Category Archives: sustainability

2017 World Mass Customization and Personalization Conference

Our friends at RWTH Aachen University are hosting the 2017 World Mass Customization and Personalization Conference (WMCP2017) in Aachen, Germany from 19th-21st November 2017.

The Call for Papers is currently open, and invites work from those with academic or practical backgrounds within four broad tracks:

  1. Customization & personalization via smart products
  2. Digital manufacturing
  3. Sustainability and mass customization
  4. Mass customization & personalization success factors

Abstract submission is optional by 1st May, with full papers to be submitted by 1st July.

 

Material Makespaces and the Circular Economy workshop in London

Join 3D printing and other digital fabrication companies, makers, and researchers on November 9th at Fab Lab London to explore how to gather data about materials in makespaces, and how this data can help you source and cycle materials.  We will be unveiling our open source universal testing machine that can measure mechanical properties of materials, and inviting you to use it and make one of your own. RSVP by emailing RSVP: Alysia Garmulewicz.

The workshop is a joint collaboration between the University of Oxford Department of Engineering, Fab Lab London, Wevolver, and the Ethical Filament Foundation. The workshop is part of the research program of Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing run by the Royal College of Arts and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It can be accessed as an open mic session that is part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival.materialmakespaces_finalagenda

3D printing and circular economy

Following our earlier post about our paper being accepted, we’re pleased to see that Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agendais now online in pre-publication format. If you haven’t taken a look at it yet, maybe you should do now?

Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda

Mélanie Despeisse, Martin Baumers, Phil Brown, Fiona Charnley, Simon Ford, Alysia Garmulewicz, Scott Knowles, Tim Minshall, Letizia Mortara, Felix Reed-Tsochas and Jonathan Rowley

Abstract

The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

[Image source: Mélanie Despeisse]

3D printing and sustainability article published in Journal of Cleaner Production

We’re delighted to announce that Simon Ford and Mélanie Despeisse’s paper “Additive manufacturing and sustainability: an exploratory study of the advantages and challenges” has now been published in volume 137 of the Journal of Cleaner Production.

As our project is funded by the EPSRC, the article is open access so free to download. So please download and read the paper and then let us know what you think.

Abstract

The emergence of advanced manufacturing technologies, coupled with consumer demands for more customised products and services, are causing shifts in the scale and distribution of manufacturing. In this paper, consideration is given to the role of one such advanced manufacturing process technology: additive manufacturing. The consequences of adopting this novel production technology on industrial sustainability are not well understood and this exploratory study draws on publically available data to provide insights into the impacts of additive manufacturing on sustainability. Benefits are found to exist across the product and material life cycles through product and process redesign, improvements to material input processing, make-to-order component and product manufacturing, and closing the loop. As an immature technology, there are substantial challenges to these benefits being realised at each stage of the life cycle. This paper summarises these advantages and challenges, and discusses the implications of additive manufacturing on sustainability in terms of the sources of innovation, business models, and the configuration of value chains.

Download the paper here.

[Image source: Mélanie Despeisse]

3D Printing and the Circular Economy paper accepted for publication

The Bit by Bit team are very pleased to announce that our paper on 3D printing and the circular economy, Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda, has been accepted for publication in Technological Forecasting & Social Change.

As we previously commented, the paper is the result of continued collaboration following an unsuccessful funding application to the EPSRC. With eleven authors, the paper draws together knowledge from a range of fields – business models, design, education, entrepreneurship, information science, and supply chains – and involves both academic and practitioner perspectives.  We’re very pleased that the ideas we developed and our proposed research agenda have found an outlet in this journal. Click here to read the pre-publication copy of the paper.

Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda

Mélanie Despeisse, Martin Baumers, Phil Brown, Fiona Charnley, Simon Ford, Alysia Garmulewicz, Scott Knowles, Tim Minshall, Letizia Mortara, Felix Reed-Tsochas and Jonathan Rowley

Abstract

The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

[Image source: Mélanie Despeisse]