Do you remember watching those futuristic films where food appeared from nowhere? All the character did was press a button! Well, the future is here, and that button they pressed probably works with CNC machining technology. And 3D food printing is no longer a fantasy.
Many people think of these ‘food machines’ as something that’s just coming to light. CNC technology has been around for more than twenty years. More recently, engineers have combined both cutting-edge technologies to create 3D printers for food. Combined with CNC technology, 3D printers are set to change our lives.
Not that long ago, astronauts on the International Space Station used a 3D printer to make their first pizza. This came as quite an achievement for Nasa, who said ‘pizza is very complex.’ The ingredients were sent up in capsule form before being printed into the desired shape – to make a pizza base. Then, once in orbit, an Italian astronaut added tomato sauce and other ingredients. Voila! Instant pizza.
When you consider that NASA is one of the most progressive organizations in the world, it’s no surprise that this idea has filtered down to commercial companies. We will soon find 3D food printing in homes and restaurants all over the world.
Is There a Future For 3D Food Printing
3D food printing might be the most significant innovation in the food industry yet. And NASA knows this. One of the essential considerations in long-distance space missions is how to keep astronauts fed without having to carry colossal bulk containers on board.
Think about hospitals. What better way to ensure each patient gets food with their recommended nutritional value. Not only that but the food is then tailored to each person’s tastes and requirements. And, once again, there will be no wastage.
The foodservice sector also stands to benefit in a significant way. Pastry shops, restaurants, and chocolatiers will be able to custom make foods for their customers. For example, if you’re looking to spoil your loved one with a heart-shaped chocolate cake on Valentine’s Day (or any day), all you’ll need is access to the suitable machine and ingredients (read: capsule).
You might wonder why people would be interested in a second-rate version of an already existing process. Well, there are two reasons: price and precision. And with that, let us consider the benefits we might reap from 3D food printing.
Benefits of 3D Food Printing We Can Anticipate for the Future
A recent journal article released during COVID-19 in 2021 shows the viability of 3D food printing. It is forecasted that 3D food printing technology will become an emergent trend in the new normal era. And we all know that if society is willing to embrace something, there’s a need for education.
Getting back to the issue on hand, people tend to appreciate things deemed beneficial. As such, read on to understand why we say 3D food printers are here for the long haul.
1. Saves Resources
First of all, 3D food printers can cut production costs substantially. There is no need to invest in the latest machinery, hire and train staff to use them, or pay for upgrades and maintenance. Businesses will also save on labour costs since it’s faster and more efficient. Only one person is needed to operate a 3D printing rig to produce food for a substantial number of people.
CNC technology has already proved its effectiveness in reducing operational costs in major industries such as car parts manufacturing and it won’t be any different with 3D food printing.
3. Encourages Creativity
Second, the CNC technology allows for all kinds of custom cuts; you can even make cuts on an atomic level! This means that if something needs to taste like carrots but look like potatoes – it will. What a fantastic way to get picky children to eat healthily.
Currently, we’re seeing an upsurge in the number of people beginning a career in food design. Some are into the aesthetics portion of it, while others seek to solve world food problems and environmental issues.
4. Time Efficient
Making a pizza from scratch takes no less than 10 – 15 minutes, but a 3D printer will take about 5 min to create one. All one does is:
- Download the file that includes information such as the calorific value, your nutritional requirements, taste profile, or allergy information,
- Prompt the printer to create or print meals
- After a few minutes, you’ll be enjoying your meal.
So what’s the next step? CNC machining. It is a handy tool that can change how we make things, and it’s been doing just that for decades. CNC service providers have already been used in many places, from aerospace companies to medical suppliers. With further advancements in technology, this will only continue – and who knows what else may come from CNC technology?