Will 3D Printing Spark A Green Manufacturing Revolution? : TreeHugger

Example of replication of a real object by mea...

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Will 3D Printing Spark A Green Manufacturing Revolution? : TreeHugger.

It is like the music for our iPod; dematerialized bits and bytes put together again where we need it, without the waste of a physical intermediary.

[Abe Reichental, CEO of 3D Systems] predicts the cost of outsourced labor in emerging markets like China and India will continue to rise along with the growth of their middle classes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both employment and compensation costs in China increased rapidly from 2002 to 2006. Employment in China increased by more than ten percent in just four years, while compensation costs increased more than 40 percent. “We believe this is an opportunity for recreating a reverse flow, bringing manufacturing activities and jobs back to the United States,” says Reichental.

It may seem a far-fetched to predict that thousands of entrepreneurs across America will install professional-grade rapid prototyping machines in their garages and begin manufacturing custom-made products. But if the costs of rapid prototyping technology continue to decline, it’s hard to see why future generations will have to go to the store to buy anything made of solid plastic or metal. Why buy cutlery and plastic cups if you could just download the design and make it yourself? Plastic water bottles, shower curtains, simple toys, Tupperware, and all types of kitsch. The list goes on.

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Cotton. From Blue to Green.org

Cotton. From Blue to Green.org.

THE PROCESS

1. Cottonseed is planted from early February to mid-May and the matured fluffy, white bolls are harvested from September through December

2. Spinning mills purchase bales of cotton then blend, clean and straighten cotton fibers into a continuous strand called sliver, which goes through additional processes prior to spinning.

3. The spinning process reduces the sliver’s weight and inserts twist in order to  produce a yarn, which is then packaged and ready for the weaving mill.

4. Yarns are combined to form a continuous “rope” and many ropes are fed into multiple indigo dyeing baths.

5. Once dried, ropes are separated into individual yarns, wound onto sheet-like beams and mounted on a loom for weaving.

6. Large rolls of finished denim fabric are shipped to the garment manufacturer and assorted denim garments are created for sale at retail. When ready to add the newest denim styles to a wardrobe, old denim can be recycled and put to good use.

7. The first step in turning an old pair of jeans or any denim garment into natural cotton fiber insulation is to remove zippers, buttons, hardware, and embellishments.

8. The denim is then returned to its natural, original fiber state, cotton, preparing it for manufacturing.

9. The reprocessed fiber is treated with a borate solution for fire retardency and mold/mildew resistance. Borate has a lower toxicity than table salt, making it safe for people and their environment. The manufacturing process for creating UltraTouch™ Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation is now underway.

10. Sheets of insulation are cut to size and prepared for packaging to be shipped and installed for use in residential homes and commercial buildings across the country.

Many colleges and universities have decided to cooperate with Cotton From Blue To Green by having donation events.  My school, SUNY ESF, will be hosting such an event on October 29th.  This will take place on the quad and is called “Drop Your Jeans”.  They will be taking donations and snapping photos of you “dropping your jeans” so you can share them on Facebook!!!