Additive Manufacturing Technology and Smart Packaging: A Reality Check

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It’s been called the start of the next Industrial Revolution. Successful uses of AM have been evolving for more than 25 years and have led to the creation of a wide range of manufactured products, from dental implants and artificial limbs to airplane wings and car parts. President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address this past February, noted its potential impact. Much recent press, including last week’s announcement of the Stratasys-Makerbot merger, makes the future of AM difficult to ignore, as its uses grow exponentially. A recent IDTechEx report says the market will be worth $4 billion by 2025.


AM has the potential to allow many other leading-edge technologies to enter the marketplace more quickly and efficiently. Consider smart packaging. These packaging systems allow product manufacturers to track and trace goods, control temperature, monitor freshness, and ensure a product’s safety or authenticity. Other times, they offer interactive gimmicks, such as Heineken’s “Ignite” bottles. An unrelated IDTechEx report shows revenue from smart packaging growing to $1.45 billion in 2023. …

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