Left side advert image
Right side advert image
Super banner advert image
Subscribe to Print Monthly's RSS feed

Enter your email address here to sign up for our weekly newsletter

Environment

3D print “driving the sustainability agenda”

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it is more commonly known, has been criticised for its predominant use of plastic filament and high energy usage. Paul Croft of manufacturing firm 3DGBIRE, argues that 3D printing is heralding a new era of sustainable production.

Article picture

More materials such as metal are being developed to be used in 3D printing

Croft, who has also founded the Create Education project which supports 3D printing education in classrooms, claims that despite criticism, 3D printing is not only supporting sustainability, but it is actually driving the sustainability agenda. Early additive manufacturing techniques are particularly energy intensive and the plastic filament used is often unable to be recycled.

“3D printing has provoked excitement and trepidation in equal measure. Proponents of the technology have cited a world of new possibilities for all industries, lowered transportation costs and environmental impacts, reduced waste, and minimised reliance on corporations by enabling the maker movement,” says Croft. “Certainly, additive manufacturing demands significant less raw products than traditional subtractive manufacturing processes.”

It is the way in which additive manufacturing can be deployed, however, that is fundamentally changing ideas about sustainability and putting 3D printing at the front of the sustainability agenda

Filaments are being developed to be stronger and a wider range of materials can be printed using additive manufacturing. Croft says: “It is the way in which additive manufacturing can be deployed, however, that is fundamentally changing ideas about sustainability and putting 3D printing at the front of the sustainability agenda.”

He says that small companies are keeping costs down with the flexibility of prototype and manufacturing with desktop 3D printers and this standardisation of the technology is driving the creation of more environmentally-friendly filaments.

“Reducing the energy consumption associated with mass production, transport and distribution by embracing local, on demand additive manufacturing could and should deliver very significant long-term benefits and is a model that plays strongly into the sustainability agenda.”

If you have a news story, email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to have your say.


Print printer-friendly version Printable version Send to a friend Contact us

No comments found!  

Sign in:

Email 

or create your very own Print Monthly account  to join in with the conversation.


Top Right advert image
Top Right advert image

Poll Vote

What will be your next business investment?

Top Right advert image