More Sustainable Manufacturing Through 3D Printing (Video #3)
3D printing can support the circular economy by offering an alternative to centralized mass production. More in this video, part of our series on 3D Printing and the Circular Economy.
3D printing can be a more sustainable alternative. It is a digital manufacturing process, which avoids the use of tooling and opens the door to decentralized and distributed manufacturing. Learn more in the video below, part of our series on 3D Printing and the Circular Economy.
Resources and Related Links
- Videos in this series: What Is the Circular Economy? | Materials | Design | Manufacturing | Product | End-of-Life
- An example of distributed manufacturing: COVID-19 test swabs
- Reshored manufacturing of custom shoes, made on demand
- Production 3D printers optimized for energy consumption
Welcome to our video series on 3D printing and the circular economy. In this video, we'll talk about how 3D printing can be a more sustainable method for manufacturing.
If you think about traditional manufacturing, goods are often made in one large facility in one central location and shipped all over the world. That can be a cost effective way of doing business. But if anything happens to disrupt that supply chain, say a global pandemic, it's going to be much more difficult to get those products out everywhere that they need to go as quickly as you might like.
3D printing has a couple of advantages over that model. First of all, it's a digital process. That means it's not reliant on hard tooling like molds or dies. If you have the right printer, the right material and the part file you can make that part anywhere in the world.
Second, 3D printing allows you to produce locally. If you're not beholden to that hard tooling, then you don't need one central factory. You could have smaller 3D printing facilities spread throughout the world and very quickly and easily shift production to wherever it needs to go.
Finally, 3D printing allows you to make it on demand. You don't need a big warehouse full of inventory ready to ship at a moment's notice. You can wait for the orders to come in produce the part quickly and then send it to somebody local who needs it.
3D printing offers a more sustainable manufacturing method because it allows you to make exactly what is needed, where it is needed and only when and if it is needed. Learn more at AdditiveManufacturing.Media and gbm.media/circularAM. Thanks for watching.
Carbon fiber composite materials weigh significantly less than steel while offering comparable strength and performance. But recovering and recycling continuous fiber for additive manufacturing applications — without any effect on the mechanical properties — has proven extremely difficult. Here is how Oak Ridge National Laboratory is working to solve the challenge.
MolyWorks is future-proofing the circular economy for metals with small-footprint atomization technology that converts metal scrap into additive manufacturing powder on the spot. But that's not the end of the story.
3D printing enables sustainable production through recycled materials, end-of-product-life-cycle solutions, and helping to realize eco-friendly products.