As the COP26 closes, it has become apparent that there is no more pressing concern in industry than reducing our environmental impact. Sustainability and the circular economy need to be at the core of what businesses are doing, but it can be difficult for manufacturers to move to more sustainable methods of production. 

3D printing has the power to make it easier than ever to shift towards sustainable methods of manufacture. Whether companies utilise direct 3d printing of parts from recycled plastics, or replace existing tools with 3d printed versions, there are many ways this technology can support a move to a greener future. 

There are many instances where intelligent design and an innovative mindset can combine to enable direct 3d printing of components from sustainably sourced materials. Materials such as recycled Nylon-6 (rPA6) are strong enough and durable enough to be utilised in 3d printed structures. Combine these printed materials with composite materials such as flax fibres and you have a fully sustainable method of manufacturing strong, production ready components for a number of different uses. 

Scaled have seen that rPA6 is mechanically strong enough to be used as vehicle chassis members, such as those seen on our Project Chameleon EV concept. We are also working with a customer on a printed structure that weighs over 1 ton, showing how strong these materials can be. 

For use cases where material selection and process are defined and difficult to change, these sustainable 3d printed plastics can be used to support the toolchain. We are currently working with an automotive customer who are looking at swapping out their entire fixture set across 3 factories and 10000 different fixtures, with 3d printed versions. These fixtures are resulting in a weight reduction of around 5x. From 5 tons to 1. As part of the process of qualification for these parts, the customer subjected them to compression testing and the results were 7x better than required. 

With the ability to create complex, multi-variant designs sustainably and cost effectively, 3d printing is an excellent way to begin improving your company’s corporate social responsibility and making a substantial dent in your environmental impact.

Speak to us at Scaled in order to find out how we can support you on making the transition from traditional manufacturing to sustainable production today.