Sustainable Design for Additive Manufacturing

Co-chairs: Yuri Borgianni, Jeremy Faludi, Sophie Hallstedt, Steven Hoffenson, Daniela Pigosso, Serena Graziosi, Nicholas Meisel, Tino Stankovic

Invited speakers: David Rosen, Jeremy Faludi

Recent advances in digital fabrication are expanding the limits of fabricable real-world designs. They also strengthen the need for novel Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies for applications across all length scales and fields, from fundamental science to engineering practice. However, although AM technology development is gaining attention, how designers should exploit the advancements in digital fabrication to design for sustainability has not yet been sufficiently explored in the design research field. So far, the literature limits itself mostly to successful applications of AM technologies and computational approaches to design complex lightweight parts, where AM provides an environmental benefit. However, AM has sometimes higher environmental impacts than conventional manufacturing, and designers lack guidance on when AM is beneficial or harmful, and how to improve it. Although AM light-weighting applications are commendable and their purpose seems easy to justify, their impact on sustainability still depends on the application context and the remaining implications for the sustainable development goals. We are enjoying the design freedom allowed by AM technologies, but we are not giving the same priority to understanding how our Design for AM decisions are influencing the environmental impact of the product we are designing. The social and labor impacts of AM are even more unclear. This lack of emphasis on sustainability is also a consequence of AM materials and technologies' rapid and continuous evolution. We are more focused on exploring their design potential rather than understanding when it is worth adopting them and how much resources are necessary. Besides, the digital transformation, where AM plays a fundamental role, has shortened development processes: making informed design decisions is becoming even more challenging. In such an era of responsibility, how should design tools evolve to support Design for AM experts in understanding the environmental impact of their choices?

The key questions:

  • How should we redesign AM processes and materials for sustainability?
  • How should we track impacts of AM, sustainable design approaches? How do we know (predict) whether our decisions are beneficial?
  • Do we need new design tools to support sustainable Design for AM decisions?
  • What is the role of the designer in AM for sustainable design?

During the workshop, the participants discussed and proposed answers to the guided questions. The discussion was fostered by two design talks on the state-of-the-art in related topics. Participants were asked to engage in the redesign case study, looking from a sustainability point of view. They were invited to share their experiences on the use of AM for sustainable design. Participants were also be stimulated to reflect on how AM for sustainable design will impact the engineering design field in the future and how it changes the way design engineers should consider DfAM and their role in the design process.

The workshop took place online on:

Monday, 23/May/2022: 

in the Workshop D113 session (1:15pm - 4:30pm)

@DESIGN 2020 conference, October 23th – 26th 2022

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