3D printing

The challenges of 3D printing

How does 3D printing work?

3D printing is also called additive manufacturing. This term refers to a principle common to all 3D printing techniques, namely superimposing thin layers of material (16 to 180 microns thick, or more) at coordinates transmitted by a 3D file.

There are several 3D printing processes, which can be classified into three main groups:

  • Deposition of matter
  • Solidification by light
  • Adhesive bonding

These three processes work on the same basic principle, i.e. superimposing layers of matter at coordinates supplied by a 3D file. The difference lies in the way these layers are laid down and processed, as well as in the type of material used.

What is it used for?

There are a great many and varied fields of application for 3D printing. The aeronautics and space industries start by printing unique parts made to measure and NASA works on models that will be sent into space.

Medicine is also a tremendous field of application for 3D printing: made-to-measure prostheses, replicas of bones, and even (in the future) the printing of human tissue. For consumers, the manufacturing of small objects useful in everyday life is already in motion.

Fashion creators and artists now use this technology, which opens up a vast range of possibilities.

3D printing, a “naturally” ecological solution?

3D printing has many benefits in environmental terms.

  • On the production side, it lets one create increasingly customized, made-to-measure products and dispense with the imperative of economies of scale. It also benefits local production, cutting the economic and ecological cost of transport: for instance, a product designed in Japan can be printed in the United States!
  • For consumers, 3D printing opens up a whole world of repairs and enhancements for numerous everyday objects (stems of spectacles, remote control units, etc.). It heralds the end of built-in obsolescence!

Encouraging local manufacturing of products, reducing the average number of parts in a product, and reducing the amount of raw materials used to produce an object: these are just some of its ecological benefits. But the growth and democratization of the 3D printing market also increases demand for materials (plastic) and the amount of printing waste to be processed.

The OWA 3D filament therefore addresses these 2 key issues:

  • Producing in a responsible and sustainable manner, at a time when hydrocarbon resources are in short supply,
  • Offering solutions for the end of life of products and for waste treatment.
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