Wire and Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) is a metal 3D printing technique based on robotic welding. This technique yields potential in decreasing material consumption due to its high material efficiency and freedom of shape. Empirical measurements of WAAM, using a deposition rate of 1 kg/h, were performed on site of MX3D. The measured power consumption per kg stainless steel is 2.72 kW, of which 1.74 is consumed by the welder, 0.44 by the robotic arm, and 0.54 by the ventilation. The material loss was 1.1%. A 98% argon 2% CO2 welding gas was used with a flow of 12 l/min.

A cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed. To give this assessment context, green sand casting and CNC milling were additionally assessed, through literature and databases. The purpose of this study is to develop insight into the environmental impact of WAAM. Results indicate that, in terms of total ReCiPe endpoints, the environmental impact of producing a kg of stainless steel 308 l product using WAAM is comparable to green sand casting. It equals CNC milling with a material utilization fraction of 0.75. Stainless steel is the main cause of environmental damage in all three techniques, emphasizing the importance of WAAM's mass reduction potential. When environmentally comparing the three techniques for fulfilling a certain function, optimized designs should be introduced for each manufacturing technique. Results can vary significantly based on product shape, function, materials, and process settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-447
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • LCA, Additive manufacturing, Wire + arc additive manufacturing, Metal 3D printing, Environmental impact

ID: 33425620