Environmentally Friendly Solutions with 3D Printing
#Nov 08, 2023
The advantage of 3D printing when it comes to sustainability; Model, prototype, tool, mold or final product is the making of any part by adding material instead of removing it.
For example, an engine part prototype requires much less material to 3D print than machining from a block of metal. A plastic prototype of a functional door hinge can also be 3D printed in one piece, rather than being injection molded from three separate molds and then assembled.
According to a European Commission study; By 2050, additive manufacturing (AM) could save up to 90% of the raw materials required. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that additive manufacturing can reduce waste and material costs by nearly 90% and cut production energy use in half compared to conventional manufacturing. This could be encouraging news for any company considering the economic and environmental advantages of 3D printing.
More efforts are needed to solve the problems of waste, pollution and overconsumption of energy and raw materials so that all companies can become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, as everyone from governments to trade groups to consumers recognize. Even small companies have a role to play in recycling, making purchasing decisions with sustainability in mind, shortening supply chains, and switching to greener office practices such as reducing energy use.
In the aspirational circular economy, where everything made can be recycled, any 3D printing company can use recycled material as raw material and then further recycle or reuse that material once the printed part becomes obsolete. Although we have not yet achieved this goal, today 3D printing allows companies to save raw materials, produce less waste, and have other important environmentally friendly advantages.
Alternative ways for an environmentally friendly approach with 3D printing
Efficient designs for less material
Less raw material usage
Repairable designs and use of spare parts
Reducing foreign dependency with local parts production
Elimination of the need for physical inventory
Easier production with less labor and equipment
Smaller and quieter production areas