3D printing food semi-industrial

Since 2013 FabLab Maastricht is printing food, especially chocolat. September 2014 Ruben Roumans, intern industrial product design, started his research in 3D food printing. The aim is to develop a semi-professional 3D printer for food which is fast enough, food save and affordable.

Target groups are:

  • restaurants on a higher level
  • people who can not swallow (8% in elderly homes)
  • personal nutrition (sport etc)
  • businessclass in airplanes
  • etc.

With internet research he got an overview of the existing 3D foodprinters and the different techniques they use. Although several machines were anounced none of them where on the market. The same problems as with our paste extruder for food:

  • to slow
  • foodsafety is complex
  • small cartridges, continuing printing not yet possible
  • the printed food needs to be cooled or heated before eating
  • there is one industrial 3D foodprinter in development but it will be very expensive, printing central in a country

Ruben experimented with cooks and Michelin chefs, supported by Floris Hoff and Kees Hoeijmakers. The team demonstrated beautifull 3D printed food at the 3D printshow in Paris, using the ByFlow multimaterial 3D printer. It was clear that at this stage using 3d printed molds is the best way to produce food in large amounts.

The team demonstrated 3D print Nutella on several fairs, Kerkrade, Rome, Liege, Wageningen, and Ruben could do some market research talking to more than 200 visitors.

With this experience he developed several concepts and choosed one to design in details. Three Delta 3D printers in line with a conveyor belt to get a fast production line. With InfraRed heating to finish the food.

At this moment the printer is being build, more results will soon be published.

It will be used in a test with 2 organisations for healthcare, monitored by the Zorgacademie in Heerlen.

Meanwhile ByFlow developed a 3D foodprinter for a supermarket. It will be launched in February.

This printer can 3D print chocolat in excellent quality: good taste, bite and shining. 

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