EADS Innovation Works Finds 3D Printing Reduces CO2 by 40%

(3Ders.org) EADS Innovation Works (IW), the aerospace and defence group’s research and technology organization, recently evaluated the additive manufacturing process called Direct Metal Laser-Sintering (DMLS). Developed by EOS, DMLS is being used by EADS IW to manufacture demonstration parts to explore the benefits of optimized design and production sustainability. Protection of the environment is a key driver, while a reduction in the costs of manufacturing and operating its aerospace products also underlies the group’s research. The joint study revealed that DMLS has the potential to build light, sustainable parts with CO2 footprints reduced by 40%. It also found consumption of raw material can be reduced by up to 75 per cent with DMLS.

Jon Meyer, ALM Research Team Leader at EADS IW, said of the findings, “We found several advantages in the use of DMLS, mainly concerning freedom of design and ecological aspects. We can optimize structures and integrate dedicated functionality, in addition to which DMLS can significantly reduce sites’ CO2 footprints, as demonstrated by our study with EOS. Furthermore, considering ecology and design together, optimized structures can result in reduced CO2 emissions due to weight reduction. I see tremendous potential in DMLS technology for future aircraft generations, when it comes to both development and manufacturing.”

EADS IW has defined new Technology Readiness Level (TRL) criteria focusing on sustainability. Nine TRL processes must be passed at EADS before a technology can be qualified for use in production. For each TRL review, a technology’s level of maturity is evaluated in terms of performance, engineering, manufacturing, operational readiness, value and risk. For each of these criteria, new components must out-perform existing ones.
The results from the initial joint study of AM were evaluated in terms of CO2 emissions, energy and raw material efficiency and recycling. When analysing energy consumption, the company’s investigation included not only the production phase, but also the sourcing and transportation of raw materials, argon consumption for the atomisation of the DMLS metal powder, and overall waste from atomisation.