I remember reading an article published over 10 years ago in Popular Science Magazine; unfortunately I can’t locate the archive on-line. It explained ink jet technology in detail and examined how such technology could even be used for building and construction. Ink jet or what I refer to as “nozzle technology” is re-shaping many industries. Here are three examples where ink jet is causing disruptions to existing industries, while giving birth to new ones.
Label and Decal Printing
This one is obvious and is how all of this started. Back in the day when someone required a small quantity of custom printed labels they would order from their local printing company. The printing company would have to make the printing plates, mount them on press, then print the job. Now with digital technology, a lot of small jobs can be printed at home on the all-in-one ink jet printers—with high resolution, and as soon as required. For larger jobs, even the commercial printing outfits are converting over to digital and full color ink jet printing. They can now offer the customers on-demand digital printing, on a variety of materials.
Weapon and Ammunition Manufacturing
An article in last week’s local newspaper mentioned that the Pentagon has invested a lot of money in 3D printing technology that allows weapons, parts, and ammunition to be printed in the field. This will negate the need to have helicopters, or drones, fly supplies to ground troops. Obviously this will help the troops to be more secure in their hiding/locations, and will allow them to manufacture ammo and parts, while in the field! While, as far as I know, most weapons are made from metals, I have read that some of the new composite materials are just as durable.
Building and Construction
Consider how ink jet nozzle technology works—much the same way as traditional plotters. They essentially plot x and y points on a grid. A giant, ink jet machine that can eject cement instead of ink is all that is required. Even the copper wiring and electrical systems can be produced via this technology. In theory, this should help construction prices to —after of course the overhead on the pricy equipment and robots are met! These are just 3 areas where ink jet “nozzle” technology and robotics are replacing current manufacturing methods. Look for this technology to evolve at an increasing rate, as it re-shapes entire industries. Stay tuned.