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Printing in the Third Dimension: Industry Status and Future Possibilities

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Over the last 20 years a new industry involving the layer by layer printing/growth of 3D products has evolved and a family of technologies has been invented. Collectively these technologies have developed and spread to be known as the Additive Manufacturing industry. The size of this industry is currently estimated to be ∼1Bn per year and growing fast. Additive Manufacturing technologies are providing opportunities that have never before existed across a vast range of sectors, the consequences promise to be profound. Processes based on inkjet, lasers, digital light projection and other technologies will be described and examples from the broad array of applications where they are being used will be shown. The talk will then focus on the technologies that are based on inkjet printing explaining why they have grown in recent years and why they are likely to be at the core of future growth of the industry. Factors such as key business drivers and overall process flexibility that have been key to the growth of the 2D inkjet printing industry will be discussed in the context of the Additive Manufacturing industry. The presentation will conclude with some indications of where inkjet could play a role in the future of this expanding industry.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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