INVESTIGATION & DESIGN


3D printing, sustainable manufacturing

05/06/2018

CATEGORY: New advances

Large-scale industrial production looks for ways to make it more and more sustainable and additive manufacturing can be the answer to a manufacturing system more concerned about the environment.


 

This technology is put to the test from all possible points: design, materials used in its production, scale of test products and the life cycle of the manufactured products.

 

The production

Additive manufacturing ensures that good levels of production quality are achieved, reducing the number of pieces rejected. In addition, only the quantity needed is produced and the leftover materials (which are very few) can be recycled, favoring circular economy dynamics, unlike conventional production that uses large quantities of test injection molds.

 

The materials

The majority of 3D printers, both industrial and domestic, use two types of plastic: ABS, derived from petroleum, and PLA, of vegetable origin (corn starch). There are also many other materials in use and experimentation, but they are not as widespread yet. Some are paper or wood pulps, others are industrial waste and construction materials, and others are from seaweed, for example.

 

The composition

The lightness of the pieces built in 3D also favors the environment since if less heavy parts are manufactured for the automotive or aeronautical industry it contributes to a lower need for fuel and therefore to a lesser degree of environmental contamination.

 

The life of the product

Products manufactured by 3D printing tend to have a longer life cycle than those traditionally produced and therefore, the greater their life, the less their environmental impact will be. Not to mention that many products can be used again thanks to the printing of pieces in disuse or broken thing that with the traditional production was not possible.

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