Industries such as automotive, aerospace, and construction, among others are generating a large amount of waste due to high usage of raw materials, and complex supply chain or logistics procedures. Thus, it has become necessary to find a solution for sustainable development in these industries. 3D printing also known as additive manufacturing has emerged as a solution which is adopted at a faster pace in various fields such as automotive, medical, aerospace, and others. Based on digital information, 3D printers produce images and parts which then can be assembled into products such as medical implants, jet components, and others. Moreover, this technology is used to make custom parts in more sophisticated way without consuming much time and at an affordable cost.

Why 3D Printing is a Green Technology?

  • Compared to traditional manufacturing processes such as injection molding, casting, stamping, and cutting, 3D printing does not produce any waste due to exactness of printing procedure
  • 3D printers use digital designs and can manufacture at homes, community centers, and stores; thereby reduces the need to transport to end users
  • With the use of 3D printing, there is no need for making entire batch in distant location with wastage of bulk quantities of raw materials. Instead, it is possible to design entire part digitally without wastage
  • 3D printers are affordable and hence this technology can be adopted by low- or middle-income countries and make their processes environment-friendly
  • 3D printing technology has the capability to produce more complex shapes and internal spaces which helps to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission in aerospace industry
  • The advancement in 3D printing technology namely, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), can print more than 90% hollow parts with reduction in material use and energy consumption. Such advances help to make sustainable environment
  • Evolution of bioplastics shifts 3D printing technology towards sustainable future due to their recycling nature
  • In conclusion, shorter supply chain, fewer logistical process, and quick designing leads to less wastage and make the technology as green technology in coming years

Less Green Side of 3D Printing

3D printing technology consumes more amount of electricity compared to other machine tools. This negatively affects environment, especially in countries where fossil fuel is used to generate electricity. Another major concern associated with 3D printing technology is release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be dangerous in closed environment.

 

Future Prospects

There are several efforts being made to reduce the energy consumption during 3D printing and make processes in various industries environment-friendly. For instance, interventions such as Solar Sinter that uses solar energy to fuse sand into glass is expected to direct 3D printing towards sustainable environment.The rising pressure on designers, developers, and manufacturers for making the manufacturing process more ecofriendly will generate a huge demand for this technology in next 5-10 years.

Tags: 3D Printing

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