Industry Market Trends

Report Highlights Chicago’s Manufacturing Job Growth

February 28, 2013

Despite sweeping job cuts in manufacturing nationwide, Chicago remains a prime location for jobs, high wages, and specialized industries. According to a new report, the metropolitan area has gained manufacturing jobs more rapidly than the country as a whole in the last two years.   Read More

Industry Market Trends

Corrosion is a Challenge for Renewable Energy Systems, But Solutions Exist

February 28, 2013

While renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are far from new, it is only in the past decade -- and in particular the past five years -- that they are seeing wide-scale acceptance and implementation. As such, there are a number of issues and challenges that are only now beginning to come to forefront of engineers’ minds. One of these is the issue of corrosion. As energy generation systems and supporting structures sit around in extreme conditions such as high desert heat and salt-water seas they become vulnerable to natural processes. Richard Grant, principal and owner of Russell Corrosion, knows all about this. He and his team have been tackling corrosion of mechanical systems for 20 years. More recently, he has become increasingly involved in helping renewable energy equipment manufacturers maintain the life of their products. He and Steve Nikolokakos, P.E., senior corrosion engineer and alternative energy practice leader, sat with IMT Green & Clean to talk about this issue and the solutions that exist. Read More

Industry Market Trends

Global Steel Production Rises

February 27, 2013

Worldwide crude steel production increased on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis in January, but the steel industry may be facing headwinds from unstable demand and a growing overcapacity problem. Read More

Industry Market Trends

Are Small Modular Reactors a Better Nuclear Solution, or Just More of the Same?

February 27, 2013

babcockSMRIt hasn't been easy to be a pro-nuclear power supporter over the past few years. It seems like each year brings a new series of setbacks or "bad news" stories. But in the last few years the U.S. Department of Energy and some enterprising major companies, along with politicians like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have begun developing new models for small modular reactors (SMR) that just might be nuclear's future. Last November the DOE promised a mammoth $452 million in funding to companies that can help design a working model of an SMR that can be mass-produced, transportable, and serve as a low-carbon substitute to oil and natural gas power. Read More

Industry Market Trends

What’s Happening to Retirement?

February 27, 2013

A majority of employees age 60 and older say they will delay their retirement, and some workers do not think they will ever be able to retire, a new survey reveals.   Read More

Industry Market Trends

Manufacturing Better Online Awareness

February 26, 2013

The long-term effort to revitalize manufacturing and boost the industry image has spread to the Web. The recently launched "Manufacturing is Cool" website encourages student from grades K-12 to be original thinkers, and features need-to-know information and videos for students, parents, and teachers to get a better understanding of the industry. Read More

Industry Market Trends

Biofuel from Algae Part Two: The Way Forward

February 26, 2013

While biofuel made from algae shows strong promise over fuel made from food crops – it can be cultivated on wasteland and produce more energy per square foot than any other crop – it has seen a number of roadblocks along the way. For this reason, many of the companies that have pursued it have failed. The players that have continued R&D on algae biofuel have struggled, and some have had to stay financially afloat by producing and selling into smaller, niche algae markets such as skincare products. Experts call this period from early research and development to commercial success “The Valley of Death,” and so it has proved to be for many companies. Algae-based biofuel will need to be produced on a huge scale to lower costs enough to enable it to compete with petroleum. The two most common targets for advancement of algae biofuel are the growth media (open pond vs. closed bioreactor) and methods to remove the intracellular components of the algae. There are several organizations that have continued to press on. Read More