EADS and EOS plan to develop a new range of manufacturing technologies that will integrate energy efficiency into products and product manufacturing. This will involve making the most of the already sustainable aspects of DMLS, such as the generation of weight-reduced structures and low use of raw materials.

A previous study conducted by EADS IW showed that although the use of energy during the manufacturing phase could not compare with conventional manufacturing processes, energy consumption during the use-phase of aircraft components dropped significantly. DMLS technology can improve structure,  leading to weight reduction of the components, and thus fuel and CO2 emissions reduction.

At the same time, EOS carried out a product carbon footprint (PCF) calculation of one kilogram of sintered material. The findings supported EADS IW’s research, as they showed that the greatest impact on reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption was to be found during the use-phase of laser-sintered components. It also identified the most important drivers of energy consumption along the B2B value chain, particularly around the supply of raw materials and the use of cooling systems.

EADS IW and EOS plan to complete a full lifecycle assessment (LCA) – covering energy consumption, material use, CO2 now emissions and use of hazardous material – of a design to be used with EOS’ EOSINT M 280 metal system. The results should show improved sustainability, not only with regard to the component, but also on its manufacturing.
“Our technology can help to improve environmental performance at clients such as EADS IW through freedom of new designs and innovation, reduced energy and CO2 emissions,” said Adrian Keppler, manager strategy and business development at EOS. "At the same time, DMLS enables lightweight design as well as a reduced material consumption and transportation emissions due to production on demand."

The joint case study of EOS with EADS IW will continue in 2011, and more detailed results will be made available towards the end of the year.