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Rapid Prototyping and the Food industry
by Nice Rapid | Mar 01,2021 | Rapid Prototyping

You are probably wondering what rapid prototyping has to do with the food industry and how they are related. We are glad you are curious about it, so let's spread some facts to understand this relationship better. Many of the canisters, packages, and wrapping of foods or food-ingredients are being created with this technology. Hell, even most of the silverware you used these days is created using rapid prototyping. More than that, the technology is being used to provide safety and extend its lifespan.

If you wonder "how?" you probably think that most materials used in the rapid prototyping industry cannot come in direct contact with edible products; otherwise, we are risking contamination. While this is true and an undeniable fact, it's also true that many of these materials can be processed to be safe to make direct contact with your food without any risks to your health. The wonders of chemistry, engineering, and design make this happen. Food-safe materials are the norm in many industries, and it is more than likely that you've had a taste of the benefits already.

Which materials are safe for food products?

The food industry has switched to rapid prototyping to create quite a few products used by chefs, manufacturers of kitchens, or the food industry itself. Some of the most popular materials we can list are stainless steel in its variations 316, 304, and 430 to make kitchen utensils, containers, pots, and machined parts for industrial equipment pieces. The same type of use goes for titanium, although the products created with it are more durable. Cast iron is used to create more traditional pots and pans. Aluminum is used to develop baking trays.

When it comes to plastic resins, we can find HDPE commonly used for bottles, wrappers, and storage buckets. LPDE is used to create the wrapping films used by many fast-food chains and waterproof containers, and six pack rings. PET is mostly used to manufacture bottles, jars, diverse types of containers. Lastly, we have PP resins used to create microwave containers. All of these materials have been cleared by the FDA and the EFSA for both America in Europe. The manufacturing industry in Asia is well aware of these regulations, and they put a great deal of effort to follow suit since both regions are their primary markets.

What should you consider when making food-safe prototypes?

Food-safe prototypes are not exactly the exception to the norm. The brightest innovation always gets tested in the more extreme grounds possible, such as the military field or in open space. The field is currently ripe for innovation, with many companies looking to create the best product to achieve longevity for meals, especially organic ones. If you have ever heard about astronaut food, you would be surprised at how much of what they use in space is currently being used for everyday products, such as the current presentation of boxed juice. As you dig deeper, you are bound to be surprised at the industry's fast development and how it is not stopping anytime soon.

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