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Live Chat 8/28: Discovering New Dimensions in Printing

No longer something out of sheer imagination, the newest printing technologies are positioned to transform the supply chain, or at least the way certain things are done.

Already on the scene, 3D printing is becoming a tool of choice for quick prototyping or to create intricate and difficult shapes. Earlier this summer, for example, researchers announced that they had created the world's first 3D printed battery using two different electrode inks.

Clearly, this new technology has huge implications for electronics manufacturing and the supply chain. There has been talk of 3D printing for a long time, but it seems that we are on the cusp of broader adoption.

The additive manufacturing (which creates rapid prototypes and end-use parts by creating layered 3D models) is a potentially growing market in every manufacturing sector, including automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer, according to a recent report from Marketsandmarkets.com. In fact, the global additive manufacturing market reached $1.8 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5 percent to reach nearly $3.5 billion by 2017, the report said.

Although still cost prohibitive, 3D printing is now being delivered as a service, making it more widely available. At the same time, 4D printing is already on the horizon.

This enhanced dimension of printing allows for the creation of smart components that can assemble, configure, and repair themselves automatically. Suddenly, there is a whole new world of possibilities for manufacturing opening up.

On Wednesday, August 28, at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT), we'll be gathering in the EBN Live Chat area to delve into what these new technologies may mean for the supply chain. We've invited two of our blogger experts, Jim O'Reilly and Susan Fourtané, as our special guests to help shape the conversation. Come on by and bring along your best questions and real-world experiences.

17 comments on “Live Chat 8/28: Discovering New Dimensions in Printing

  1. Houngbo_Hospice
    August 26, 2013

    “At the same time, 4D printing is already on the horizon.”

    How far will we go with the printing technology? 3D and 4D printing sound impressive. Should we be getting ready for 5D printing soon? 

  2. ahdand
    August 27, 2013

    @Hospice: Yes looks like but Im more interested in what kind of features available in such printing formats.

  3. SunitaT
    August 27, 2013

    Should we be getting ready for 5D printing soon?


    @Hospice_Houngbo, I dont think 4D and 5D will arrive soon. I think 3D technology itself will take lot of time to become popular.

  4. jbond
    August 27, 2013

    I agree. It would be interesting to find out what features are currently available with 4D printing.

  5. Eldredge
    August 27, 2013

    It is easy to see wide applications for 3D printing for prototyping, but is it viable for volume manufacturing? Are the mechanical characterisitics of printed parts comparable to those manufactured by machining, molding, or other methods?

  6. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 28, 2013

    @Hospice, it's mind bending to think what 5D printing might be… perhaps wirelessly printing thoughts from our minds? that could get a little scary. 🙂

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 28, 2013

    @tiriaupur, in some places, like here in the silicon valley, the is pretty widespread awareness and even quite a few 3D printing servers and concessoin machines. I sometimes forget that i'm in the middle of the technology mecca–and that my expereince is much different than elswhere!

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 28, 2013

    @Eldredge, that's an intersting question. i believe that right now, 3D printing can't really support VOLUME manufacturing. However, it does support smaller runs of things–and that's a start. the range of materials is broadening–and that will help a lot. We'll have to ask Jim what' he's heard.

  9. ahdand
    August 28, 2013

    @Hailey: Why do you say 3D printing cannot support the volume right now ? I think it's the best tool to support all the required areas right now.    

  10. Eldredge
    August 28, 2013

    @Hailey,

    I am under the impression that 3D printing can produce complicated shapes that are difficult to manufacture with other methods.

  11. Susan Fourtané
    August 28, 2013

    tirlapur, 

    I think you might need to read my latest article on 4D printing. 4D is already here. It adds transformation capabilities to 3D printed objects.

    -Susan

  12. jbond
    August 28, 2013

    @ Hailey. The thought of printing from our minds wirelessly caught me off guard and I burst out laughing. This was a good start to my afternoon. Thank you.

  13. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 28, 2013

    @Nimantha, i meant that you couldn't print large voumes of parts as you would in manufacturing.

  14. SunitaT
    August 31, 2013

    I think you might need to read my latest article on 4D printing. 4D is already here. It adds transformation capabilities to 3D printed objects.

    @Susan, thanks for sharing this. Will definitely go through the blogs.

  15. SunitaT
    August 31, 2013

    I think it's the best tool to support all the required areas right now.   

    @nimantha.d, true but it cant produce the large volume products. I think we need multiple 3D printers to produce large volumes.

  16. SunitaT
    August 31, 2013

    The thought of printing from our minds wirelessly caught me off guard and I burst out laughing.

    @jbond, printing wirelessly from mind, interesting idea. Can you share more about that idea ?

  17. Susan Fourtané
    September 1, 2013

    Thanks, tirlapur. Remember to read both, and watch all the videos. 🙂 

    -Susan

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