A LCA and LCC analysis of pure subtractive manufacturing, wire arc additive manufacturing, and selective laser melting approaches

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Abstract

The development of sustainable manufacturing solutions is gaining attention in the manufacturing sector due to increased awareness about climate change and the formulation of stricter environmental legislation. Sustainable manufacturing involves the development of solutions that are environmentally friendly and cost-effective at the same time. Considering the opportunities and limitations of metal subtractive and additive manufacturing approaches from a sustainability perspective, this study aims to compare the environmental impact and production costs associated with the manufacture of a marine propeller using pure subtractive CNC milling along with additive Wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) approaches. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) are used to quantify the environmental and economic impacts, respectively for each manufacturing approach. Based on the LCA and LCC models formulated, and the input data collected, the WAAM approach is observed to be the most environmentally and cost-efficient approach for the marine propeller analyzed. WAAM shows an environmental impact about 2.5 times and 3.4 times lower than pure CNC milling and SLM approaches, respectively mainly due to its better material and energy efficiencies. The effect of key variables on the environmental impact and production cost such as raw material, electricity, and post-processing parameters like a material allowance for finish machining and cutting velocity is also studied to suggest the parameters ensuring sustainable performance for a particular approach. WAAM is seen to be the most economical and ecological option for a post-processing material allowance under 4 mm and the finish machining velocities below 96 m/min. Additionally, an uncertainty assessment using the Monte Carlo analysis method is also performed to give a probabilistic range of environmental impacts and production costs considering the input data uncertainties for each approach. The methodology used in this study can be applied to other additive manufacturing processes. This study can be of potential help to AM practitioners in decision-making on selecting the most sustainable approach for manufacturing their products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-85
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Processes
Volume101
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • CNC milling
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle costing
  • Selective laser melting
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Wire arc additive manufacturing

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