The net zero transformation, courtesy of additive manufacturing
by Sadi Muktadir
Companies like Burloak Technologies are using additive manufacturing (3D printing) to decrease the weights of metal parts across the manufacturing industry.
In 2022, manufacturers continue to eye ways to become more sustainable. The Canadian government has repeatedly announced a focus on becoming net zero by 2050 and reducing its carbon footprint across all industries.
An ABB-commissioned global survey has already revealed that 54 per cent of companies have made an investment in becoming more energy efficient and a further 40 per cent plan to make energy efficiency improvements by the end of the year.
Across the automotive and aerospace industries, manufacturers are looking at ways to decrease the weights of their vehicles and planes in an effort to use less energy or electrify their systems using lighter parts.
Companies like Burloak Technologies are using additive manufacturing (3D printing) to decrease the weights of metal parts across the manufacturing industry and supporting nascent cleantech companies with parts that are more environmentally friendly in electrified applications.
“Among the top value drivers of additive manufacturing is its ability to produce lighter components with equivalent or improved strength. For our customers in the aerospace and automotive industries this is especially important as it directly translates into lighter and more fuel or battery efficient vehicles,” says Yevgeni Brif, Business Development Manager at Burloak Technologies Inc.
Canadian Manufacturing was afforded a tour of the Burloak manufacturing facility and a conversation with one of their key engineers provided clarity on how additive manufacturing is trying to help Canadian manufacturers achieve their cleantech ambitions.
“Among the many benefits of additive manufacturing, our customers appreciate that this emerging manufacturing process supports their environmental sustainability goals by significantly reducing material waste and overall carbon emissions,” Yevgeni added.
When queried about what industries or companies they were serving, Burloak representatives mentioned agreements with manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive and energy industries.
“The optimization of the supply chain makes additive manufacturing much more environmentally friendly. Burloak Technologies prints only what our customers need, when needed – reducing scrap and inventory, and significantly decreasing the number of nodes and risk in the value chain,” says Yevgeni Brif.
From the guided walkthrough, it appeared that there were no idling machines, wasted parts, or an inefficient stock of parts bring printed or manufactured on site.
In July of 2022, the Innovation Economy Council released a report detailing the EV opportunity in Canada, and where the federal government and industry partners should be focused in order to grow the burgeoning industry.
One of the key takeaways was support for a meaty middle-ground of manufactured components like inverters, powertrain components and other parts that could be additively manufactured for electrification purposes within vehicles and other types of equipment.
“There are Canadian firms using technologies to be important players in the advanced manufacturing landscape. We need to continue supporting companies that are servicing this middle-ground of EV manufacturing with motors, magnets and parts,” says Matthew Fortier, President and CEO of Accelerate, Canada’s ZEV supply chain alliance.
Additive manufacturing, and technologies like it, are continuing to grow and see use as manufacturers explore ways to become more sustainable. Burloak Technologies is just one example of an organization servicing the growing needs of a Canadian landscape of manufacturers with additive needs.
A video of an additively manufactured heat exchanger can be found at: