3D printing really makes manufacturing enormously more environmentally friendly. There are a few reasons why.
The number one advantage of 3d printing over different processes is it does not have to overproduce. if you look at typical consumer products today as a toy for a particular movie coming out at the Christmas time, manufacturers will produce generally about 15 to 25 percent more than anyone will ever buy. This means that 15 to 25 will basically be landfilled at the end of the holiday season, which is a huge amount of waste but this isn't necessary.
Historically, this has been necessary because when injection molding, you get one run you get to make all of the parts, and then you're basically done for that year. You get all of your inventory made in like Q1 or Q2 and then you store that until the Christmas season when you sell as much of it as you possibly can. The biggest sin is to stop selling and be short of a product because then you missed out on that one-year opportunity. With this, you then have to wait until the next year for it to come around again. The issue here is that you have all of this waste because you have to overproduce because if the cost to produce a figurine is 50 cents, the loss of landfilling or scrapping or shredding all of those toys is less than if you were to be than the loss you would have if you didn't have those toys available to sell to somebody else. The potential gain is greater than the potential or almost definite loss of these consumer goods each year, 3D printing doesn't need that. With large-scale 3d printing farms, you're able to produce thousands of parts on-demand as needed. There's no longer a reason to produce tens of thousands or millions of a component at the beginning of the year, store them for a year, and then sell as many of them. You can simply make them as you sell them and it becomes less of a one-year exercise of getting your inventory and more of a month-to-month or even week-to-week exercise of getting your inventory. Right there with that fundamental supply advantage, the ability of 3D printing to produce on-demand at scale, you eliminate 15 to 25 percent of manufacturing waste, especially in consumer goods, toys, and that kind of thing.
The other input is that 3D printing is just the most efficient process imaginable. If you think about the raw inputs of manufacturing with the molding you have the mold and then you have electricity heat and plastic to make the part. It's pretty set there after you have the mold but you've got to make that mold. If you're machining, you have a block of something and then you pick away at it until you have the shape of the thing you want to carve away at it which means that you waste or have to recycle or post-process all of those shavings all the stuff that you took away. It's very efficient in that regard because you have to double process the material. With 3D printing, you have electricity and you have the plastic and that's it the final part comes out. Now admittedly 3D printing isn't perfect. All the time, there are support materials and other kinds of components to it that can require post-processing. But a well-designed part can come off a machine fully complete and ready to go with zero waste. Again since it's only coming in response to the demand for that item, there's never any wasted inventory. Just from that straightforward kind of high-level view, 3d printing is more efficient than traditional manufacturing methods by anywhere from 25 to as much as 50 percent. You only make what you need when you need it so there's basically zero waste and there are no extraneous processes that need extra touches and extra energy to produce and maintain.
Those are kind of the main reasons that 3D printing is just phenomenally more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than other types of manufacturing processes.
Have a great day everybody!