Sustainability trends in 3D printing you need to know

HP released its list of predictions for 3D printing and digital manufacturing in 2020. Informed by extensive interviews with a team of experts, this year’s research identifies top trends that will have a major impact on advancing Industry 4.0 such as the need for more sustainable production, how automation will transform the factory floor, and the rise of data and software as the backbone of digital manufacturing.

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“The year ahead will be a time of realizing 3D printing and digital manufacturing’s true potential across industries,” said Pete Basiliere, Founder, Monadnock Insights. “As HP’s trend report indicates, digital manufacturing will enable production of users’ ideal designs by unlocking new and expanded software, data, services, and industrial production solutions that deliver more transformative experiences while also disrupting legacy industries.”

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EPA looks at 3D Printing emissions

The EPA is examining possible adverse effects of emissions on human health.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing its scrutiny of 3D printing emissions just as recent predictions say the technology is just beginning to revolutionize manufacturing and the supply chain.

3 D Printer

Working in cooperation with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), EPA is studying possible harmful emissions that are emitted during the 3D printing process. Also conducting research on 3D printer nanomaterials is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

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Materials Solutions achieves NADCAP accreditation for additive manufacturing in Aerospace

Materials Solutions, a Siemens business, has received accreditation from the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) for additive manufacturing in the aerospace sector. A reported first for a UK 3D printing company in this industry Phil Hatherley, General Manager at Materials Solutions, comments, “We knew that in order to deliver the highest quality parts for the aerospace sector we needed to get the NADCAP accreditation to show we were serious about working in the sector.”

NADCAP and the aerospace sector

Siemens uses Additive Manufacturing to produce various gas turbine components. Materials Solutions manufactures burner heads for Siemens gas turbines in series production. This burner heads have to withstand extreme conditions during commercial power plant operation. Photo via Materials Solutions.

NADCAP is a cooperative, industry-managed approach assessing the conformity of ‘special processes’ set by technical experts, suppliers, the National Physical Laboratory, and the National Measurement Institute.

It is universally recognized and incorporated by the aerospace industry for risk mitigation activity as it validates compliance with industry standards, best practices, and customer requirements. Both Italian metal 3D printing service provider Beam IT and QC Laboratories, Inc., a non-destructive testing (NDT) services company, have NADCAP approval for aerospace production.

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ASTM International launches second $300,000 funding round for 3D printing standards

Global standards developer ASTM International has announced the second round of funding to support the research and development of standards for the additive manufacturing industry. 

Additive Manufacturing at AMCOE. Photo via ASTM International.

Comprising an investment of $300,000 and in-kind contributions, the funding will aid ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE)’s objective to address the needs for technical standardization in the growing additive manufacturing industry.

The investment covers nine research projects helping to expedite standards in additive manufacturing. Dr. Mohsen Seifi, ASTM International’s Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs, explains that each project contributes towards different standard gaps in design, feedstock, process, post-processing, testing, and qualification. Seifi adds,

“WE ARE THRILLED TO FUND SOME OF THE MOST CRUCIAL AND HIGH-IMPACT RESEARCH PROJECTS IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TO ACCELERATE STANDARDIZATION.”

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How sustainable is 3D printing as a manufacturing process?

With additive manufacturing (AM), novel parts can be designed and built with optimized topologies, eliminating the need for machining individual pieces and then assembling them. Many are hopeful that this technology will benefit the environment through a decrease in the amounts of energy and raw materials required to make components in all sorts of industries.

How sustainable is 3D printing as a manufacturing process?

The Additive Report discussed 3D printing and its place in sustainable manufacturing with MIT Professor Timothy Gutowski, head of the university’s Environmentally Benign Manufacturing (EBM) research group. EBM focuses on examining the environmental effects associated with manufacturing products.

Additive Report: Can you provide an overview of the benefits of 3D printing in terms of sustainability?

Tim Gutowski: Any benefits depend a lot on the details. For lifecycle analysis claims, you’re setting up some version of additive manufacturing versus some version of a conventional manufacturing process. And one problem is that we have a better idea of the waste numbers for conventional manufacturing processes than we do for additive, because the latter is still a work in progress.

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Air Force certifies first field unit for 3D printing of aircraft parts

The U.S. Air Force announced its first use of certified replacement aircraft parts made by a 3D industrial printer on Monday.

An aircraft latrine cover was the first aircraft part authorized for use after being produced on a 3D printer at Travis AFB Force, Calif., the Air Force announced on Monday. Photo by Louis Briscese/USAF/UPI

The 60th Maintenance Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif., is the Air Force’s first field unit with an industrial-sized 3D printer certified to produce nonstructural aircraft parts.

The Stratasys F900 3D printer is capable of printing plastic parts up to 36-by-24-by-36 inches, using Ultem 9085, a flame-retardant high-performance thermoplastic regarded as more flexible, dense and stronger than typical plastic.

The printer, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center, offers new opportunities to create needed parts while saving time and money, an Air Force statement said on Monday.

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Additive Manufacturing put to the test by new $1.5M X-ray CT system at Auburn University

The Center for Additive Manufacturing at Auburn University, Alabama, is now home to a $1.5 million x-ray CT system. The new machine is to be applied to the nondestructive testing (NDT) of 3D printed parts, essential to the university’s programs to produce “mission critical” parts for aerospace and aviation industries.

The system was acquired with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Professor Bart Prorok, Director of Auburn’s Analytical Microscopy Center, is principal investigator on the NIST grant, and has called the x-ray CT system “a real game changer” for the center’s additive manufacturing research.

“With this new system,” Professor Prorok explains, “we can take two-dimensional x-ray pictures of a metal structure for real-time process monitoring or a series of 2D images in 360 degrees of rotation that are then reconstructed into a 3D representation of the build.”

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3D printing boom stirs legal questions

Though full of possibilities, 3D printing also raises many legal, ethical and practical concerns.

This is according to analysts and legal experts, as manufacturing industries, healthcare providers and supply chains accelerate their practical uses of 3D printing.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a technique that uses a device to create physical objects from digital models.

The output can be a prototype, tooling, jig, fixture or finished good. 3D printing consists of seven manufacturing technologies to produce items from a wide range of plastic, ceramic, glass, metal and biomaterials. The range of 3D-printable materials has grown significantly, making the technology appealing to a wider array of organisations.

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Brazil ruling on tax treatment of 3D printing could have global implications

3D printing classified as a manufacturing process means some retailers are liable for IPI excise tax

The International Tax Review reports that a tax ruling issued by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service on whether 3D printing should be classified as a manufacturing process for a business could mean retailers are liable for excise taxes. These are indirect taxes on the sale of a particular good or service such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol. Indirect means the tax is not directly paid by an individual consumer — instead, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levies the tax on the producer or merchant, who passes it onto the consumer by including it in the product’s price.

The growth of the digital economy is the result of transformative processes brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) and is changing business models. This is very important from a tax perspective. and can have implications all over the world. In fact, Because of this, the OECD issued BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Action 1, which deals with the tax challenges of the digital economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) promotes policies that seek to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

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3D printing may also disrupt product liability laws

In their recently published paper, ‘What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor? Product Safety in the Aftermath of 3D Printing,’ Klaus Heine and Shu Li discuss how a disruptive technology like 3D printing can also upset other more peripheral areas such as legal issues and product liability. Safety mechanisms must be in place to protect the public, and the authors question why there is not more concern over potentially ‘harmful 3D printed products,’ with an analysis of why ‘incumbent product liability law does not incentivize optimal deterrence.’

Focusing on the many novel 3D printing startups and business models associated with 3D printing as the ‘trigger,’ the authors point out how little informational content regarding ‘specific producers’ is provided.

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