3D printing is changing our lives just like the internet did. It can revolutionise the world in unimaginable ways. It is now a vital part of almost all sectors and was later adopted by industries such as construction, aerospace and even medicine. With global warming and environmental changes, the question is, is 3D printing sustainable?
Why 3D Printing?
3D printing builds an item by layers precisely. There are many advantages this technique brings compared to traditional manufacturing methods. For one, this allows for quick prototyping. Additionally, 3D printing increases efficiency and reduces costs.
And most importantly, 3D printing can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the process and help lower energy consumption over the product’s lifecycle.
How 3D Printing Is Sustainable
Did you know that traditional manufacturing can be wasteful? In fact, they can even consume huge amounts of raw materials and energy. On the other hand, 3D printing sculpts an item from metal or plastic and fabricates them layer by layer in a precise fashion. In turn, there’s less waste.
The design process of 3D printing is mainly done on computers, thanks to advanced computer simulations today.
Furthermore, 3D printing can help streamline the manufacturing process, leading to better gains and fewer parts. This is more common in 3D-printed electronics because the electrical and mechanical functionalities are combined that reduce the number of parts.
As mentioned, there is also a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions with the use of 3D printing. Since printing is a more efficient process, there’s less energy needed to generate results.
Next, it can create long-term fuel savings and fewer emissions from vehicles and plans when they’re used. Also, since the design process is carried out on computers, the blueprints may be shared digitally, while parts may be printed onsite or in people’s homes. As a result, it reduces the need for excessive transport that helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Finally, the recyclability and reuse of 3D printing materials is another sustainability factor. This is more popular in the metal 3D printing industry due to high metal prices. 3D printer manufacturers and technology are developing sieving solutions for metal 3D printing.
The Future of 3D Printing
It’s possible that the future of manufacturing will bring a combination of traditional methods and 3D printing. It is apparent that 3D printing is more resource-saving that allows for more efficient and novel designs that contribute to lower manufacturing requirements. Moreover, 3D printing is greener and definitely more sustainable. Still, there is more room for improvement for 3D printing as well.
The future is here. People are 3D printing small toys, jewellery, shoes, mini-me figurines, mobile phones, couches and even weapons. Right now, 3D printing is already saving the lives of hundreds of animals around the world, but it goes beyond that. It could change the very fabric of our lives, while others are talking about how it can save the planet. 3D printing is becoming more popular each day. The technology is there to be used in everyday life.
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