Eco-assessment of laser-sintering technology

Krailling, Germany/London – EOS, a manufacturer of laser sintering systems, and EADS Innovation Works (IW) will study the potential of the direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) process to generate savings in the use of energy and raw materials and to develop a new range of manufacturing technologies to integrate sustainability-relevant aspects into products and product manufacturing.

Jul 19th, 2011

Krailling, Germany/London – EOS, a manufacturer of laser sintering systems, and EADS Innovation Works (IW) will study the potential of the direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) process to generate savings in the use of energy and raw materials and to develop a new range of manufacturing technologies to integrate sustainability-relevant aspects into products and product manufacturing.

A previous EADS IW study showed that although the use of energy during the manufacturing phase could not compare with conventional manufacturing processes, energy consumption during the use-phase of aircraft components dropped significantly.

In parallel, EOS carried out a product carbon footprint (PCF) calculation of one kilogram of sintered material that supported EADS IW’s research, as they showed that the greatest impact on reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption was to be found during the use-phase of laser-sintered components. It was while comparing data that EADS IW and EOS agreed to carry out a collaborative environmental study.

Technologies applied to aerospace normally have to go through a nine-step process called TRL (Technology Readiness Level) before they are ready to undergo qualification. For each TRL review, the evolution in maturity of a technology is measured in terms of performance, engineering, manufacturing and operational readiness, as well as value and risk and sustainability/environment. The latter is a new criterion linked to EADS Group’s eco-efficiency vision in conjunction with EADS IW.

Following on from the original study, EADS IW and EOS will now complete a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – covering energy consumption, material use, CO2 emissions and use of hazardous material – benchmarking an optimized design for use with EOS’ next generation platform EOSINT M 280 metal system. Results are expected to show improvements in sustainable performance not only on the component, but also on its manufacturing.

The joint EOS/EADS IW project will be carried out throughout the rest of the year. More detailed results will be made available towards the end of 2011. For more information, e-mail: claudia.jordan@eos.info or Alvaro.b.Meredith@EADS-UK.com.

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