By Melissa Donovan
The November issue of Industrial Print magazine takes a look at how three-dimensional (3D) printing and additive manufacturing (AM) are considered responsible methods of manufacturing.
Automotive, aerospace, and transportation are prime users of 3D printing technologies. When it comes to the responsible manufacturing element of 3D printing, these industry verticals as well as others benefit.
Industries where the manufacturer “has to handle the production of several different parts in rather low volumes over a long period of time” is an ideal candidate for AM, says Dr. Max Siebert, CEO/co-founder, Replique. “In transportation and aerospace, producing lightweight parts not only leads to less material and energy consumption, but also less carbon dioxide emissions during transport due to the minimized weight. Furthermore, these industries have to handle the production of several different parts in rather low volumes over a long period of time. Trains for example have a lifetime of more than 30 years. This makes it difficult to provide all necessary parts in a sustainable way. With 3D printing they can produce just the parts needed, whenever they need them.”
In the automotive space, where any part or tool can be 3D printed, Photocentric Ltd. is working on a new generation of 3D printed batteries. “Although all industries will benefit from the responsible manufacturing capabilities of 3D printing, we are working on a new generation of batteries that will drive the automotive industry. We are committed to the development of a new generation of 3D printed batteries, that will be lighter, smaller, faster charging, and more powerful,” notes Martin Thorley, marketing manager, Photocentric.
“The automotive industry benefits from responsible manufacturing with 3D printing. Known to require technologies that are highly reliable, meet strict standards, and result in maximal throughput—the automotive industry is the pinnacle of manufacturing excellence and production. When 3D printing becomes more accessible, cheaper, reliable, and widely adopted for production purposes with automotive—then we’ve hit light speed for what’s possible. There is a significant focus on transportation industries, most notably electric vehicles, and it’s no secret that lighter weight vessels will increase the vehicles’ capabilities and longevity,” adds Ryan Hayford, marketing director, Xerox Elem Additive.
Aircraft manufacturers look to 3D printing to manufacture many parts in the process. Ceramic cores are essential in the production of turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes, representing the internal channels. “The more elaborate the core design is the more efficient the blades are. This helps to reduce fuel consumption and consequently effects greenhouse gas emissions. The need for cores with complex shapes has increased considerably, with customers demanding ever-smaller, more efficient engines at lower costs. Produced mainly by injection process and then assembled by hand, this type of production generates an average of 50 percent of rejects. With 3D printing this rate is reduced to an insignificant part,” explains Kareen Malsallez, marketing manager, Sinto 3DCeram.
“3D printing is a useful tool for anyone who wants to realize their ideas,” asserts Nicola Schiavarelli, operations manager, WASP. Beyond the traditional sectors we commonly talk about like aerospace and automotive, art and construction are verticals that can benefit from the responsible manufacturing processes gleaned from AM. “The art world opened up to 3D printing by testing infinite solutions. We can scan a small sculpture and make a large statue ten times bigger, replicate historical monuments, or even print with ceramic or cement materials, giving innovative forms that with traditional processes would be impossible to obtain. Another growing sector is 3D printed construction. Today, houses can be 3D printed with natural materials obtained from the site giving new shapes, simply transferring a print file,” continues Schiavarelli.
Mariona Company, global head of sustainable packaging, HP Personalization and 3D Printing, suggests another industry ripe for disruption with 3D printing is the $10 billion fiber-based sustainable packaging market. “Because packaging development and delivery falls at the end of the product lifecycle it has traditionally been an afterthought. Now with greater global awareness and demand for sustainable impact, consumer preferences are changing, and influencing their brand loyalty. HP is working to help companies and major brands use 3D printing to more efficiently produce sustainable packaging for their own products.
Ethan Baehrend, founder/CEO, Creative 3D Technologies, believes that to understand which vertical best benefits from responsible manufacturing via 3D printing “one needs to step back and view what industries are the least efficient in their manufacturing processes from a production line standpoint. Once we understand the amount of waste each industry is generating from their lines, we can understand how they benefit from sustainable additive. My initial thought would be complex metal structures and complex plastic structures, industries that utilize harder to manufacture geometries and require more steps in a production line will generate more waste and inherently use more power and thus benefit the most from the right 3D printing technology.”
“AM provides a unique opportunity for industry players to rapidly produce parts on demand, save money, reduce waste, and streamline the supply chain at the speed of relevance,” concludes Blake Teipel, CEO, Essentium.
Nov2022, Industrial Print Magazine