Lightweight design is often assumed to be the leading strategy to improve the sustainability of parts produced by additive manufacturing. The present study confutes such an assumption by a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of different lightweight strategies applied to a specific case study in the medical field. In particular, a patient-specific finger splint made of polyamide is redesigned by means of generative design, topology optimization and lattice structures. The analysis investigates two markedly different deposition processes, namely Arburg plastic freeforming and fused filament fabrication. The former is carried out on an industrial-grade machine, while a desktop printer is used for the latter. This allows for observing the impact of the redesign in two quite distinct scenarios. Findings demonstrate that, since environmental impacts are mainly driven by building time, the adoption of automated design algorithms can be detrimental to the sustainability of the process. On the other hand, relevant benefits on environmental impacts were achieved by reducing the infill percentage of parts. The results of this work highlight the most relevant aspects which must be considered to limit environmental impacts when designing parts for deposition-based additive manufacturing. This information can be used by designers to drive weight reduction towards sustainability.

Environmental drawbacks of lightweight design algorithms in material extrusion additive manufacturing: a case study

Mele, Mattia
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Pisaneschi, Gregorio
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Campana, Giampaolo
Conceptualization
;
Zucchelli, Andrea
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Fiorini, Maurizio
Membro del Collaboration Group
2023

Abstract

Lightweight design is often assumed to be the leading strategy to improve the sustainability of parts produced by additive manufacturing. The present study confutes such an assumption by a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of different lightweight strategies applied to a specific case study in the medical field. In particular, a patient-specific finger splint made of polyamide is redesigned by means of generative design, topology optimization and lattice structures. The analysis investigates two markedly different deposition processes, namely Arburg plastic freeforming and fused filament fabrication. The former is carried out on an industrial-grade machine, while a desktop printer is used for the latter. This allows for observing the impact of the redesign in two quite distinct scenarios. Findings demonstrate that, since environmental impacts are mainly driven by building time, the adoption of automated design algorithms can be detrimental to the sustainability of the process. On the other hand, relevant benefits on environmental impacts were achieved by reducing the infill percentage of parts. The results of this work highlight the most relevant aspects which must be considered to limit environmental impacts when designing parts for deposition-based additive manufacturing. This information can be used by designers to drive weight reduction towards sustainability.
2023
Mele, Mattia; Pisaneschi, Gregorio; Ciotti, Michele; Campana, Giampaolo; Zucchelli, Andrea; Fiorini, Maurizio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/942575
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