Raytheon is hiring 4,500 engineers this year but can’t find enough qualified candidates. “That’s a frightening problem for a company like ours,” CEO William Swanson said in remarks prepared for a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this week.
Thirty percent of the four million Americans in ninth grade in 2001 dropped out of high school, Swanson said. And fewer than 280,000 majored in a technical field in college, and only 167,000 will earn a scientific or technical degree by 2011. And a mere 64,000 will become engineers. “Compared to China, India, and other parts of the world,” he said, “it’s a drop in the bucket.”
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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