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3D printing is helping transform the lighting sector

The new workshop that is exploring the application of additive manufacturing for lighting is made up of a range of different companies, and the first meeting of the group was held in February 2019.

The workshop has been formed by the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer in partnership with Carbon Group Global, and the group is called the ‘3D Printing for Lighting Discovery Consortium‘. The aim is to advance understand the role of 3D printing across buildings and construction, and the application in terms of lighting.

In a statement, the consortium outline their vision: “we want to develop the vision and produce a joint plan that defines the ecosystem, outlines next steps, and determines the progress and success measures.”

The workshop was attended by several leading construction forms, such as Acuity Brands Lighting, GE’s subsidiary Current, Desktop Metal, Focal Point, and others. As well as exploring how 3D printing can assist the lighting industry, the workshop looked at how well such alternative manufacturing models can be integrated into the existing ecosystem.

The output will be an industry roadmap designed to show how 3D printing sits as a viable option for the building, and construction industries in relation to lighting structures. This includes the ease to which additive manufacturing can be put for the development of custom products that can be designed for almost any environment, as well as improving illumination in general for any space.

3-D printing constructs three-dimensional objects layer by layer by receiving instructions from a computer-aided design.There are many 3D pritning processes, such as vat photopolymerization, material jetting, material extrusion, powder bed fusion, binder jetting, sheet lamination, and direct energy deposition. The two best suited for lighting are material extrusion and vat photopolymerization.

The usefulness of 3D printing for the building industry includes the ease to which lighting fixtures can be printed both on-site and on-demand. Moreover, economies of scale are not required when it comes to production since printers can produce small-scale and bespoke designs without any significant additional cost.

Another advantage includes harnessing the thermal properties of three-dimensional printed components which have the potential to be used for thermal management in light-emitting diode applications. Such LED-based lighting solutions can be employed in several general illumination as well as specialty lighting applications due to their energy efficiency, durability, reduced size, and fewer maintenance requirements.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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