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Environmental impact modeling of selective laser sintering processes

Karel Kellens (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Renaldi Renaldi (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Wim Dewulf (Group T – Leuven Engineering College, KU Leuven Association, Leuven, Belgium and Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Jean-pierre Kruth (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Joost R. Duflou (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 20 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present parametric models to estimate the environmental footprint of the selective laser sintering (SLS)’ production phase, covering energy and resource consumption as well as process emissions. Additive manufacturing processes such as (SLS) are often considered to be more sustainable then conventional manufacturing methods. However, quantitative analyses of the environmental impact of these processes are still limited and mainly focus on energy consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The required Life Cycle Inventory data are collected using the CO2PE! – Methodology, including time, power, consumables and emission studies. Multiple linear regression analyses have been applied to investigate the interrelationships between product design features on the one hand and production time (energy and resource consumption) on the other hand.

Findings

The proposed parametric process models provide accurate estimations of the environmental footprint of SLS processes based on two design features, build height and volume, and help to identify and quantify measures for significant impact reduction of both involved products and the supporting machine tools.

Practical implications

The gained environmental insight can be used as input for ecodesign activities, as well as environmental comparison of alternative manufacturing process plans.

Originality/value

This article aims to overcome the current lack of environmental impact models, covering energy and resource consumption as well as process emissions for SLS processes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen) through PhD grant N°091232, and of the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO - Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling) and the Agentschap Ondernemen (Flemish government) through the D2 project 476.

Citation

Kellens, K., Renaldi, R., Dewulf, W., Kruth, J.-p. and Duflou, J.R. (2014), "Environmental impact modeling of selective laser sintering processes", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 459-470. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-02-2013-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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