Exploring the Possibilities of 3D Inking

If you’ve been even remotely keeping up with trends and innovations in industrial tech, or just tech in general, then you’ve definitely heard of 3D Printing by now. Before 3D Printing could even get a solid foothold in the industrial environment, 3D Inking has come along to make a statement of its own.

Industry giant GE is looking to take 3D inking, or Direct Write, into new territories with some innovative applications that could change a number of things, from the type of data we’re able to collect from smart machines, to how efficiently they communicate with each other.

In case this is all going over your head, here’s a crash course in what exactly 3D Inking is. Imagine an industrial pen that “writes” using an ink comprised of metals and/or metal oxides. This ink creates sensors that are flexible, heat resistant of temperatures up to 2000 degrees and able to withstand immense amounts of pressure.

At present, one of the most common applications for these 3D Inking sensors is cell phone antennas, but recently GE has proposed testing the sensors in jet engines and other high-stress environments. Having sensors relaying information literally in the heat of the moment could provide invaluable information on productivity, wear/erosion, and even potentially notify about problems while or before they happen.

That got us at Fueled thinking, what else would be a good place to put an electronic sensor that would normally be too hostile? And what type of information would we like to gain? We’re not scientists, but we thought these might be some pretty good uses.

Deep-Sea Exploration
It’s been said that more is known about the surface of Mars than that of the ocean floor on our own planet. Although this isn’t entirely true, the sentiment is understood. The two most readily apparent reasons for this are that space is transparent, whereas the ocean is not, and the great pressures at the deepest depths make it extremely difficult to explore.

It would seem that 3D Inking technologies were tailor made for this type of situation. While optical technologies might not be able to function here, sensors could be deployed to track things such as deep sea currents, which are important in the exploration and understanding of climate change.

Mining/Geographical Research
Our lives still heavily depend on fossil fuels, and there are precautions that should be considered even in the retrieval of these resources. Because 3D Ink can withstand tremendous amounts of pressure, a practical use might be outfitting drills with the technology to gain information about the conditions and composition of the earth where these materials are found. Other machinery could be outfitted with 3D Ink sensors to get better information while they’re working, ideally monitoring efficiency and productivity, and the ability to prevent or provide better response times for gas leaks and oil spills.

While these are just some of our ideas, the overall goal for 3D Inking is to further contribute to the “Internet of Things” or the Industrial Internet. While this may not put any new technology in your hands, GE has definitely stuck gold in the often forgotten field of maintenance and improvement. 3D Ink sensors can be added to devices long after they’ve left the production floor, so this could mean better productivity for machines and systems already in use.

Now that you understand the process a bit better, what else could benefit from the application of this technology?

About the Author:
This article has written by Diana Zelikman. The leading iPhone application developers and masters of mobile design in New York City.

Share this article Link with your friends

Follow iGadgetware on Facebook TwitterGoogle+

No comments

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.