How does 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, contribute to industrial sustainability? That was the big question at 3D-Action’s fourth seminar, which took place in Borås on April 25.
About forty people defied the rain and made their way to Borås Fashion Center to participate in 3D-Actions seminar “Sustainability through additive manufacturing”. Another 15 people joined via link. The atmosphere was one of curiosity and anticipation as Seyed Hosseini from RISE took the stage to present the project and the day's agenda. For the next five hours, we were to listen to a smorgasbord of speakers addressing sustainability from different perspectives.
First up was Jon Erik Borgen from Ocean Tech Hub, LDA. A Portuguese company that transforms discarded fishing nets into polyamide pellets and, by extension, textiles and 3D printed designer furniture. A ripple went through the room as Borgen shared the dismal fact that 50 percent of all marine litter is generated by the fishing industry. He went on to describe Ocean Tech Hub’s process and vision for a network of circular micro factories, which collects and recycles worn fishing nets in coastal communities across the globe.
“Fishermen need to change their nets often, unfortunately. If we could collect all these barely used nets it would give us access to immense amounts of very clean material. No additives are needed, you only stabilize it”, Borgen said.
Next up was Magnus Bergman from VBN Components, a company that develops very hard and abrasion-resistant metal materials for additive manufacturing.
“The manufacturing industry is facing a paradigm shift”, he said. “Conventional subtractive methods are replaced with additive manufacturing”.
It was sustainability through a simplified process and durable materials that was the focus of Bergman’s presentation. He described how VBN Components, with the help of additive manufacturing, has been able to boil down the traditionally resource-consuming manufacturing process to a few simple steps, without compromising the result. Through high carbide content and hot isostatic pressing (HIP) they have been able to create very hard and strong materials, comparable to traditionally produced metals, such as tool steel.
After lunch, a guided tour of the Smart Textiles showroom was offered, with the opportunity to get a look at the very latest textile innovations and sustainable fabrics. The participants also had the chance to listen till Erik Valvring, innovation leader at Borås Science Park, as he talked about different sustainability and automation projects carried out at Borås Textile Center.
The afternoon featured three more company presentations, a coffee break and post-session talks. The first speaker was Christofer Åhman from Add:north. We returned to circular production or, to be precise, the art of creating new products on demand by recycled or biobased materials. Add:north shared their business model: creating filament (material for 3D printing) from industrial residual waste in PLA, and using it to print everything from interior design elements to functional spare parts, which can be recycled again.
“A study carried out by Chalmers Industriteknik showed that we reduce our carbon footprint by 0.79 kilo per every kilo recycled PLA we produce”, Åhman said.
Åhman was followed by Marcel Escursell from SKF, who works with laser cladding.
“I would say that laser cladding is more 2.5D printing than 3D printing. We always start with an existing material, such as an axial bearing or a roller bearing”, Escursell explained.
Laser cladding involves printing a hard, durable and corrosion resistant metal surface on an existing product. The bulk material doesn’t necessarily have to be of high quality, since it’s the coating that will be subjected to stress. The method enhances a product’s lifespan and durability at a low material cost, which is positive from a sustainability perspective.
The final speaker was Johanna Vesterberg from Normada Furniture. She talked about how she has pushed the boundaries of what is considered possible within additive manufacturing by producing a 95 kilo biocomposite sofa, that can be recycled seven times. The company’s vision is to produce 100 % circular products that are produced locally, with locally sourced materials, on demand. She proudly announced that the company is already meeting 12 of the 17 sustainable development goals formulated by the UN.
As Vesterberg exited the stage the seminar came to an end. Many chose to stay around for the post-session talks and a chance to look at the machines and 3D printed objects that were on display.
3D-Action is planning another insight seminar, to be held in late summer/early autumn 2023. More information on the topic, date and registration process will be published on the Events and Conferences page shortly.
Visit the 3D-Action website for more information about the project and contact us if you have any questions or would like to participate in the feasibility study!