Sustainability and environmental impact of fused deposition modelling (FDM) technologies

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This paper consists in a review of environmental issues of additive manufacturing technologies, mainly in those related to fused deposition modelling. The versatility, reduction of equipment costs due to patents expiring and the great flexibility offered by 3D printers have driven the amazing increase of these technologies in the last years. On the other hand, the democratization of additive manufacturing also poses some issues regarding environment; it is important to also have into account the potential effects of these technologies in the environment, coming from energy consumption, materials, and wastes produced. A review of different research works dealing with environmental impact of additive manufacturing, such as products’ life cycle assessment, energy and materials consumption, and particles and gases releases (mainly due to health issues), has been performed. The assessment performed has helped highlighting the importance of environmental issues in additive manufacturing, according to the number of published papers. The main findings are the importance of establishing a method for applying eco-design principles taking into account the specific features of additive manufacturing.

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This work was supported by Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) [grant number 2019-ICF06].

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Correspondence to Luis Suárez.

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Suárez, L., Domínguez, M. Sustainability and environmental impact of fused deposition modelling (FDM) technologies. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 106, 1267–1279 (2020).

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  • Sustainability
  • Environmental impact
  • Recycling
  • Energy consumption
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • 3D printing