Additive manufacturing is inherently a means of production that could improve the sustainability of industries around the world. The very idea of producing by adding only the material needed, instead of removing material in excess, without the need of producing tools could be a game-changer for the global environment. If fewer materials are needed, less are wasted. Producing parts when they are needed, and where they are needed can go a long way reducing overall emissions from industrial production.

The match between AM and sustainability also goes beyond industrial production: the use of 3D printing in construction is emerging as a much more environment-friendly approach, both in terms of workflows and materials used. This has obvious repercussions in the housing industry but also in renewable energy production.

However, the road to making AM a truly sustainable means of production is a long one. Currently, many metal AM processes are high-energy-intensive, many polymers AM processes still waste a lot of – often toxic – materials and construction 3D printing processes are still in their infancy.

As the global economy undergoes a dramatic contraction, an opportunity emerges to further develop AM into a way to produce in a more efficient way: digital, on-demand, additive and distributed manufacturing is now a serious and credible option. It may be the only option to tackle – in one shot – all the social, economic, health and environmental challenges that lie ahead.

  • Sakuu Corporation awarded patents for solid state EV battery 3D printing

    Sakuu Corporation (previously KeraCel Inc.), a specialist in automated multi-process additive manufacturing, obtained three patents related to EV battery 3D printing; a hybrid solid-state cell with a sealed anode structure, an additive manufacturing system with the ability to create an active device such as a micro-reactor or solid-state battery, and…

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  • Microlight3D selected for FET-Open European project

    Microlight3D, a specialty manufacturer of high-resolution micro-scale 2D & 3D printing systems for industrial and scientific applications, was awarded the FET-Open European funding to develop microstructured concrete that will transform the capacity of a building to cool down naturally. This nanotechnology project, led by MIRACLE – a European consortium of…

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  • 9T Labs receives Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label

    9T Labs received the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label on the company’s Red Series Additive Fusion Solution, a technology that permits the rapid, affordable, and repeatable production of carbon fiber-reinforced structural composite parts via a hybrid manufacturing process that combines 3D printing and compression molding. The label was developed by…

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  • Olympic winners will receive medals on a 3D printed Olympic podium

    Procter & Gamble in partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the International Olympics Committee officially unveiled the podiums for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 medal award ceremonies. For the first time in history, the ceremony will be held on a 3D printed Olympic podium manufactured using…

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  • Cincinnati Inc. uses BAAM to produce monolithic multi-material AM object

    Cincinnati Incorporated, a U.S.-based, build-to-order machine tool manufacturer, has used its Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine to demonstrate that recycled materials can be used for 3D printing by producing one of the largest monolithic multi-material objects to date. The demonstration successfully proved that large-scale multi-material printing can be done…

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  • “Formnext Start-up Challenge” recognizes sustainable AM ideas

    Now in its seventh year, the Formnext Start-up Challenge recognizes young and innovative companies from the world of additive manufacturing. In addition to new, creative, and viable business ideas, the subject of sustainability also plays an important role. A young company will therefore also be selected from the applicants to…

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  • 3dpbm Sustainability AM 2021 eBook

    As each year passes, the push for greater sustainability across all industries becomes more and more important. At this point, it is a necessity more than a trend. In the AM industry, it is heartening to see that most companies and groups are embracing ecological strategies, while simultaneously positioning additive…

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  • MeaTech to establish pilot chicken fat cellular production plant

    MeaTech 3D, a technology company developing a suite of advanced manufacturing technologies to produce cultured meat products, is planning to establish, own, and operate a pilot plant to commence scaled-up cultured chicken fat production in 2022. The company’s European branch, MeaTech Europe, has also commenced food technology development activities, with…

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  • How ceramics AM could help China achieve commercial nuclear fusion

    Chinese State news agency Xinhua reported that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), in a facility in the eastern city of Hefei, registered a plasma temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds on Friday. It also maintained a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds, the…

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  • How a 3D printer keeps geothermal energy flowing in Italy

    As part of our ongoing focus AM Focus 2021 on sustainability we’ve been looking at how 3D printers can help make energy generation cleaner and more efficient. One way is to help the development of next-generation nuclear power plants, another is by making fossil fuel-based energy production cleaner and more…

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