Ariens has developed an "Auto-Turn" feature that will make its snowblowers easier to maneuver, according to this article. The mechanism allows the equipment to detect when its operator is about to make a turn, and it uses a "slip differential transmission" to prepare one of the wheels to move slower than the other. Ariens worked with its transmission supplier for about two years to develop the Auto-Turn, this article says.
Caterpillar will soon begin negotiating with the United Steelworkers about renewal of its labor contract, set to expire April 30, at a facility in South Milwaukee, Wis. The company also has started to train managerial and support staff for production, in case a work stoppage occurs.
To create a colorful, xeriscaped garden for the summer, select flowering plants that need less water and group them together based on their water needs, writes Judy Terry, a freelance garden writer. Use succulents instead of rocks to reduce water use, and minimize the amount of lawn. Plants that may need water could flourish when placed in areas with stormwater runoff, Terry notes.
Despite conflicting factors bearing on U.S. consumers, their confidence has picked up, rising to a three-month high in February. The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index registered 77.6 last month, up from 73.8 in January. "Expected job gains have partially offset concerns about higher payroll taxes and the impending reduction in federal spending. Unfortunately, those expected job gains will be harder to actually accomplish given that the economy faces weakened consumer demand due to lower take-home pay as well as reduced federal spending and employment," said survey economist Richard Curtin.