Gaining a better understanding of the implications of additive manufacturing on sustainability is something of great interest to us on the Bit by Bit project. Today I’m pleased to share with you a working paper that has recently been published in the Centre for Technology Management’s working paper series: “The Role of Additive Manufacturing in Improving Resource Efficiency and Sustainability” by Mélanie Despeisse and Simon Ford. Click here to access.
Additive manufacturing is heralded as a revolutionary process technology. While it has yet to cause a dramatic transformation of the manufacturing system, there are early signs of how the characteristics of this novel production process can improve resource efficiency and other sustainability aspects. In this paper, we draw on examples from a wide range of products and industries to understand the role of additive manufacturing in sustainable industrial systems. We identify four main areas in which the adoption of additive manufacturing is leading to improved resource efficiency: (1) product and process design; (2) material input processing; (3) make-to-order product and component manufacturing; and (4) closing the loop.
Keywords: Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, sustainability
Following the recent feasibility study competition, the 3DP-RDM network is funding four projects in 2015. In this series of blog posts we introduce the four studies. Today we introduce the fourth and final study, “Organising Production Technology Into Most Responsive States – 3D Print Machine Enabled Networks (OPTIMOS PRIME)”, which is being led by Prof. Duncan McFarlane at the University of Cambridge and involving researchers at both Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh.
A major challenge for manufacturing supply networks is that of making operations lean for cost and efficiency reasons while at the same time maintaining a level of responsiveness that enables the organisation to respond to changing demands for customised products and requests for spares and repairs, along with demonstrate resilience to delays in the supply base in manufacturing operations. This project will examine the possibility of integrating 3D printing (and more broadly additive manufacturing) into conventional production environments, exploiting the ability of 3D printing to provide a rapid response customisation capability to supplement existing facilities. In particular it will focus on how the technology can be used to underpin spares and repair services which are often at odds with mainstream production.
The objectives of the project include the development of a simple control architecture that integrates multiple production sites including 3D printing systems; a demonstration system that explores the feasibility of effectively integrating conventional and 3D printing to support late customisation, spares and repairs requests and small batch orders; and an approach for assessing the potential for using a mixed convention / 3rd party 3D printing approach for different industrial conditions. It is anticipated that the information architecture developed for the management of these different facilities will be cloud-based, allowing for a common management and control system to be deployed across multiple sites.
Last week we reported that the Journal of Industrial Ecology has an open call for papers on the environmental dimensions of additive manufacturing and 3D printing. In addition to this call we’ve found the following calls for papers that are currently open on the subjects of additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
If you know about other calls or are planning to edit a special issue in this domain then we’d be very pleased to hear about those too.
The Journal of Industrial Ecology has recently announced a call for papers for a special issue on the topic “Environmental Dimensions of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing”.
Possible topics that could be addressed include the following:
- Theorizing, describing and analyzing the resource consumption patterns and environmental impacts associated with additive manufacturing technology on the machine, supply chain and aggregate levels.
- Assessing the impact of novel supply chain configurations and of the availability of new generations of products resulting from innovative design approaches, for example based on optimization methods or personalization.
- Assessment of occupational health issues including toxicology of emissions, exposure control approaches and exposure assessment including risks arising from manufacturing in non-traditional settings (home, hobbyist, and maker settings)
- Investigation of the potential for and barriers to increased repair and remanufacturing arising from additive manufacturing.
- Establishing robust environmental indicators (e.g. carbon emissions, water consumption, land use and pollution) and economic indicators (e.g. value added, employment, inequality) for comparison with conventional manufacturing routes.
- Environmental, social science, economic/business, and engineering analysis of the implications of localized and highly customized production enabled by additive manufacturing.
- Collating datasets that allow an exploration of the trade-offs occurring across additive manufacturing supply chains.
- Analyzing the environmental performance of the latest developments within additive manufacturing technology, including systems capable of depositing multiple materials and high-productivity platforms.
The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2015.
I’m pleased to share the news that one of the papers underpinning our study of the emergence of 3D printing has just received an award.
“The industrial emergence of commercial inkjet printing” by Simon Ford, Michèle Routley, Rob Phaal and David Probert has been recognised as the oustanding paper of 2014 in the European Journal of Innovation Management.
The paper shows that as new industries emerge, asynchronies between technology supply and market demand create opportunities for entrepreneurial activity. In attempting to match innovative technologies to particular applications, entrepreneurs adapt to the system conditions and shape the environment to their own advantage. Firms that successfully operate in emerging industries demonstrate the functionality of new technologies, reducing uncertainty and increasing customer receptiveness.
The article is now available to download for free.