Additive manufacturing has emerged as an arena that is receiving intense interest from numerous technology domains, traditional and non-traditional manufacturers. With this growing interest, concerns have arisen regarding the relative performance of these novel processes compared to conventional techniques from economic, environmental, and social perspectives. Sustainability-related benefits can be realized through additive manufacturing, and it is often promoted as a sustainable technology. For appropriate future development and application, however, it will be important to understand relative costs, environmental impacts, and human health effects of processes and materials. Prior research addressing sustainability and additive manufacturing is briefly reviewed. A life cycle assessment is then conducted to understand the environmental performance of a novel additive manufacturing process known as fast mask-image-projection based stereolithography (Fast MIP-SL). In Fast MIP-SL, projection light is patterned by a digital micromirror device as a mask image to selectively cure liquid photopolymer resin, and a two-way movement design is adopted to quickly recoat material. The cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment considers the impacts related to the curing of one resin type and the consumption of electricity in the production of parts of various geometries. Using the ReCiPe 2008 method (hierarchist weighting), it is found that damage to resource availability dominates ecosystems and human health damage types for each part assessed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.