Aluminum Makers Feel Sanctions

The Trump administration's aluminum tariffs are aimed at boosting U.S. producers' profits. But another move by the administration — sanctions against Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal and its founder Oleg Deripaska — is having the opposite effect.
 The sanctions have pushed up prices for aluminum's key ingredient, alumina, eating into the profits of U.S. producers, analysts and aluminum makers say. It takes about two tons of alumina to make one ton of aluminum, and companies that had purchased the white powdery material from Rusal, which makes 6% of the world's alumina, have scrambled for supplies

The True Meaning of Industry 4.0 for Manufacturers

Germany has been bandying about the slogan Industry 4.0 for about 10 years now, yet most people still don’t know what it is all about. It is an excellent piece of marketing slang, both extremely complicated to understand and yet brilliantly simple. Even those who get it, however, mostly fail to grasp the implication of this industrial revolution.

It Is Getting Pricier in the Cloud

Staying competitive in the cloud is expensive. The two largest players in the industry aren't making it any cheaper.
 Salesforce.com and Adobe are the largest software companies that derive all or most of their revenue from subscription-based services. It is hardly a zerosum game at this point; analysts from KeyBanc Capital estimate that less than 10% of total enterprise tech spending currently goes toward cloud software. But both companies are richly valued by investors, with stock prices that have surged more than 50% so far this year on the premise that they can continue to fuel annual growth rates of 20% or more.

The Next MacBook Might Have a Phone Inside

Laptops, which haven't been exciting for years, are about to get interesting again. Despite the rise of tablets and smartphones, laptops are still the way most people get work done. The difference between the mobile touchscreen devices and their bulkier clamshell counterparts isn't just their physical design: They actually use different sorts of processors.
 While chip maker Intel Corp. has powered most computers you've ever used, that might not be the case much longer. Many manufacturers are already using mobile chips from

Rolls-Royce tries yet again to make restructuring work

George is a Rolls-Royce engineer in his mid-40s who has worked at the aero engine company since graduation.
 When chief executive Warren East this week unveiled the most drastic job cut programme of the past 18 years in a bid to force through a radical transformation of the UK's premier engineer, George did not even bother to read the announcement. It was the seventh restructuring in recent years, so he knew the script: a lot of activity but not always a lot of actual change.

Luxury brands confront the rise of the robot

At a Gucci production site on the outskirts of Florence, a robot makes $650 sneakers.
 The patented machine, dubbed Reingenious, assembled the shoes, turning them over and manipulating them as it did so, while “avoiding the handling and stress of our workers”, said a Gucci guide during a recent tour of the site. Gucci, the fastest growing of Europe's biggest luxury brands, cites as inspiration Facebook and Google; lean manufacturing at Toyota and Kia; and Israel's Silicon Wadi.

Art scene promises rich new streams

An expanding art fair market is pulling in designers searching for discerning buyers with deep pockets

A visit from Middle Eastern royalty stunned Taiwanese jewellery designer Anna Hu at her first showing at an art fair, the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris last September. Ms Hu had decided to exhibit her colour-drenched jewels to an art world audience to connect with international collectors she would not meet anywhere else.
 “Some had seen magazines with my work in it, others had read my book, but they don't travel to Asia so they came and found me,” she says. Ms Hu sold display pieces, took bespoke orders and, more importantly, she says, gained exposure to a wider clientele.