Robot grocery store gives high-tech upgrade to food shopping

No more long lines at the grocery store – the future of food shopping is getting a high-tech upgrade.

Des Moines, Iowa is planning to build a first-of-a kind robotic grocery store as an experiment to offer food and necessities to locals anytime at their convenience.   

A partnership between the nonprofit Eat Greater Des Moines and the business equipment firm Oasis24seven will see an automated, vending machine-style unit come to the area.

“Throughout Des Moines, there are areas of town where access to quality food is limited,” said Aubrey Alvarez, the nonprofit’s executive director. “We would love for a full service grocery store to move into these areas, but until that time the robotic unit will address the gap in the community.”

She added this “project takes a simple and familiar idea, a vending machine, and turns it on its head. Robotic Retail will be accessible to everyone.”

Oasis24seven CEO David Maurer said the robotic system “works on a conveyor belt system, with an extractor that retrieves the product from the racks and places it on the conveyor for delivery to the customer.”  This allows for more fragile items like bread and eggs to avoid being damaged.

Similar stores are gear driven with a drop down delivery, he pointed out, which limits the products it can offer.

The stores are roughly 260-square-foot and are equipped with a sizeable front window so users can view the available products. “Our stores can be anywhere from 200 to 800 items, it’s fully refrigerated, the product can be anywhere from one ounce to ten pounds,” said Maurer.

Customers can pick and choose their items via a touchscreen ordering system that lists all the available products.

As for price, Alvarez explains that, as a nonprofit, “our goal is to keep the prices in line with a grocery store. We are sourcing as many items as possible through a local non-profit partner who supplies food to 12 food pantries. This will help us keep prices as low as possible.”

Don’t worry about getting expired food. “Anything on those racks that is out-of-date will automatically be taken off the shelf,” he said.

After going through preliminary planning stages, Alvarez hopes they can start construction in late July and have the store up and running soon after.

Beyond this current project, Maurer sees potential expansion for this type of concept. “Whether it is an apartment complex, parking [facility], military base … you could go down the list of the potential business channels for these automated robotic convenience stores.”

Chris Snyder is a producer for based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.

Huizenga Group chair gives nearly $6 million to Michigan employees

Employees at two Michigan factories are enjoying an unexpected windfall, sharing nearly $6 million in bonuses handed out as a surprise by their boss, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

“We probably have the best workforce in the nation right here in Western Michigan,” Huizenga Group’s J.C. Huizenga said.

The soft-spoken chairman has a big wallet, and a heart of gold.

“I’m a son of a garbage man, so, I can appreciate people for what they contribute,” he said.

Until last month, his company owned a pair of automation businesses in Western Michigan.

More than 575 employees design and build custom machines and systems for several industries and with annual sales of $170 million, it’s been a success.

“It is a team of people. I’ll take people over assets all day long,” Huizenga said.

Their products sell all over the world.

“It was very appropriate, when we sold the company, that the employees should participate in the wealth we created,” he said.

The profit-sharing checks were delivered in March and added up to $5.75 million. Most employees got checks ranging from $500 to $10,000.

“I felt, one of the nicest gestures of any owner that I’d ever known of,” Dane Systems business unit manager Al Bass said.

Some bonuses were over $50,000; the amounts were based on years of service and job duties.

“The identity of the company is to give, and he encourages us to do that in the latter, to take what we’ve been given and pass it on,” JR Automation buyer Curt Bosch said.

Dane Systems controller Bryan Vondorpowski has two kids in school.

“One’s in college. And this is just the right time. What a blessing to us,” he said.

The new owner wanted to keep the workforce in place, and all of the employees are staying put.

“The new owner was a little concerned that we didn’t make the bonuses too high, because they wanted to make sure that everybody showed up for work the next day,” Huizenga said.

They did.

“Our turnover here is incredibly low. You know, and nobody wants to leave,” JR Automation controller Tim Karsten said.

Huizenga said he shelled out millions because it was simply the right thing to do.

“The gratitude they showed was way beyond my expectation,” Huizenga said.

He said it makes him feel “amazingly good.”

“I would recommend it to anybody. It’s great to be a giver,” he said.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commercial pilots depend too much on automation, says FAA

A group of safety experts is warning that U.S. pilots may be losing their manual flying skills in the era of automated cockpits. 

According to the The Wall Street Journal, the panel, which includes industry, labor, academic and government officials, says that some commercial airline pilots may not grasp new flying maneuvers and may be reluctant to switch off the systems during risky flying situations, and as a result are putting passengers in danger.

The panel’s findings will be released in a new report from the Federal Aviation Administration due out this week. 

The report says that some pilots “lack sufficient or in-depth knowledge and skills” to properly control their plane’s trajectory and fail to master the latest changes in cockpit technology. 

The new report calls for more manual flying time by pilots, both in the cockpit and in simulations.

Three crashes in the last several years were believed to be due to pilot error: The Air France disaster in 2009, July’s Asiana crash landing at San Francisco airport and a crash in Russia this week, where 50 people died.

The FAA is will be releasing the panel’s findings at a meeting with agency chief Michael Huerta’s and industry leaders to discuss voluntary safety initiatives.

Ahead of that meeting, the FAA released this statement:

“The FAA has made advances in pilot manual flying skills, improved pilot certification standards, advanced pilot training program requirements and more, and today’s report validates those efforts.”

CLARCOR Agrees to Acquire Air Filtration Business from G.E. Power and Water

FRANKLIN, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CLARCOR Inc. (NYSE: CLC) announced that it has entered into an

agreement to acquire the Air Filtration business of General Electric

Company’s Power and Water division for approximately $265 million,

subject to contractually agreed adjustments. With over 700 employees

around the world and trailing twelve month annual revenues of

approximately $230 million, the business is a leading supplier of air

filtration systems and filters used in gas turbine applications, as well

as industrial air filtration products and membranes. Headquartered in

Overland Park, Kansas and with manufacturing operations in Missouri, the

UK and China, the business will continue to supply gas turbine air inlet

filtration systems and filters to GE, which has the world’s largest

installed base of natural gas turbines, under a multi-year supply

agreement. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013.

Christopher L. Conway, CLARCOR’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive

Officer commented, “We are very excited about this acquisition and the

multiple opportunities it offers CLARCOR. Each element of this business

– gas turbine filtration, industrial air filtration, and membranes – is

attractive and fits within our core strategies and competencies. This

transaction creates exciting new vertical opportunities and

relationships, affords us access to various new technologies, broadens

our already extensive product portfolio and solidifies what we believe

is our standing as the most diversified filtration company in the world.

“With this transaction, CLARCOR will become a leading designer and

supplier of air inlet filtration products for natural gas turbines, a

business we believe is poised for long-term growth as the world

continues to shift toward natural gas as its energy source of choice.

CLARCOR traditionally has had little presence in the gas turbine

business, and we believe this transaction will immediately position

CLARCOR as a major player in the space and provide a strong platform

from which to grow, both with respect to first-fit applications as well

as the aftermarket.

“The industrial air filtration piece of the business, better known as

BHA – one of the industry’s most well-known and respected names – is

widely recognized as having a broad offering of products as well as

in-depth customer knowledge and service capabilities. For decades, BHA

has been engaged in direct selling of aftermarket bag house air filters

and pleated cartridges for diverse industries such as cement production,

food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. This direct sales model should

dovetail nicely with our TFS distribution network and allow us to better

service aftermarket customers and vertical markets around the country

with a significantly expanded product offering of pleated industrial air


“The related membrane portion of the business not only adds attractive

high-margin products to our existing product offerings, but further

enhances our ability to develop performance filtration media that have

potential application throughout CLARCOR. Indeed, the entire Air

Filtration business comes with an abundance of patented technologies,

and will approximately triple the already extensive number of patents

that CLARCOR and its operating businesses hold today.

“When all is said and done, however, it is no secret that the key to any

acquisition is the people on both sides and the cultural fit between

organizations. It was clear to us from our first interaction with the

management team and our visits to the business’ facilities in the U.S.

and abroad that both of these factors are present here. We believe that

management has done the right things to position the business for growth

and expansion, and the workforce and culture seem closely aligned with

our own. We view this acquisition as a platform for growth and one from

which we can provide additional scale to our own industrial and process

air businesses, and we believe that the people who will be joining us

will prove themselves to be assets to CLARCOR for years to come.”

“The Air Filtration business has strengthened its operations and

improved performance over the past two years to create a world-class

filtration business,” said Victor Abate, President and CEO, Power

Generation Products at GE Power & Water. “In the Power Generation

segment, we are focused on our core gas turbine technology, and we have

made the strategic decision to simplify the business to better match our

core strengths. We are pleased that the transaction with CLARCOR will

allow Air Filtration the opportunity to grow and thrive in the

filtration industry.”

XMS Capital Partners served as exclusive financial advisor and Bass

Berry & Sims PLC served as lead legal advisor to CLARCOR in connection

with the transaction. Consummation of the transaction is subject to

customary conditions, including the expiration or early termination of

the waiting period applicable to the transaction under the

Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

CLARCOR is based in Franklin, Tennessee, and is a diversified marketer

and manufacturer of mobile, industrial and environmental filtration

products and consumer and industrial packaging products sold in domestic

and international markets. Common shares of the Company are traded on

the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CLC.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the

meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and

Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All

statements made in this press release other than statements of

historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking

statements may include, among other things: statements and assumptions

relating to the consummation of the proposed acquisition; the historical

results of operations of the business to be acquired; statements

regarding anticipated order patterns from customers, including GE, or

the anticipated economic conditions of the industries and markets that

we serve; statements relating to the anticipated effects on results of

operations or financial condition from recent and expected developments

or events; statements relating to the Company’s business and growth

strategies; and any other statements or assumptions that are not

historical facts. The Company believes that its expectations are based

on reasonable assumptions. However, these forward-looking statements

involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important

factors that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or

achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from the

Company’s expectations of future results, performance or achievements

expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks

include the failure to complete the acquisition and the failure to

realize the economic and strategic benefits of the transaction. In

addition, the Company’s past results of operations do not necessarily

indicate its future results. The Company’s future results may differ

materially from the Company’s past results as a result of various risks

and uncertainties, including the risk factors discussed in the “Risk

Factors” section of the Company’s 2012 Form 10-K and other risk factors

detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities

and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any

forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date

of this press release. Except as otherwise required by applicable laws,

the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any

forward-looking statements or the risk factors described in this press

release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed

circumstances or any other reason after the date of this press release.

The Car Company Tycoon Game

Automation is still in development, but you can get in on Early Access now! You’ll get instant access to some extra content for the current version of the game, and a copy of the full version when it’s completed, as well as every update along the way.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Automation is still heavily in development. There is already many hours of interesting gameplay to be had out of Automation, but some major features are not complete. Large updates are usually released every few months

Automation Early Access: Steam

Instant access to the Full Engine Designer and the Car Designer 

Unlocks Turbos, V6, V8 and I6 Engines and more Car Bodies

The full version of Automation when its completed (No more money to spend)

Extra content as its released

Approx $5 USD off the full price.

Multiplayer available in future versions

Read more about the game

Automation is sold as a Digital Download version only, and is for Windows PCs only

Click here to check the minimum specifications. Noting that if your Graphics Card doesn’t support Shader Model 3.0 or above it won’t run Automation (almost all modern graphic cards, but please check your graphics card manufacturer’s website if unsure)

Note: Intel Integrated Graphics cards (as seen on many budget laptops) are not officially supported but some of them may run Automation OK on low settings. Try the demo if unsure.