Advances in additive manufacturing have enabled functional grading and multi-material deposition to produce “4D printed” parts that are net or near net shape; creating highly complex features that are difficult to produce with conventional manufacturing processes. This article addresses the fundamental challenge of how to ensure that the design, manufacturing, and functional intent for 4D printed parts can be accurately and unambiguously communicated across the design, manufacturing, inspection, and supply value chain. The use case of a generic mini-gripper sheds light on the benefits that a new standard could bring to the engineering and design of shape memory materials.

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