Advantages of 3D printing over traditional manufacturing (4)
Reduction in production waste.
By the nature of how it works (using only what is needed), additive manufacturing greatly reduces the waste incurred by traditional tooling methods. When less waste material is produced, not only are less raw materials used but the need to remove, transport and discard waste by-products is reduced to a bare minimum, as too is the carbon footprint.
Eradication of packaging.
If products are delivered via home manufacturing, then the need for packaging for any given product is completely removed. Cardboard and plastic inserts, paper instructions and glossy boxes all would no longer be required in order to deliver products to end users. Along with the products packaging, there would no longer be a need to physically ship anything, and so the freight packaging and boxing would also no longer be needed. While many companies are currently using recycled packaging for their products, the recycling process itself, as well as the physical transporting of the packages, all add to a company’s carbon footprint, but could be completely removed by additive manufacturing.
Potential to recycle material at home.
Websites like Kickstarter already have projects to create ‘home recycling’ machines to repurpose the materials used by 3D printers, which could make another significant impact on the environment. Imagine using old, no longer required products to make new, better ones! With these proposed machines, the material is shredded and melted down to be reused with fused deposition modeling printers.
If both the general public and companies embrace home fabrication, the global impact that manufacturing causes the environment could be greatly reduced.