"Digital" materials is the new "i" anything, strictly a marketing term. These materials are manipulated by an electro-mechanical device controlled digitally and the shape that it making arose from a digital file.
Semantic argument aside the technology is fascinating and the proliferation of materials that are compatible with these 3-D printing processes can only serve to make the life of the design engineer simpler. Printing a 3-D part is a first step in the evaluation of a design, does it look, fit, etc. as I expected. If so, good, I can make a more functional prototype with more appropriate materials, if not, good, I didn't spend too much money or waste too much time.
I look forward to the growth of this technology, but I won't be calling these 3-D inks "digital materials".
That's my impression, too, Rob. Objet has been quite consistent in its drive to make more materials available for its 3D process, to serve the need for function as well as for form and fit, in prototypes and models.
Hi - some clarity on our Digital Materials: Digital materials are composite materials made of 2 physical cartridge base materials. The two Objet model materials are integrated in specific concentrations and structures to provide the desired mechanical and thermal properties; enables close simulation of the target product materials. Digital Materials are generated on the fly during the printing process using a software algorithm which defines the jetting pattern which results in the composed materials structure. Digital materials do not exist as cartridge-based materials but only in the resulting model or part.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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