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Sustainability Analysis of 3D Printing Adoption in Distributed Manufacturing of Mobile Case Covers

Andrea Salvatori

Sustainability Analysis of 3D Printing Adoption in Distributed Manufacturing of Mobile Case Covers.

Rel. Paolo Minetola. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Meccanica (Mechanical Engineering), 2021

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Traditional manufacturing of short life cycle products frequently leads to overproduction and much unsold waste products. This is due to excessive demand forecasts made to satisfy quick product launch and responsive fulfilment, usually achieved through make-to-stock production using injection moulding. This leads to unnecessary wastes that burden on the environment while, due to usual local production, the CO2 emissions totally burden on the region of interest, which in most cases is China. This work investigates the impact, in terms of sustainability, of adopting distributed manufacturing through Three-Dimensional Printing (3DP) compared to localized manufacturing through injection moulding, in the production of mobile case covers. 3DP technologies, including in-home recycling systems, not only enable a make-to-order production, leading to drastically decrease wastes, but also empowers the final user with full control of the end-of-life product disposal management. A state of art review was conducted over recent analysis of additively manufactured products to build a comprehensive life cycle model to assess sustainability in all its three aspects: economic, environmental, and societal. The model was then applied to the case study through Vensim software which analyzes the impact of distributed manufacturing over a period that sees the demand for 3D printed covers and in-home recycling systems increase according to the Bass diffusion model, an equation that describes the process of how new products get adopted in a population. The analysis provides a detailed quantitative evaluation of cost, energy, wastes and CO2 emissions in both manufacturing approaches and shows a fall in 3DP production costs and total wastes, while a slight decrease in 3D printing energy consumption does not lead to a consistent reduction in CO2 emissions which appear steady over time. The emissions however are no more entirely burden by a single region but equally distributed over all regions, according to their cover consumption. It emerges that the adoption of 3DP technology fairly redistributes emissions towards the consumer countries however on a global perspective the benefits are not evident. The capabilities of this technology suggest improvement in sustainability, but further studies are required to validate this statement.

Relators: Paolo Minetola
Academic year: 2020/21
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 100
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Meccanica (Mechanical Engineering)
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-33 - MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/18603
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