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According to a new market research report, “4D Printing Market by Material (Programmable Carbon Fiber, Programmable Wood – Custom Printed Wood Grain, Programmable Textiles), End User (Aerospace, Automotive, Clothing, Construction, Defense, Healthcare & Utility) & Geography – Global Trends & Forecasts to 2019 – 2025 ” published by MarketsandMarkets (, the total market is expected to reach $537.8 Million by 2025.

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What is 4D Printing Technology?

The additive manufacturing technology has been in existence for about 30 years. Researchers have developed a new technology as an extension to 3D printing to add another dimension to additive manufacturing, known as 4D printing. The technology is a combination of smart material, a software program, and 3D printing technology. A 3D printer is provided with two inputs—a program that carryies instructions to form the final object and smart material. The 3D printer then embeds a program to smart material in printing stage. This smart material, when exposed to external energy sources such as water, heat, pressure, energy, and so on, reacts to the external conditions and transforms according to the program it is embedded with. Thus, the 4D printing technology allows users to print objects that self-transform or self-assemble over time, by printing smart materials using a 3D printer. This is a novel technology and is on the verge of commercialization.

How is ‘4D printing’ perceived by key players in various industries?

The self-transformation ability of the material would lead to a range of applications in various industries. Key players in various industries are already developing 4D printing technology to suit their applications. Airbus SAS (France) is developing a technology to cool its jet engines using smart material that reacts to temperature and a wing that morphs according to aerodynamic conditions to decrease the air resistance. Briggs Automotive Company Ltd (U.K.) is developing a morphable wing for its supercar. The wing can adjust to external conditions such as rainstorm and automatically adjust itself to provide maximum downforce to the car. The U.S. Army Research Center is developing applications such as a soldiers uniform that can alter its own camouflage or provide more effective protection against poisonous gases or shrapnel upon contact, or changing coats on submarines to ensure their durability while traveling through different climates.

How will 4D Printing benefit businesses?

It is essential for businesses to reduce the manufacturing and process costs in the current business environment of fierce competition. 4D printing technology, being based on 3D printing technology, proposes a new business model to cater to this need of today’s businesses by lowering capital requirement, reducing time-to-market, and facilitating lower requirement of holding an inventory, thereby increasing the efficiency of the business. Also, the self-transformation ability of 4D printed objects allows after-use-disposition of the object easier as it reacts to external stimuli, thus helping to maintain a sustainable environment in today’s situation of limited resources.

On the basis of material, programmable carbon fiber is expected to hold the largest market share on commercialization of the technology. Programmable wood grain and programmable fabric are expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.49% and 35.75%, respectively, during the forecast period.

This report also covers the key end-user industries of the 4D printing market including aerospace, automotive, clothing, construction, defense & military, healthcare, and utility. Of all the sectors, military & defense is expected to be the largest contributor to the overall 4D printing market by 2025. Aerospace is expected to follow the military & defense sector, accounting for a market share of 30% of the overall market by 2025.

The report also covers the 4D printing market for different geographic regions including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World (RoW). North America is expected to hold the largest market share of 43% by 2025, followed by Asia-Pacific.

The report profiles the major market players with a SWOT analysis of the key players in the 3D printing market, as 4D printing technology is yet to be commercialized. The market is expected to witness a series of new product launches, announcements, and partnerships across the value chain. The key players in 3D printing industry include 3D Systems Corporation (U.S.), Autodesk, Inc. (U.S.), ExOne Co. (U.S.), Hewlett-Packard Co. (U.S.), Organovo Holdings, Inc. (U.S.), and Stratasys Ltd. (U .S.) among others.