The impact of the risk of build failure on energy consumption in additive manufacturing

Han Wang, Martin Baumers, Shreeja Basak, Yinfeng He, Ian Ashcroft

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is associated with significant promise in the manufacturing sector. However, it has been shown that the risk of build failure has a substantial impact on the costs of AM and that this results from a relatively high level of process instability. Importantly, for such a promising technology, the effects of the risk of build failure on energy consumption have not yet been studied, which creates a significant gap in the knowledge of the real environmental performance of AM. This research addresses this gap by investigating the energy consumption of AM subject to the possibility of build failure. This is done by constructing a novel expected energy consumption model, integrating process energy consumption, the energy embedded in the raw material, and the probability of build failure as a function of the number of layers deposited. Model parameters are obtained from a series of build experiments conducted on the AM technology variant polymeric laser sintering, also known as laser powder bed fusion of polymers. The energy consumption model shows that the risk of build failure accounts for a substantial share of overall expected energy consumption, amounting to up to approximately 31% at full capacity utilization. Additionally, this paper uncovers a complex relationship between the risk of build failure and efficiency gains in per unit energy consumption resulting from increasing levels of capacity utilization (Supporting Information S1).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1783
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • additive manufacturing
  • capacity utilization
  • embedded energy
  • energy consumption
  • industrial ecology
  • risk of build failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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