The benefits and barriers of additive manufacturing for circular economy : a framework proposal

Moreira Tavares, Thais and Miller Devós Ganga, Gilberto and Filho, Moacir Godinho and Picanco Rodrigues, Vinicius (2023) The benefits and barriers of additive manufacturing for circular economy : a framework proposal. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 37. pp. 369-388. ISSN 2352-5509 (

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According to preliminary research, additive manufacturing (AM) is a promising technology for developing circular material flow. However, the impact of AM on the circular economy (CE) is unclear. To address this issue, this study proposes a framework that presents the benefits and barriers of AM for CE. This framework is valuable for generating a new path for AM production and restructuring the supply chain. This study uses a multi-method research approach to propose this framework. (i) Secondary qualitative data were used to find the best way to categorise the results; (ii) literature review was applied to understand how the phenomenon of AM adoption meets or does not meet CE requirements; and (iii) interviews with experts were conducted to evaluate the results. The findings help to systematically highlight the benefits and barriers of AM for the CE and provide a research agenda that identifies specific actions that AM stakeholders should take to align with the CE. The broader potential of AM as a beneficial technology for CE is contingent on overcoming the identified critical barriers, and the economic viability of circular AM activities. The findings could be relevant because they clearly show how AM technology brings companies and society closer to or farther from CE.