A social life cycle assessment framework for additive manufacturing products

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Additive Manufacturing (AM) is viewed as a disruptive technology with the potential to replace many manufacturing processes. With its rapid proliferation in recent years, it is crucial to understand how to measure this technology's social impacts. There are many studies available in the existing literature regarding the economic and environmental impacts of AM technology. However, research regarding the social impacts of this technology is still scarce. To this end, this research has developed a framework based on Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) methodology to measure AM products' social impacts throughout their life cycle stages. The proposed framework includes an underlying mathematical model that was developed to allow for the aggregation of indicator scores. Additionally, cut-off scores were determined to differentiate between positive and negative social impacts. This framework can be applied to case studies, which provides a final score that quantifies the social impacts of an AM product throughout all its life cycle stages. It also provides scores for each stakeholder category and life cycle stage, which facilitates the identification of hotspots that require attention from organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4459
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Framework
  • Indicators
  • Social impacts
  • Social life cycle assessment


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