From manual printing houses in the 1500s to 4D printing technologies of the 21st century, printing has made huge strides thanks to modern innovations. Rapidly changing technology can make it hard to keep up with all these new printing possibilities. We've done the time-consuming research for you-here's a rundown regarding the printing technologies of the future.
3D Printing is More Than a Fad
3D printing is still in the early stages of adoption. The cost-to-value ratio hasn't necessarily evened out and, as a result, most companies aren't looking to adopt this technology just yet. The cost and skills required to operate 3D printers, as well as the niche uses in industries outside manufacturing, makes it difficult for most businesses to justify using them. Most early adopters are in the medical and engineering industries and have a greater need for 3D printing technologies than a traditional office.
Although most companies don't have a pressing need for 3D printing, experts say it is definitely here to stay. As technology advances and becomes more user-friendly, businesses and home enthusiasts will begin to see and experience the benefits of 3D printing at a significantly cheaper cost.
So What Exactly is 4D Printing?
4D printing is the next step in the evolution of printing. It extends the abilities of 3D printing by creating 3D-printed objects using special materials that are sensitive to heat, water or pressure. When these objects encounter these various environmental conditions (heat, water or pressure), they autonomously change shape in purposeful ways.
Because it's still considered new and evolving technology, there are some major limitations to 4D printing. The technology is very young and is admittedly very far from practical in its current iteration. Currently, the time it takes for the shape to change can be extensive. Additionally, generating quick reversible changes is unreliable and difficult to control.
Future Applications of 4D Printing
Stratasys, a leader in 3D and 4D printing solutions, commented on the future of 4D printing, "Although not commercially available, self-assembly is just a beginning of a whole innovative world of manufacturing with minimum energy. As environmental, economic, human and other constraints continue to fluctuate, we will eventually need dynamic systems that can respond with ease and agility. 4D Printing is the first of its kind to offer this exciting capability. This is truly a radical shift in our understanding of structures, which have up to this point, remained static and rigid (think aerospace, automotive, building industries, etc.) and will soon be dynamic, adaptable and tunable for on-demand performance."
At Coordinated Business Systems, we strive to be at the forefront of technologies that better the way we work, play and live. Our partnerships with leading technology companies allow us to always have an eye on emerging technologies. Call 800-952-9084, or contact us online, to find out how we can help take your business into the next generation of success.