Monday, 17 December 2012

Go Green with 3D Printing say Melotte

A company in Belgium called Melotte claims that 3D printing has considerable ecological and economic benefits.

The company has published an infographic with startling data about dental production processes with and without additive digital manufacturing. (right)

Is this hype, or real? We need to know more about the basis of the claim and the research approach used.

Others are also claiming significant benefits.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, additive manufacturing on average uses 50 percent less energy and saves up to 90 percent on materials costs compared to traditional manufacturing. Because one prints only the desired product, it greatly reduce the amount of materials used, and the energy required for manufacturing.

3D Printing plant
Furthermore, since additive manufacturing involves sending data around the world via the internet, rather than sending physical materials, shipping, packaging and storage is reduced to almost nil, which dramatically reduces energy use.

Lastly, the ability to cheaply print complex designs leads to more efficient designs and products, reducing the “footprint” of a product, and often strengthening it in the process. All of these factors together contribute to a dramatic reduction in waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

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