An informal survey of some big engineering companies reveals that a down economy and security concerns are keeping more engineers tied to their desks these days. Many firms say they have restrictions in place, allowing travel only when it involves meeting with customers or other essential can't-be-done-over-the-web-or-phone activities. Texas Instruments, for example, clamped down on nonessential travel two years ago as a cost-savings measure. Recently, it has started to further restrict travel based on security issues and foreign travel advisories. But once the economy perks up, don't reach for your carry-on bag. E-learning, video conferences, and collaborative tools are gaining traction as effective alternatives to travel.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
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