The paperless society has fewer big victories than even the Chicago Cubs. But next year marks a major win, when the Big Green Books become a Web-only resource. The last Thomas Register of American Manufacturers will be printed in February when Thomas becomes "a 108-year-old Internet marketing company," says Linda Rigano, director of new business.
Engineers and others won't miss paging through volumes of books to find 650,000 listings, though they do seem to like the extra info that's available online. "Nearly 80 percent of the time that CAD drawings are downloaded, that product is specified," Rigano says.
Thomas began putting data on the Web in 1992, and marketers figured this day was coming for quite a while. "Over the past two or three years, buyers have really shifted to online searches and print subscriptions declined. We probably could have stopped the print version a year ago," Rigano says. With more than 1 million user sessions per month, it's doubtful paper will be missed. "We've had very little negative feedback, mostly a few people who like paper because they have no computer," Rigano says. Data is now available free-of-charge at www.thomasnet.com.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
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