4D printing develops materials that can change properties and characteristics based on changes in the environment—like temperature. The changes could let materials self-assemble thus speeding up manufacturing and reducing labor requirements.
4D technology and equipment is expected to grow rapidly in the healthcare, aerospace, defense, and automotive industries after it’s commercialization, according to a market-research report by Frost & Sullivan, Advances in 4-D Printing. The report also says that 4D printing faces several long-term and short-term challenges including high initial costs and the need for standardization. 4D printing could create a range of products from automotive parts to human organs. Benefits of 4D printing include: increased capabilities of the printed products; new applications from adaptive materials; added manufacturing efficiency; and, reduced manufacturing cost and carbon footprint. … (Read more)