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The development of automotive engineering thermoplastics will go into overdrive as fuel-efficiency regulations add to pressures for vehicle lightweighting. In another regulation-driven movement, many automakers are looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics. Tomorrow’s engineering polymers will need to be stronger, lighter, and more heat-resistant.

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The economy is growing at a steady if not spectacular pace, supported by a solid manufacturing sector. But the economist of a business trade group says Washington policies are creating an unamenable business climate for small firms. This week, we might see federal policymakers providing some temporary help.

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Churn is also costly and highly detrimental to manufacturing businesses, since they rely on well-trained workers with operational knowledge. The cost to replace a manufacturing employee, when factoring in investment in training, is orders of magnitude above salary. Businesses must stay on top of the pulse of the workforce.

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Maintenance-specific modules from suppliers of enterprise resource planning systems have traditionally involved costly implementation and learning curves and thus less-than-desirable ROI. Manufacturers can consider going the route of partner solutions, usually software-as-a-service, to achieve maintenance operations savings.

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In the second article of a series on machine-to-machine, Internet of Things, and Big Data, Machina Research provides insights around developments in connected cars. Principal analyst Emil Berthelsen covers current applications and possibilities, market size and potential, and who can benefit from connected vehicles.

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