Additive Manufacturing Process and Their Applications for Green Technology

Additive Manufacturing Process and Their Applications for Green Technology

Keshavamurthy R., Vijay Tambrallimath, Prabhakar Kuppahalli, Sekhar N.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5445-5.ch014
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Growth of nature is an additive process that gives sustainable existence to the structures developed; on the other hand, traditional manufacturing techniques can be wasteful as they are subtractive. Additive manufacturing produces almost nil waste and accordingly preserves raw materials resulting in cost reduction for the procurement of the same. It will also cut down on the carbon emissions that are usually generated from industrial manufacturing. Additive printed objects are lighter as well, making them more efficient, especially when used in the automobile and aerospace industry. Further, the intrinsic characteristics and the promising merits of additive manufacturing process are expected to provide a solution to improve the sustainability of the process. This chapter comprehensively reports on various additive manufacturing processes and their sustainable applications for green technology. The state of the art, opportunities, and future, related to sustainable applications of additive manufacturing have been presented at length.
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1. Introduction

Additive Manufacturing (AM) or Rapid manufacturing also called as Rapid prototyping is the innovative way of building up a matter by a process. This follows the nature’s principle of constructing a material by adding substances in layered sections depending upon the required condition of the end product to be formed. This is more efficient and better in comparison to the age-old method of building up a material like machining, stamping, cutting etc, Additive Manufacturing creates an end result by adding up the material. The fundamental principle of preparing a model can be classified into two steps, firstly, development of three-dimensional Computer Aided Design and secondly the fabrication of the part. The process is not as simple as it sounds. There is an immense reduction in the difficulty of manufacturing complex 3D parts when looked from a point of conventional manufacturing. The basic understanding required to handle the process requires some basic inputs of dimensional quantities and perceptive knowledge of working of the machine. The material to be used for a particular purpose should possess apt properties.

Manufacturing is all about converting material inputs into products of usage. The sustainability and the environmental assessment can be looked upon, on how efficiently the process can be carried out without detrimental effects on the surroundings. AM proves out of having an advantage of being considered as a sustainable manufacturing process which can be stated with the following reasoning:

  • 1.

    The material is built up layer wise which supports in the reduction of waste material, complex geometries and lightweight materials can be easily produced which results in lesser material requirement and low energy utilization.

  • 2.

    On-demand manufacturing of required parts brings down the inventory waste reduction and loss, cuts the transportation related expenses.

  • 3.

    The health advantages of AM is an added benefit when compared to normal conventional forms of manufacturing, the prolonged exposure of the worker in hazardous environment is drastically reduced. The methods of manufacturing are taking new dimension in the process of developing components and end products when previewed from the point of AM. Numerous researchers are exploring the way of AM for its better sustainability, economic viability and benefits of economic and social impact.

Building of AM product involves certain generic steps to be followed starting from the preparation of CAD model until the printing of final 3D product. The steps can be summarized in the following flow chart (Figure 1) (Gibson et al., 2010).

Figure 1.

Flow chart of steps involved in AM


1.1. Computer Aided Design (CAD)

The basic prerequisite and the first step for the AM process is the understanding and developing a 3D model using CAD. Any professional CAD modeling software can be utilized for the purpose with an output as a solid 3D surface or solid representation.

1.2. Stereolithography (STL) Adaptation

The AM machine can understand the input CAD model only when it is in readable format by the machine. Almost every CAD model has the conversion of the format into STL form. The STL file decides the number of layers based on the external closed surface of the original CAD design.

1.3. Manipulation of STL File and Transfer

Once the file is converted to STL it needs to be transferred to the AM machine. Certain manipulations need to be done for the machine to properly fit it into correct size, position, and orientation for building.

1.4. Setup of Machine

Before the build process the AM machine has to be set up in an appropriate condition. These settings would correlate the parameters of build like timings, layer thickness, energy source, material constraint etc.

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