Monday, 20 August 2018

 

The next potato chip could come from a 3-D printer, according to a talk by Desktop Metal cofounder John Hart at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Next conference.

Hart, who is also an associate professor at MIT, says that 3-D printing can do everything from conceptualizing and prototyping a product to producing its last unit.

Additive manufacturing is providing value for industries outside the bounds of what may have traditionally been considered suitable for 3-D-printable products. “Frito-Lay uses the lowest-cost printers to print prototype potato chip geometries,” says Hart. “They claim that getting these plastic potato chips in their customers’ hands gives them more confidence in scaling up their production tooling.”

“These are not edible potato chips, but they have developed a technique where they prototype literally different designs and give them to their clients. They claim that getting these plastic potato chips in their customers’ hands gives them more confidence in skilling up their production tooling so they will bring potato chips to market soon,” Hart adds.

He foresees fully automated 3-D-printing facilities in the next three to five years. 

Slow production time holds back adoption of the technology, but Hart’s lab has made substantial progress on improving printing speed in the past year. “The idea of instantaneous prototyping rather than rapid prototyping can be profound for engineering development, as well as profound for the cycle of repair maintenance or emergency operations,” he says.  

Related articles: 

Avebe Starts Building New Innovation Center 

Chipsy Launches Biggest Agricultural Program for Potato Seed Production 

Nomad Foods Expands Presence in the Potato Industry 



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