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Advance Welding
Sustainability and Wastage

3D Printing

3D printing reduces waste

Additive manufacturing dramatically reduces the production of scrap waste — sometimes by as much as 90 percent compared to conventional manufacturing. Additive manufacturing works in the inverse from traditional methods: rather than taking a massive piece of material and chiseling away, much like a sculptor, to reveal the form of the item in production, additive manufacturing builds an item, layer by delicate layer, with the precision of a surgeon or an artful potter. And when it comes to multi-material 3D printing, like 3D printed electronics, part counts are reduced while electrical and mechanical functionality is combined, creating a more streamlined, efficient and sustainable production process.

3D printing reduces emissions

A groundbreaking 2014 study offered confirmation to the mantra that I and many of my colleagues in the additive manufacturing industry have been repeating for more than a decade: 3D printing will help slash CO2 emissions in the future — projected in this study to be as much as 5 percent by 2025. There are multiple reasons for this. Not only is the manufacturing process itself more efficient in 3D printing but by its very nature, additive manufacturing eliminates the need for extensive transport, storage and travel required by traditional production.

In 2017, Siemens produced the first 3D printed metal replacement parts for an industrial steam turbine, slashing the lead time of their production by 40 percent. The future, it seems more and more evident, will involve a blending of additive and traditional manufacturing with powerful results.

You don’t need trucks to drive across the highway for days on end to ship specific pieces and parts; you can produce them yourself right on site. You don’t need to order and haul production equipment from one factory to the next; with 3D printing, complexity is free, and it’s also eminently mobile. Plans for even the most complex printing process can be shared digitally, allowing any factory with a 3D printer to become an instant production hub, no transport, trucking or carbon-fuelled trekking required.

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