3 min read

The printing industry might not be a sector which most people associate with having futuristic innovations on the horizon including artificial intelligence, robotics, and defence; however, the printing industry is close to having a number of cutting edge applications using all of these technologies.

To highlight the potential within the industry, we are going to look at what the most likely advancements will be and how they will impact business and consumers in the UK and further afield.

Continued development in 3D printing

The development of 3D printing has gone from strength to strength in recent years as the technology has been used by businesses and consumers for a plethora of uses.

Airlines no longer have to rely on long supply chains to get hold of certain parts for aeroplanes as they can simply print parts using specialised 3D printers, while businesses in the far east are now able to print mechanical parts of their own and sell to locals for a fraction of the price of the same parts which had to be imported from overseas.

The technology has liberated vast numbers of businesses and people from a number of pain points while offering solutions to some of the biggest issues facing the planet, such as health care, national security and sustainability.

People are now having prosthetic limbs printed to such finely bespoke measurements, that they get more movement and agility out of their new limbs than ever imagined, while organs are being printed using the cells of the person needing them, meaning the threat of rejection is lower than a new organ from somebody else.

Artificial intelligence and voice control

AI is one of the biggest buzzwords across most industries dealing with technology, and the printing sector is no different. One application of the technology may include voice-controlled smart assistants in warehouses and when dealing with printing machinery.

For example, imagine if a commercial printing machine had a voice like Siri, but it was much much smarter and was totally focused on providing assistance and help with print jobs and changes that may need to be made during a print run.

A technician could simply ask the machine to make the front cover of a magazine slightly darker or lighter while getting ongoing diagnostics, ink information and more, during a vocal conversation with the machine.


While the T-1000 scared the living daylights out of people in ‘Terminator 2’, the reality of robots taking over the world, for the time being, is extremely slim. That is mainly due to the fact that most robots are designed to perform extremely specific tasks such as moving collateral or transporting goods.

Within the printing industry, robots may become more and more popular in warehouses, replacing drivers in forklifts, as the use of such robots in an Amazon warehouse is highlighted here.

A realistic future?

Though all of these predictions sound far fetched, the reality is that many of the applications and technologies already exist and are actually even further ahead in labs and testing facilities.

Slowly but surely, ‘Tomorrow’s World’ is becoming a reality today, even within an industry that many people would associate with nothing more than paper and ink.