AMGTA Study Reveals: Additive Manufacturing Cuts Emissions and Resource Use in Fashion Sector


Recent years have seen the fashion industry becoming one of the most active in experimenting with additive manufacturing. Nonetheless, more than the freedom in design, shapes, and materials, it’s the sustainability and process efficiency that are being recognized as key factors promoting 3D printing as an alternate production method. This insight was confirmed in a study conducted by the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA).

The AMGTA, in a detailed report, elucidated the environmental advantages of utilizing additive manufacturing in the fashion industry, particularly in footwear manufacturing. The report, a collaboration with AM leader Stratasys and Dyloan Bond Factory, an Italian firm specializing in fashion industry research and innovation, declares that one year of additive manufacturing usage resulted in CO2 emissions reduction and saved material throughout the supply chain. We delve deeper into the essential takeaways from the study below.

Comparing Material Jetting with Traditional Luxury Goods Production

The mission of AMGTA centers around promoting the sustainable aspects of Additive Manufacturing. Their efforts encompass activities such as studies that demonstrate the advantages of this technology through data evidence. One such recent report, dedicated to the fashion industry, is “Comparative Analysis: 3D Material Jetting vs Traditional Methods for Designer Luxury Goods,” which publishes the outcomes of a year’s collaboration between AMGTA, Stratasys, and Dyloan Bond Factory.

The study focused on comparing traditional production methods (especially injection molding) with PolyJet 3D printing technology (utilizing the Stratasys J850™ Fashion TechStyle™ printer) to create 16,000 units of a logo to be applied to 8,000 pairs of luxury designer shoes. “This study we executed in concert with Stratasys and Pattern Group, comparing the impact of printing directly onto textile, marks our first research project involving polymer. It provides us with critical data that demonstrates the potential of Additive Manufacturing in making significant changes to one of the most polluting sectors globally,” said Sherri Monroe, Executive Director of AMGTA.

Upon a year’s analysis, the study has yielded promising results, underpinning that the additive manufacturing process, when directly printed on fabric, lowers CO2 emissions by 24.8 percent, compared to traditional methods used by the client. Specifically, in the conducted case study, for the 16,000 printed logos on the 8,000 pairs of shoes, additive manufacturing has cut down CO2 emissions close to one metric ton. Additionally, the study reveals, direct 3D printing on fabric saves 49.9 percent in inventory across the supply chain, simplifying and minimizing transportation activities. Plus, it’s an entirely waterless process throughout the supply chain, potentially conserving over 300,000 liters of water.

Upon examining power consumption, 3D printing brought about significant benefits once again, lowering energy usage by over 64 percent. Lastly, an important aspect to note is that 3D printing, by enabling production of parts in a single process, manages to minimize supply chain-associated technologies from four down to one. This further optimizes production and logistical stages by reducing them from twelve down to just two.

Moving Towards More Sustainable Production in Fashion With 3D Printing

The result is indeed encouraging and certainly paves the way for more sustainable and green production in the fashion and luxury industry in general. “Producing sustainably is becoming increasingly crucial for designers in the world of luxury,” said Loreto Di Rienzo, Group R&D Director. “Stratasys’ innovation in 3D printing with the TechStyle™ technology enables us to offer revolutionary capabilities by reducing waste, minimizing reliance on natural resources and optimizing the environmental impact of our entire supply chain… We can affirm and demonstrate that additive technology truly improves our environmental impact while expanding design freedom without compromising the quality of the end result.

The study is part of Stratasys’ Mindful Manufacturing™ project through which the company is striving to rethink, together with its customers, the way things are made, redesigning processes, products, and parts, but also optimizing operations for the benefit of people and the planet.

The Stratasys J850TM TechStyleTM 3D printer.

While it is true that this study focuses only on the life cycle analysis of the product logo and not of the footwear in its entirety, the results certainly imagine a new way of producing items, details, decorations, and accessories that are produced in large quantities in the Fashion industry and often require excessive use of resources, despite being small products. This study certainly shows that more sustainable and conscious production is possible. To learn more, the AMGTA’s full study is available: HERE.

What do you think of this AMGTA study on the fashion and luxury sectors? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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