Will 3D Printing Go Green?
Going green means to live life in a way that is friendly to the natural environment and is sustainable for the earth. The five basic principles of going green are reduce pollution, conserve resources, conserve energy, reduce consumption and waste, and protect the earth’s ecological balance.
What is Green Manufacturing? Although there are many interpretations of green manufacturing, the basis of it is a system that integrates product and process design issues with issues of manufacturing, planning and control in such a manner as to identify, quantify, assess, and manage the flow of environmental waste with the goal of reducing and ultimately minimizing environmental impact, while also trying to maximize resource efficiency. Green manufacturing is becoming important to consumers and it is a responsibility of manufacturers like us to embrace the concept and try to find ways to reduce consumptions of energy and reduce waste associated with the manufacturing process. This can be a huge challenge because many of the traditional manufacturing processes used were not designed with the environments wellbeing in mind.
We believe that 3D printing could lead to greener product manufacturing and consumption. For one, it wastes much less material than injection molding, milling and other traditional manufacturing process because instead of subtracting material away from a block, it adds material on top of material, only using what is needed to grow the geometry of the part. 3D printing also greatly simplifies the supply chain because of the ability to manufacture different designs without building a complete production line for each and every product. It opens up the doors for localized production facilities close to consumer concentrations reducing the distance parts must be shipped. Some of the other environmental benefits of 3D printing are:
- It allows architects and designers to quickly prototype green concepts.
- It allows consumers to reshape and recycle end-of-life products.
- It can utilize greener materials such as plant-based biodegradable PLA plastics, paper, and even sand.
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