3D-Printing Assures Fresh Fruit Delivery

A 3D-printing device could be the answer to ensure that fruit are fresh during transport. Swiss Federal Laboratories researchers developed a novel 3D-printed fruit casing with sensors to monitor fruit’s optimal temperature.

3D-printed apple

The Science Behind the 3D-Printed Fruit

The team employed a biomimetic approach to ensure that the 3D-printed fruit has the same thermal responses as a real fruit. Biomimetic materials are those that mimic biochemical processes. The actual device consists of a 3D-printed outer shell that has the same colors, dimensions, weight, and texture as the fruit it mimics. Materials with the same heat response as the fruit fill the shell’s two halves. The thermal mixture syncs the heat response. The fruit casing also has sensors and data-logging devices embedded within.

Monitoring for Freshness

The simulator fruit that monitors the produce it packs with seamlessly blends with the produce. They find good use in places such as pre-cooling facilities, ripening facilities, refrigerated containers, and cold stores to monitor fruit pulp. During the test and study, the simulator fruit’s response was within an appreciable 5% of the real apples.

The monitoring solution helps simultaneously monitor the produce of the same batch that goes to different destinations. Similarly, different transports can also be monitored. This helps unravel the quality issues with different types of transportation. For example, a particular transport might not be using appropriate cooling methods. This greatly affects the freshness and quality of fruits the transport is carrying. The monitoring fruit captures this information, which helps assessing the efficiency and quality of transport.

3D-printing a fruit can also find interesting IoT solution. The simulator fruit can be IoT-enabled to share data for further advanced data analytics.

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