Additive Manufacturing Strategies

GE Additive, Siemens and 10 More Join Sustainable 3D Printing Trade Group

ST Medical Devices

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Securing environmentally friendly manufacturing industries is ideal to reduce cost and waste, support cleaner and greener technologies, and lower the negative impacts of production on society and the environment. Additive manufacturing (AM) has been rapidly developing over the last decade and shows great potential to reduce the need for energy- and resource-intensive manufacturing processes. By disrupting total supply chains, enabling circular economies and creating less material waste, AM is naturally poised to become a great alternative to traditional manufacturing methods, like injection molding and die casting. The rapid design iteration and feedback cycle in 3D printing technologies have even proven to be an ideal and sustainable solution to the complex global and ongoing health pandemic arising from the COVID-19 virus in 2020.

To promote the environmental benefits of AM over traditional methods of manufacturing, leading independent metal AM provider Sintavia launched in November 2019 a trade group for additive manufacturers. Since then, the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) has garnered a great deal of attention encouraging pro-environmental behavior. The group has now announced new AM companies have joined the organization in a bid to advance the technology’s sustainability. The new additions drive up the organization membership base to twelve companies from eight countries, all of them committed to promoting sustainability in the sector.

Sintavia is the only company in the world with Nadcap approvals for laser additive manufacturing, electron beam additive manufacturing, and in-house heat treatment. Image courtesy of Business Wire.

Joining Sintavia as co-founders are the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, a supplier of stable industrial gases to a wide variety of global industries headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and QC Laboratories, a subsidiary of Sintavia and an industrial and commercial non-destructive testing laboratory focused on AM components. These co-founders will determine the strategic direction of the AMGTA, provide governance oversight, and consider future research projects that members may vote to commission.

Additionally, nine AM manufacturers will become participating member companies and contribute their expertise to develop best practices for AM, as well as help other organization members grow their businesses and acquire new customers. From Karlskoga, Sweden, Additive Manufacturing Excellence For Industry (AMEXCI), an accelerator for the adoption of additive manufacturing in Nordic industries will become part of the AMGTA family. As well as the Danish AM Hub, Denmark’s national meeting point for the AM ecosystem, strengthening the Danish business community’s competitiveness by promoting the use of 3D printing technology.

The Danish AM Hub Fund supports emerging technologies and sustainability. Image courtesy of Danish AM Hub.

EOS, the world’s leading technology supplier in industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers is also joining in as participating member. So, is GE Additive, another world leader, this time in additive design and manufacturing, a pioneering process that has the power and potential to transform businesses. With three decades of 3D printing experience, software solutions and 3D printing services provider Materialise will provide knowledgeable expertise on open and flexible platforms to enable industry players build innovative 3D printing applications.

The other companies involved include Siemens Digital Industries Software, a driver of design, engineering and manufacturing transformation with its Xcelerator digital enterprise portfolio; leading German provider of industrial metal 3D printing machines SLM Solutions, focused on metal additive manufacturing and multi-laser technology, and Stryker, a leading medical technology company offering innovative products and services in the fields of orthopaedics, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine. Finally, the AMGTA will be joined by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), a group of industry-led manufacturing research and development facilities transforming skills, productivity and innovation helping to make the country a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

“I’m delighted to welcome each of these esteemed founding members and participating member companies to the AMGTA,” said Sherry Handel, AMGTA’s Executive Director. “Their commitment not only to support the mission of our new trade group, but also their passion for sustainability, well positions the AMGTA to serve as a key industry resource in advancing sustainability in the additive manufacturing industry. I am looking forward to working with each of our member companies as we embark on this exciting and important journey together.”

Handel had previously expressed her enthusiasm over AMGTA’s focus on promoting the inherently positive environmental benefits of AM within key industries and the public at large during a Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) virtual sustainability panel on September 2020. At the time, the expert said companies in the AMGTA space could help produce independent research, good reliable data and metrics. For Handel, the existing research does not provide enough good metrics in data, so AMGTA is already commissioning academic research through life-cycle assessment (LCA), to quantify and provide data and metrics on what it takes to produce a particular part via both traditional and AM processes. Eventually, this will help the industry better understand what the eco-footprint is, and reveal some areas that will make it even more sustainable in the future.

With waste from billions of tons of raw material extracted and processed taking a toll on our planet and our health, Handel also suggested there is a huge opportunity to improve manufacturing processes and create a true circular economy. Everyone contribuiting is what going to make it happen, remarked Handel. That is why AMGTA is taking the first steps in thatc direction, towards a more sustainable production life cycle, promoting the environmental benefits of AM within end markets and with the general public as a whole.

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