3D Printing and Sustainability

3D printing is becoming more and more popular as it reduces lead times and is now much more economic and reliable than traditional manufacturing methods. More and more companies choose to manufacture their products via Additive Manufacturing methods. However, companies are also getting more conscious about the environment, searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and manufacture without waste. Let’s see what makes 3D printing a sustainable manufacturing method and why it should be chosen over traditional methods.
To begin with; owning a 3D printer, or having your parts 3D printed for you, means the part will not be transported many times. This means that you will not waste your time trying to get your parts via traditional supply chain manufacturing. Being able to produce parts on a 3D printer means no outsourcing, and thus no shipping, which removes pollution problems that come with them. Furthermore, 3D printers are faster than traditional manufacturing methods, which cuts energy consumption almost by half. 3D printing is also environmentally friendly with its material options. 3D printers use less material compared to any other manufacturing method. They use exactly the same amount of material needed to print a specific part. A majority of printers use recycled filaments in prints, which makes the whole process sustainable. In other words; waste is minimised in 3D printing as we print exactly what we need without wasting any material. As the designs are digitised, only the amount necessary to print that specific geometry is used. This whole process brings the waste down from %30 to nearly %0. As a plus, all this is possible without having to sacrifice part quality.
To sum up, 3D printing is definitely sustainable. As it reduces transport, there is less (or no) transport cost, which brings about less carbon dioxide emission. It gives us a chance to produce the entire part together with its packaging locally, minimising transportation costs and removing any harm to the ozone layer. Furthermore, the materials used to print are commonly biodegradable. Then, less carbon emission, less energy, less waste and the use of biodegradable materials all make 3D printing an ideal and sustainable manufacturing method.

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