Factory of the Future 1.0 is the world’s largest 3D printer

A giant 3D printer is a next-generation machine to catalyse the future of sustainable manufacturing across a range of industries according to the University of Maine in the United States of America.

The university claims to have broken its own record for the world’s largest polymer 3D printer – with the new printer four times larger than the previous machine.

The Factory of the Future 1.0 (FoF 1.0), as it has been named, can print objects 29 metres long. But experts say that despite this advance, most of us will continue to live in houses made of bricks and mortar.

Large 3D printers can be useful, for example, after natural disasters to manufacture parts of destroyed buildings.

The University of Maine says it hopes the printer can be used to manufacture affordable housing, as well as bridges, boats, wind turbines and added value in the defence and security services.

The printer can print up to 227kg of material per hour. Although 3D printers often print with plastic, the university hopes to include more sustainable materials and prioritise recycled polymers.

The 3D printing process saves time and waste by using only the necessary materials, but it still has some environmental impacts. However, because the products are first designed on a computer, their energy efficiency can be calculated in advance – and they can be printed in a way that takes less time.

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