Manufacturing of work pieces from stainless steel with laser additive manufacturing, known also as laser sintering or 3D printing may increase energy and material efficiency. The use of powder bed fusion offers advantages to make parts for dynamic applications of light weight and near-net-shape products. Due to these advantages among others, PBF may also reduce emissions and operational cost in various applications. However, there are only few life cycle assessment studies examining this subject despite its prospect to business opportunity. The application of Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) in Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) provides a distinct evaluation of material and energy consumption. LCI offers a possibility to improve knowledge of process efficiency. This study investigates effect of process sustainability in terms of raw material, energy and time consumption with PBF and CNC machining. The results of the experimental study indicated lower energy efficiency in the production process with PBF. This study revealed that specific energy consumption in PBF decreased when several components are built simultaneously than if they would be built individually. This is due to fact that energy consumption per part is lower. On the contrary, amount of energy needed to machine on part in case of CNC machining is lower when parts are done separately.
Nyamekye, P., Piili, H., Leino, M., & Salminen, A. (2017). Preliminary Investigation on Life Cycle Inventory of Powder Bed Fusion of Stainless Steel. In Physics Procedia (Vol. 89, pp. 108–121). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phpro.2017.08.017