Increasing Sustainability through Additive Manufacturing
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Utilizing industrial 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) products and services give our customers access to a digital inventory of parts—files for production parts, tools, prototypes, and more that can be printed on-demand, stored in a digital database, with the ability to be sent digitally to 3D printers anywhere in the world. Parts kept in a digital inventory do not require energy to store in a physical location or to ship physically around the world, reducing energy consumption, costs, and floor space needs.
The transportation of a low-volume production part, tool, or prototype from the manufacturer to the point of need often makes up the majority of the product lifecycle’s carbon footprint—especially when urgent need requires the product to be expedited, driving up costs and transport emissions.
Würth Additive Group’s industrial 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) products and services bring the manufacturing process to the point of use, allowing our customers to 3D print production parts, tools, prototypes, and more with materials produced in the U.S., bypassing the need to transport the part via the traditional supply chain.
For example, the chart below illustrates the estimated emissions caused by expediting a product via air freight as compared to printing it on an in-house 3D printer:
In addition to reducing emissions caused by transportation, the 3D printing process, itself, is more sustainable than traditional methods of manufacturing. Subtractive manufacturing (such as CNC, die cutting, or other machining processes) cut away material to create products, and that waste material is then in many cases discarded. In contrast, additive manufacturing, prints parts layer-by-layer, using only as much material as is needed to create a part to exact specifications—minimizing waste and material consumption.
1 CO2 Footprint from shipping a 10 kg package as calculated on https://www.carboncare.org/
2 Based on a 1kg spool of 3D printer filament for most regions serviced by Würth as of December 30, 2021