Clearly some of the odder chocolate and sand-based 3D printers are still in the experimental project stage and who knows what they'll cost when and if they're commercialized. But there are a growing number of 3D printers available for pretty cheap, that is starting around $1,500. We recently wrote about one such example, and my guess is we'll be seeing much more on this front moving forward.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.