‘Should I replace my printer?’ This is a question that many of us have asked some time or another. Even those that are well-versed in the online stratosphere, are well-schooled...
If one factor is assured about innovation and technology it is that technology doesn’t stand still. Everyday new and exciting advances are being created. From biometrics to engaging social platforms, the seemingly impossible is being made possible.
One such trend that is consumers are being treated to is the advent of 3D printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is revolutionising the printing industry.
The process is completed by building successive layers of a material in different shapes to create a three-dimensional object, one that captures the subject perfectly. To some, the logistics of this technology may seem difficult to comprehend, and even more difficult to envision when it may become part of their routine lives, however, it is here. Technological giant HP has entered the 3D market.
The Wave of the Future
At present, 3D printers are quite slow and aren’t readily available on in commercial environments. This is not withstanding the fact that 3D printers can be frustratingly inconsistent. However, if 3D printers become mainstream, the benefits to numerous industries could be vast. Assembly lines will be reduced and supply chains shortened. Printing on demand could also wipe out the need for warehouses for larger companies. The reduction of shipping waste and pollution of conventional subtractive manufacturing may also have a positive effect on the environment too.
Here are a few examples of industries that would benefit greatly from 3D printing:
The Creation of Pharmaceutical Drugs
Should patients obtain the ability to print out their own prescriptions, there will be an inevitable revolutionary shift in the pharmaceutical industry. Given that this can be tailored to the need of the individual, these pharmaceutical drugs may, in the future, allow you to print your pharmaceuticals in the home. A prominent British chemist has stated that in the future, patients will purchase apps or blueprints, not drugs.
Print Your Own Clothes
As technology of printers only increases, so too does the ability to print fabric-like materials. This is completed by using interlinked structures to create knits and stitches. The technique could have a drastic effect on the fashion industry in the future.
As far-fetched as it may sound, it has been suggested that 3D printers could be used to print food. Indeed, as of 2014 3D printers can be employed to print chocolate!
NASA has invested in a 3D printer for missions to Mars. Astronauts could routinely eat printed food for future space exploration missions.
The advent of 3D printing technology is, today in its infancy. Who knows where the future may take us. From clothing to food and even medicine and space exploration, the possibilities are endless.