Whenever a manufacturer manufactures something, the one thing that he surely pays emphasis to is the sustainability of the product. Now, what is sustainability? This word actually refers to the process of maintaining change at a balanced rate or level. There are 3 scientific principles of sustainability- dependence on solar energy, biodiversity, and chemical cycling.
As we are speaking about 3D printing, then we should know about it. What is a 3D printer? It is basically a machine that allows creating a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model. It works by laying down many thin layers of material in succession. It depends on the manufacturer what material he wants to use for manufacturing. He can use plastic, silicon or other metals – whatever he wants.
Now the question is that, is manufacturing by 3D printing really sustainable? It is quite obvious to ask this question. Because everyone checks the sustainability of a product. Let us then check whether 3D printing really is sustainable or not.
3D printing has the potential to reduce manufacturing cost, lessen carbon dioxide emission and save energy. Research says that 3D printing reduces energy use by 2.54-9.30 EJ. It also can lessen carbon dioxide emission by 130.5*525.5 metric tons by the year of 2025.
3D printing is a lot more efficient in terms of material consumption other than the traditional way of manufacturing. It uses sustainable materials to run the process and emits a very less amount of wastes. Many companies are using recycled materials such as plastic, metal, and paper. Thus much less waste is created and thus 3D printing is quite eco-friendly without any doubt.
Now coming to the cost reduction. According to research, 3D printing reduces manufacturing costs by almost $170 billion to $593 billion. For example, 3D printed turbines can make desalinated seawater 20% less costly to produce. Manufacturing cost may include machine operation cost, material cost, labor cost etc. within itself. Most of the desktop 3D printers use the amount of power as a laptop computer. Coming to the material cost, only one example is enough. Nylon powder used in SLS costs approximately around $70 per kg whereas nylon pellets used in the 3D printing purpose can be purchased within $2-$5 per kg. The biggest advantage, in this case, is the labor cost. Because it takes only one operator whose work is just to press the button to start the 3D printer. So the labor cost here is almost 0.
Another advantage is that manufacturing by 3D printing is a lot more speedy. It takes much less time compared to the traditional way of manufacturing. Complex designs can be completed just within a few hours. This 3D printing is much more convenient when the time is the concern.
So it keeps no telling that 3D printing is a revolution in the manufacturing sector. The best part is that scientists are still doing researches in order to develop this technology. It keeps no telling that in near future 3D printing will take place of the traditional manufacturing process of the whole world.