Ex-ante life cycle assessment of directed energy deposition based additive manufacturing: A comparative gearbox production case study

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Poster Number:  13 

Main Presenter:    Ana Garcia Moral 

Co-Authors:   Sonia Martel-Martín     Jesús Ibáñez      Julieta Díez-Hernández      Mario Santiago-Herrera                              

As new technologies emerge is necessary to assess if they can actually contribute to sustainable improvement of industrial processes. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a valuable tool to determine environmental impacts and compare systems. However, this comparison raises challenges when they have different maturity. This paper performs ex-ante LCA of an additive manufacturing (AM) technology, based on a step-wise approach built with parametrized modelling, allowing fair comparison with its conventional counterpart, for the study case of a gearbox component. Results show that AM technology generates higher impacts than conventional manufacturing (CM) casting process, using baseline values. These impacts can be reduced by 94% with best operating performances from literature, with emissions from 4520 to 264 kg CO2 eq./kg piece, and non-significant difference with CM (demonstrated by Monte Carlo sampling). A 58% weight reduction is necessary for the AM process to improves its environmental
sustainability. This research provides eco-design recommendations supporting decision making for further development of new technology.

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