The pursuit of perfection is an impossible task, but our team of intrepid taxonomy experts strives to make our collection of 75,000+ categories as close as possible to it year-round. Over the past month alone, they've added the most relevant new products and services they could find, searched for outdated terms to get rid of, and found new ways to interconnect all of these categories to make it easier to find what you need. We're exploring the fruits of their labor below, encapsulated in 11 new areas to source.
1. Vaccine Cold Chain Supplies and Logistics
With the rollout of vaccines, cold chain supplies and logistics sourcing has really jumped: searches for dry ice alone on Thomasnet.com® shot up 946% year over year in December. Other categories that increased drastically in demand include automation engineering and automation equipment as companies have increasingly looked for ways to make production line jobs safer and more socially distanced.
2. Ultraviolet C (UVC) Disinfection Systems
UVC light is the strongest and most deadly type of UV radiation, which makes it the most effective for killing pathogens. Many companies have or are currently creating new sterilization technologies that harness this; Boeing has already tested UVC disinfection wands for disinfecting planes in between flights, and hopes to license it for more widespread use.
3. Anti-Viral Face Masks
Anti-viral face masks have been in the works for several months now, with researchers having come up with salt based, diamond, copper oxide, and zinc oxide nanoparticle-covered masks to kill viruses on contact. Some current masks available on the market include silver ion technology.
4. Antimicrobial Flooring Coating Materials
Silver ions have also found a use in antimicrobial flooring coating materials, designed to keep fungi and bacteria from living on surfaces. Other antimicrobial coatings have increased in use during the pandemic, including coatings applied to handles, buttons, desks and seats in Hong Kong International Airport.
5. Glass Microfabrication Services
Used to create glass-based chips to detect pathogens, cells, and other samples, glass microfabrication services are part of the growing field of microfabrication, which is being developed to some interesting ends. One such use is the creation of miniature robots from sheets of composite materials, made using origami-inspired techniques and measuring only a millimeter wide.
6. Sterile Storage Cabinets
Sterile storage cabinets, commonly used in medical environments, are only a small part of the measures taken to ensure a sterile environment in operating rooms and other similar environments. Some of these measures come at a price, however, as many of the disposable sterile products used in medical facilities are plastic and their disposal is bad for the environment. This may change however, as solutions have been proposed to switch to more eco friendly plastics.
7. Geotextile Liners
Geotextile liners and fabrics, which help with drainage and prevent erosion, are commonly used in building infrastructure including roads. Updates to our infrastructure are sorely needed as our current systems age, such as the USDA's recent investment in water and wastewater infrastructure offering loans to local governments and nonprofits.
8. Marine Degreasers
Marine degreasers may not seem like an exciting concept, but they are essential for keeping marine equipment clean and running. More exciting are some newer developments in the marine industry: one company offering autonomous software for ships and boats has been getting increasing funding from Huntington Ingalls and other companies.
9. Polypropylene Random Copolymer (PP-R) Ball Valves
PP-R ball valves are good for high pressure piping, especially for hot water. Other types of valves have been seeing some improvements recently through automation, including intelligent control valve positioners and the partial stroke test, which allows for less downtime.
10. Cannabis Extraction Systems
With the wave of recent cannabis legalizations across states, cannabis extraction systems have come onto the scene to help with mass production. The marijuana market continues to expand into new territory as trends continue to arise; one of the latest health trends is getting healthier sleep, and 15% of people have reported using CBD or marijuana to help them do it.
11. Freight Rate Information Services
Freight rate information services may come in handy as the reshoring trend continues. Since the start of the pandemic, when international supply chains were temporarily cut off, companies have expressed increasing interest in reshoring and automation to avoid similar problems in the future.
12. Tube Cutting Services
Tube cutting services may be getting an environmentally friendly boost, thanks to a new type of supercritical carbon dioxide-based cutting fluid. Invented by one of our recent Champion for Industry awardees, Steve Skerlos, the fluid harvests CO2 that would otherwise be released into the environment while outperforming other types of cutting fluids.
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