Can AM really be labeled ‘sustainable’?

What is the real footprint of Additive Manufacturing?: a scientific look at the impact linked to processes like SLS/SLM will be offered based on LCA studies of the AM systems. Pain points will be identified and strategies to overcome these sketched.

Green AM as work in progress will be documented by Dr. Craeghs, Materialise.

A presentation by Professor Joost Duflou at research groups in Life Cycle Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven.

View of the Speaker

Question 1: What drives you?
Impact reduction of manufacturing processes is core business for our LCE research group at KU Leuven: doing more with less (energy, materials) is key in our contribution to society.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your session?
Going beyond the empty worded labeling of additive manufacturing processes as ‘sustainable’: what is the real impact of AM processes and what can be done about it ?

Question 3: What emerging technologies / trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Besides process speed improving measures, like multi lasers, the greatest potential is in the material efficiency: sourcing material from secondary origin and linking to other processes for non-reusable fractions in a truly industrial symbiosis setting.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
A lower footprint and more economic operations.

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Handshakes between the important players in the value chain are required: logistical hurdles in offer and demand synchronisation should be removed.

About Joost Duflou
Joost Duflou is full professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven. He leads research groups in Life Cycle Engineering, with a focus on sustainable manufacturing, and in Flexible Sheet Metal Working. As head of the division of Manufacturing Processes and Systems he steers a research cluster specialised in new production system development based on profound knowledge of the material – process interaction. Combining both specialisations has led to profound knowledge of impact reducing strategies at manufacturing process / machine level.

About KU Leuven, Life Cycle Engineering
Over the past decades product design has gradually evolved from an art to a more systematically managed business activity. Design evaluation and optimisation techniques are being developed that verify the fitness of proposed designs for different phases of the product life cycle, including manufacturing, assembly, logistics, maintenance, disassembly, etc.

In a Life Cycle Engineering approach, these considerations are integrated in order to achieve an optimal product specification that takes into account all phases of the product life cycle. Moreover, both the total life cycle cost and the overall environmental impact are considered. Since contemporary design and development work is obviously characterised by a very high knowledge-intensity, the development of a new generation of knowledge management systems is another research interest of this research group.

The current research activities of the Life Cycle Engineering Research Group include themes such as life cycle engineering (LCE), product development methodologies, systematic innovation and knowledge management. Recent research was carried out in the area of efficient disassembly techniques to optimise the end-of-life treatment of products; the identification and analysis of energy and resource based environmental and economic improvement potential of manufacturing processes, systematic (biologically-inspired) design as well as in the domain of personalized products through user profiling.

Joost Duflou is speaker at the 2022 edition of Additive Manufacturing Climate Action Conference with the presentation title: Can AM really be labeled ‘sustainable’?.

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