in the United States, 25 percent in Japan and 33 percent in South Korea, the firm estimates.

CEO Ronald De Feo is overseeing a turnaround at Kennametal, a Pittsburgh-based industrial materials company. The effort includes investing $200 million to $300 million to modernize Kennametal's factories while cutting 1,000 of 12,000 jobs. Automation is claiming some of those jobs and will claim more in the future, De Feo says.

"What we want to do is automate and let attrition" reduce the workforce, he says.

Visiting a Kennametal plant in Germany, De Feo found workers packing items by hand. He ordered $10 million in machinery to automate the process in Germany and North America.

That move, he says, will produce "better quality at lower cost" and "likely result in a combination of job cuts and reassignments."

But the rise of the machines offers an upside to some American workers: The increased use of robots -- combined with higher labor costs in China and other developing countries -- has reduced the incentive for companies to chase low-wage labor around the world.

Multinational companies are also rethinking how they spread production across the globe in the 1990s and 2000s, when they tended to manufacture components in different countries and then assemble a product at a plant in China or other low-wage country. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which disrupted shipments of auto parts, and the bankruptcy of the South Korean shipping line Hanjin Shipping, which stranded cargo in ports, exposed the risk of relying on far-flung supply lines.

"If your supply chain gets interrupted and your raw materials are coming from offshore, all of a sudden shelves are empty and you can't sell product," says Thomas Caudle, president of the North Carolina-based textile company Unifi.

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So companies have been returning to the United States, capitalizing on the savings provided by robots, cheap energy and the chance to be closer to customers.

"They don't have all their eggs in that Asian basket anymore," Caudle says.

Over the past six years, Unifi has added about 200 jobs, bringing the total to over 1,100, at its automated factory in Yadkinville, North Carolina, where recycled plastic bottles are converted into Repreve yarn. Unmanned carts crisscross the factory floor, retrieving packages of yarn with mechanical arms -- work once done by people.

In a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte, global manufacturing executives predicted that that the United States -- now No. 2 -- will overtake China as the most competitive country in manufacturing by 2020. (Competitiveness is measured by such factors as costs, productivity and the protection of intellectual property.)

The Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit that lobbies manufacturers to return jobs to the United States, says America was losing an average of 220,000 net jobs a year to other countries a decade ago. Now, the number being moved abroad is roughly offset by the number that are coming back or being created by foreign investment.

Harold Sirkin, senior partner at Boston Consulting, says the global scramble by companies for cheap labor is ending.

"When I hear that (foreigners) are taking all our jobs -- the answer is, they're not," he says.

Management :: What is automation control and engineering ? (Page 1 of 2)


Process automation and controlling is the mathematical and computational techniques, which concerns estimation; monitoring of the sophisticated automation equipments; modeling of the components utilized and control of other systems and processes of an enterprise. The paradigm of control solutions and designing provides a passage to electrical and computer engineering fields in order to collaborate with each other for better managerial skills and accurate corrections with results in-hand. There are several applications that are involved in it and among it ventilating and air-conditioning with space technological robotic automation are included vastly. For space technology automation features there includes a determination to detect faults and isolations of information and technology which might further includes fault tolerant control; satellite system engineering and networks of ground station whereas for Hybrid systems a dynamic discrete and continuity component system has been launched upon for recommending theoretical hybrid system for the enterprise.

Energy conversion automation systems include the various models to be implemented and to allow research to penetrate into the modern societal leverages of the work. The research is concentrated on predictive measures of control of refrigeration systems; filtering plant to obtain coal moisture contents; specific controlling of a marine boiler system; robust controlling up of wind turbines and gain controlling of other boilers at low payload. Automation of mobile robotics is the research of exploring the cognitive computing systems in robotics. The automated engineering in such path is to have a primary aim to extend various methods and to deal with frequently changing open-ended gaming environments and real environments as well. The controls are reconfigured in the system where it is used to check any fault arising in a form of malfunction to the control system. The equipment of new hardware with certain actuators and sensors, help in existing reconfiguration control model system. A new subsystem is introduced in such context.

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The automation control device is set up to provide command; manages the important documentation processes; directs the flow and regulate other important mandatory devices available thereupon. The two most important classes of controlling automotive systems with variations and combinations are the logic or sequential controls and specific feedback with linear controlling of the components. The automation is also termed as smart computer operating device which uses common sense to essentially makes a difference where either manual controls are utilized that allows an operator for ex: to open and to close a hydraulic press system where a specific logic be implied as the hydraulic assembly won't move unless safety guards are in place to safeguard it and remotely operated automation controlling with understanding of robotics to safe time and energy to perform a work.

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