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Environmental dimensions of additive manufacturing: mapping application domains and their environmental implications

Kellens, Karel; Baumers, Martin; Gutowski, Timothy G.; Flanagan, William; Lifset, Reid; Duflou, Joost R.

Authors

Karel Kellens karel.kellens@kuleuven.be

Timothy G. Gutowski gutowski@mit.edu

William Flanagan flanagan@ge.com

Reid Lifset reid.lifset@yale.edu

Joost R. Duflou Joost.Duflou@kuleuven.be



Abstract

Additive manufacturing (AM) proposes a novel paradigm for engineering design and manufacturing, which has profound economic, environmental, and security implications. The design freedom offered by this category of manufacturing processes and its ability to locally print almost each designable object will have important repercussions across society. While AM applications are progressing from rapid prototyping to the production of end-use products, the environmental dimensions and related impacts of these evolving manufacturing processes have yet to be extensively examined. Only limited quantitative data are available on how AM manufactured products compare to conventionally manufactured ones in terms of energy and material consumption, transportation costs, pollution and waste, health and safety issues, as well as other environmental impacts over their full lifetime. Reported research indicates that the specific energy of current AM systems is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude higher compared to that of conventional manufacturing processes. However, only part of the AM process taxonomy is yet documented in terms of its environmental performance, and most life cycle inventory (LCI) efforts mainly focus on energy consumption. From an environmental perspective, AM manufactured parts can be beneficial for very small batches, or in cases where AM-based redesigns offer substantial functional advantages during the product use phase (e.g., lightweight part designs and part remanufacturing). Important pending research questions include the LCI of AM feedstock production, supply-chain consequences, and health and safety issues relating to AM.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2017
Journal Journal of Industrial Ecology
Print ISSN 1088-1980
Electronic ISSN 1530-9290
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Kellens, K., Baumers, M., Gutowski, T. G., Flanagan, W., Lifset, R., & Duflou, J. R. (2017). Environmental dimensions of additive manufacturing: mapping application domains and their environmental implications. Journal of Industrial Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12629
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12629
Keywords additive manufacturing, energy efficiency, industrial ecology, resource efficiency, sustainability, 3D printing
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.12629/abstract
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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