3D printing and the environment, a deep relationship

It’s 2021 and there’s no longer any denying the fact that human activity needs sustainable alternatives to protect (and improve) the health of the planet. Everything we can do to reduce waste, energy consumption and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere should not be an option for industrial sectors, but an obligation. 

Thus, technology has the duty to advance on this path of sustainability, and techniques such as additive manufacturing bring us closer and closer to a greener future. More and more companies are joining the use of 3D printing, not only as a method to save on design and production times, but also to reduce waste and energy costs generated by their activity. 

The new digital revolution is transforming the industry and technologies such as additive manufacturing are changing traditional manufacturing methods radically. Therefore, 3D printing is a very smart way to work to reach a much more sustainable industry. 

Additive Manufacturing and Sustainability 

3D printing is an optimized manufacturing system that only uses the material strictly necessary for the production of parts. But it is much more than that and its applications are endless in a wide variety of sectors: industry, construction, architecture, health, consumer products, and a long etcetera. 

In short, the use of additive manufacturing in the development and production processes has a great impact on the efficiency of the project, minimizing the use of resources and making it, therefore, more sustainable. 

Reduction of materials and waste 

Thanks to the intelligent models that emerge from 3D printing, information is obtained that can be analyzed to detect incidents that would otherwise reduce the sustainability and viability of the projects. Among other things, additive manufacturing helps detect and prevent energy losses, excessive water consumption or waste generation. In this way, the industry can make optimized use of resources, ensuring that its projects do not have failures that have an impact on the environment. 

In addition, 3D printing only uses the material strictly necessary to carry out production, and its use in the product development phase minimizes trial and error testing, thus reducing the amount of material needed to complete a final product or prototype. 

Impresion 3D

Reduced design and manufacturing times 

For the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) sector, additive manufacturing has been a great leap forward. Engineers can design their projects in record time while being able to check their feasibility through functional prototypes before launching into production. Architects are able to build, in a matter of hours, super-realistic models that would otherwise take days or weeks to prepare. Finally, builders, engineers and technicians can apply the designs of architects and engineers in an optimized way, reducing time and resource utilization drastically, while avoiding human errors that are difficult to foresee without this technology. 

All this helps to save time and contributes to a lower energy expenditure and an increase in the efficiency of the industry. 

Reduced logistics and local manufacturing 

Thanks to 3D printing, companies can internalize a large number of processes. This way you can save a lot of time, effort, resources and money on logistics. There is no longer a need for department stores to manage production, but thanks to the speed of production, companies can now produce on demand, that is, have a digital stock and manufacture the parts when necessary. Manufacturing what is right and necessary at the right time represents a radical change that avoids the waste of resources and energy and from the economic point of view, drastically reduces immobilized capital. This need to reduce dependence on supply from the other part of the world on parts that can be critical, has increased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, from which we can learn the need to implement Distributed Manufacturing.

In addition, the costs, both economic and ecological, involved in travel are significantly reduced. This means that companies can already produce locally, avoiding large amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. 

However, we can say that additive manufacturing is a great ally of industry 4.0. and the environment. The digital transformation goes through the reduction of ecological costs generated by human activity and 3D printing offers many advantages to optimize the industrial sector 

Do you have any questions or queries about additive manufacturing and its benefits? Get in touch with us, we will be happy to help you!