Synthetic rubber and plastics -- used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products -- are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those humanmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to a team of scientists that has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources.
Manufacturing is getting smart. Companies are increasingly using sensors and wireless technologies to capture data at all stages of a product's life. These range from material properties and the temperatures and vibrations of equipment to the logistics of supply chains and customer details.
Prices for most industrial commodities strengthened further in the first quarter (q/q), while global agricultural prices remained broadly stable.
Crude oil prices are forecast to rise to an average of $55 per barrel (bbl) in 2017 from $43/ bbl in 2016.
All commodity price indexes except for beverages rose in February.
Metals and minerals increased by 4.6%.
Engineers have developed a new concept for current and voltage sensors for batteries that might become particularly relevant for electric vehicles (EV). An EV battery is made up of individual blocks, each of which contain up to twelve cells. Typically, each cell is monitored by its own voltage sensor. The new system requires only one single voltage sensor, thus reducing overall weight and costs.
Augmented reality: People with knowledge of the company's plans say Apple has embarked on an ambitious bid to bring the technology to the masses—an effort Cook and his team see as the best way for the company to dominate the next generation of gadgetry and keep people wedded to its ecosystem.
In January, energy prices rose 0.7%, while non-energy commodities rose 2%.
Food and beverages prices increased by 2.2% and 1.6%, respectively.