According to the life-cycle assessment performed by AMGTA, carbon emissions are reduced by 38% through the use of Binder Jetting.

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Global trade group Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) recently released the preliminary findings of a life-cycle analysis study titled “Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment: Comparison of Casting vs Binder Jetting for an Industrial Part.” The study, commissioned by AMGTA and conducted by the Yale School of the Environment (YSE) in partnership with Desktop Metal and Trane Technologies, focuses on the environmental benefits of using binder jetting in additive manufacturing.

The study analyzed the production of a steel scroll chiller in an HVAC system from Trane to determine the environmental impact of binder jet 3D printing compared to traditional metal casting. The preliminary results showed a 38% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the binder jetting process, mainly due to reduced energy demand during production.

Kevin Klug, Lead Additive Manufacturing Engineer for Trane Technologies, stated that prior to this project, uncertainty about the life cycle emissions of binder jetting was a barrier to its adoption. However, with the results of this study, Trane Technologies is now able to consider the cost, productivity, and environmental impact of additive manufacturing earlier in the product design cycle.

Sherri Monroe, Executive Director of the AMGTA, emphasized the significance of these findings for the additive manufacturing industry and companies in the broader manufacturing sector. She highlighted the ability to quantify the reduced energy demand of binder jetting compared to traditional casting, as well as the surprising negligible impact offered by lightweighting in this specific use case.

The study was conducted over a two-year period and analyzed the cradle-to-gate manufacturing life cycle of the scroll set. It compared the traditional casting process followed by machining, plating, and finishing with the additive binder jetting process.

The key takeaway from the analysis is the 38% reduction in GHG emissions from additive manufacturing compared to traditional casting. However, the study also noted that lightweighting with a lattice-type structure had a negligible impact on limiting GHG emissions. The majority of the electricity expenditure occurs during the 3D printing, curing, and sintering steps, which are not affected by lightweighting. Instead, the overall dimensions of the part and efficient use of 3D print volumes play a more significant role.

The study suggests that a 10% mass reduction in the scroll set would lead to a 1% reduction in GHG emissions. However, the environmental benefits of lightweighting in the use phase were not assessed in this study. Additionally, production volumes and the energy mix at the manufacturing facility were found to significantly impact GHG emissions. Less efficient use of build volumes and small batch operations contribute to higher emissions. The use of sustainable energy sources in the manufacturing facility reduces environmental impacts for both manufacturing methods.

The study also assessed the environmental impacts of source powder production and found that it is an important factor to consider in the overall life cycle emissions of the part.

Overall, the preliminary results of this study highlight the significant environmental benefits of using binder jetting in additive manufacturing. The reduction in GHG emissions and the ability to consider cost, productivity, and environmental impact earlier in the design cycle make binder jetting a promising solution for sustainable production methods.

Why Binder Jetting is a Greener Way to Manufacture Metal Parts

In a recent study conducted by Yale, Trane Technologies, and the AMGTA, it was found that binder jetting, a 3D printing technology, is a greener approach to metal part production. This research validated what Desktop Metal, a leading manufacturer of binder jetting machines, has long believed based on their hands-on experience.

One of the key findings of the study was that binder jetting resulted in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to traditional manufacturing methods. The study found that binder jetting produced approximately half the amount of GHG emissions for producing metal parts compared to casting steel.

While the increase in GHG emissions for casting steel was significant, it only represented a small proportion of the overall emissions. Therefore, the role of casting steel in the overall findings was deemed “insignificant.”

Jonah Myerberg, Chief Technology Officer at Desktop Metal, expressed his delight with the study’s results, highlighting that it provided independent, third-party validation of binder jetting as a greener approach to manufacturing metal parts.

The sustainability benefits of additive manufacturing have also been demonstrated in other studies. Earlier this year, KIMYA published a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for its PETG filaments, which concluded that using recycled PETG filaments can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 35% compared to non-recycled options. This finding could encourage users to choose recycled filaments for 3D printing, contributing to a more sustainable industry.

In the metal space, Ford and IperionX announced a collaboration to design, test, and 3D print titanium components for future Ford Performance production vehicles. IperionX, a North Carolina-based titanium developer, will supply 100% recycled, low-carbon titanium to Ford. An LCA conducted by EarthShift Global found that IperionX’s titanium has a carbon footprint over 90% lower than competing titanium powders produced using plasma atomization.

These studies and collaborations demonstrate the potential of additive manufacturing to significantly reduce the environmental impact of metal part production. By choosing greener manufacturing technologies and materials, industries can play a crucial role in achieving sustainability goals.

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In conclusion, the research conducted by Yale, Trane Technologies, and the AMGTA confirms that binder jetting is a greener way to manufacture metal parts. By reducing GHG emissions and promoting the use of recycled materials, additive manufacturing has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable future.

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