Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Environmental Impact of Metal Additive Manufacturing

Armstrong, Mark, Hamid, Mehrabi and Naveed, Nida (2023) Environmental Impact of Metal Additive Manufacturing. In: 3D Printing and Sustainable Product Development. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, pp. 61-86. ISBN 9781003306238

Item Type: Book Section


This chapter focuses on the most current understanding of the environmental impact of metal additive manufacturing (MAM). In recent years, the initiative to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has led to substantial progress in understanding the contribution of manufacturing processes concerning global warming. However, without intervention, Earth’s temperature is likely to rise by 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052. Consequently, for a more sustainable future, the environmental impact of a product’s lifecycle should be accurately assessed and transparent. This includes all phases from mining and extraction to primary material production, feedstock production, processing, post-processing, and product disposal. While MAM has been promoted by academia and industry as a more sustainable manufacturing process, this has not been well demonstrated. There is a lack of a comprehensive comparison of energy consumption of the different MAM processes. Likewise, to establish how to implement a manufacturing process responsibly, a distinction based on systematic studies must also be made between the environmental impact of MAM compared to traditional manufacturing (TM) processes such as casting, forging, CNC machining, and powder metallurgy. The lack of defined ecological differences may also prevent the future adoption of MAM; therefore, characterising and comparing the environmental impact for sustainability is urgent. Based on the literature, this chapter first examines the energy consumption of MAM and TM to develop an appreciation for the possibilities and implications of using MAM to encourage sustainable manufacturing practices by raising awareness of the effects of energy-intensive processes. The sustainability benefits of MAM are also discussed as well as recent developments in the sphere of smart manufacturing such as the internet of things (IoT), hybrid manufacturing (HM), big data analytics (BDA), and machine learning (ML) which all have the potential to strengthen sustainable manufacturing significantly. Although this chapter demonstrates substantial progress for MAM on many fronts, studies indicate that printing consumes substantially more energy than TM processes. On the other hand, integrating various data-driven technologies to create smart and sustainable additive manufacturing (SSAM) systems may ensure that products and process parameters are optimised and that energy consumption can be adequately controlled, which is helpful for a cleaner environment.

Full text not available from this repository.

More Information

Depositing User: Mark Armstrong


Item ID: 16637
ISBN: 9781003306238
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Mark Armstrong: ORCID iD
ORCID for Mehrabi Hamid: ORCID iD
ORCID for Nida Naveed: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 10:56
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 10:56


Author: Mark Armstrong ORCID iD
Author: Mehrabi Hamid ORCID iD
Author: Nida Naveed ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Technology > School of Engineering


Engineering > Mechanical Engineering

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item