TNO demonstrated foodprinting using 3D printing methods during the Food Inspiration Days 2012 (Eindhoven, October 2012) and at the Gastronomy trade fair (Utrecht, November 2012).
3D printing is an innovative manufacturing process whereby an object is built up, layer by layer, from a 3D computer design, using for example, printing technology or lasers. These methods can be used for the production of objects made from a single type of material as well as combinations of materials in which each material is deposited, for instance, by a separate print head. An example of a 3D printing system with several print heads is the PrintValley machine recently developed by TNO.
This kind of technology will lead to new types of production systems for the manufacture of complex multi-material products. Applications for this can be found among a whole range of sectors like electronics, solar cells, lighting and food. By combining and merging all the many different disciplines it has at its disposal, TNO can offer uniquely innovative, sustainable solutions such as food printing that make use of this multidisciplinary approach, combining knowledge of mechatronics, 3D industrial printing and specific food knowledge in the areas of ingredients, formulae, texture and structure.
Food printing offers a range of potential benefits: