Back to Overview

3 New Technologies to Watch in 2015

Many people will remember 2014 as the year of trade cases and consolidation – and for good reason. Those issues ruled the industry’s media reports and affected business on a global scale.

However, we think it’s important to also remember the incredible strides scientists, architects and designers have made in the technology of metals.

Below, we break down three different technologies that we’re keeping an eye on in 2015.

1. 3D Printing

While the technology is still cost-prohibitive for the average maker, printing in 3D with metals saw huge rise in 2014 with the 3D printing of the first metal gun. As more and more companies begin to invest in this technology and equipment prices continue to plummet, the question becomes: “what should you ethically be able to print in your basement?”

Those ethical issues aside, we’re watching 3D printing advances for the impact they will inevitably have on manufacturers in our industry.

In fact, MatterFab, a startup that hopes to reduce the cost associated with metal printing, was founded on the back of a shop that produced machine parts for aerospace. When that company started making its own parts by 3D printing 3 years ago, now-CEO Matt Burris knew he was on to something.

Interested in scoring a metal 3D printer for your business? You’re in luck: MatterFab is in construction mode and hopes to ship its first printers in early 2015.

2. Shape Conscious Metal

Also called shape memory alloys (SMAs) or “smart metal,” these alloys remember their original shape and can return to that shape in the case of deformity.

Currently, these alloys require the use of heat to revert back, which makes them unusable in applications where high temperatures aren’t tolerated. Still, researchers have made strides to reduce the temperature that activates the alloys, allowing for more versatile use cases with substances like concrete.

Take a look at this video to get an idea of how SMAs work:

3. Biomimicry

Though not technically a new technology, biomimicry – the concept of designing man-made objects to mimic nature – never gets old. Throughout the past few years biomimicry has helped to create everything from a climbing robot with feet that grip like a gecko’s to steel that bends like bamboo.

Each year scientists and researchers come up with new ways to integrate the laws of nature into our every day lives, proving once again that nature knows best.

To stay up to date on what’s new in the world of biomimicry, take a look at the Design Challenges issued by the Biomimicry Institute.

Did we miss something cool? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter.

A Round-Up of Steel Industry Resources