The conventional 3D-printing technologies fabricate structures (which are static in nature) from a single material. Therefore, all the demands of dynamic functions needed for applications such as grippers for surgery, self-folding packaging, and adaptive wind turbines are not met. To overcome this limitation, researchers have come up with a new technology i.e. 4D Printing. 4D printing is the process through which a 3D printed object transforms itself into another structure under the influence of external factors such as temperature, light, or other environmental stimuli.
4D printing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 42.95% to reach USD 537.8 Mn by 2025. The factors driving this growth would be the need to reduce the costs of manufacturing and processing. Benefits of 4D printing include: increased capabilities of the printed products; new applications from adaptive materials; higher manufacturing efficiency; and, reduced manufacturing cost and carbon footprint. The key players in 4D printing domain include Stratasys (US), 3D Systems Corporation (US), Autodesk (US), Hewlett Packard (US), ExOne (US), Materialise (Belgium), and Dassault Systems (France).