This, here, is one busy intersection. It's the place where some of the most heralded and anticipated technologies of this century—new mobility, Internet 4.0, digitalization—are converging.
And that makes this the rubber industry's moment to shine.
Throughout the industry, companies are meeting our biggest challenges—in areas such as sustainability, safety and health. They're also solving some of our biggest operational puzzles to create streamlined, more efficient companies.
Some, like Continental A.G., Michelin and DuPont Co. are rethinking how their products can make electric vehicles more efficient or autonomous vehicles more practical. Goodyear, likewise, is striving to learn as much as possible about the new mobility space by plugging into partnerships and financially supporting start-ups in spaces where technology is young and poised for growth.
Others are investing in solutions at the ground level. Edison Agrosciences Inc., for instance, believes sunflowers could be at the core of the rubber industry's future. It is working to prove that the plant can be cultivated and used as an alternative natural rubber source, especially as concerns mount about the supply and sustainability of hevea rubber.
And then there are companies like Trelleborg, who are leaning into trusted technologies and expanding their applications to make just-in-time manufacturing work smarter up and down the supply chain.
But behind every one of these groundbreaking developments is something else, something bigger: human ingenuity.
The technology pushing our industry into the future begins with people. It is driven by the big ideas of scientists, engineers, technicians and shop floor workers who see spaces to innovate, problem solve and make their ideas a reality. Curiosity, creativity and an endless pursuit of excellence is what powers the technology we spotlighted in this issue.
Industry leaders know this.
Throughout the last 12 months, our writers have talked with executives about how their companies navigated the pandemic and repositioned them to thrive in the years to come. We hear a similar refrain during those conversations: Our people, they say. It couldn't be done without the ingenuity, patience and flexibility of our teams.
And while it's true that technology played a significant role in helping companies transition during the pandemic—particularly by connecting us to coworkers and customers—it is people who made it work for the business.
So, as we stand on the precipice of a new era—one defined by big technological advancements—we can't forget the reason we've come this far. The technologies we develop to make our lives easier and our companies stronger should work beside the people who are the backbone of our industry, not in place of them.
Because while advancing technology is important, people—and their jobs—are important, too. They're not just the backbones of our companies, they're the backbones of our economies.
And that makes them as much a part of our future success as the technology developed to carry us there.