I learned two things from a quick recent conversation with Alexander Wilson of Mittal Steel and bridge steel maven:
New high-performance steels designed for bridge applications are now being qualified for other applications—pressure vessels used in nuclear power plants and platforms used in offshore oil drilling. The new steel provides up to 18% cost savings and 28% weight savings.
Some stability is expected in pricing this year. Costs for materials used in the two primary production streams (electric furnace and integrated mill) are stable. Look for modest increases and stable availability.
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.