A method for assessing the environmental performance of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) based rapid prototyping and rapid tooling processes is presented in this paper. In this method of assessment, each process is divided into a number of life stages. The environmental effect of each process stage is analyzed and evaluated based on an environmental index utilizing the Eco-indicators that were compiled by PreConsultants of the Netherlands. The effects of various life stages are then combined to obtain the environmental performance of a process. In the assessment of SFF processes, we consider the material use in the fabrication of a part, energy consumption, process wastes, and disposal of a part after its normal life. An example is given to illustrate this assessment method applied to the stereolithography (SLA) process and two SLA based rapid tooling processes.

Meeting Name

10th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium (1999. Aug. 9-11, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Solid Freeform Fabrication; Rapid Prototyping; Rapid Tooling; Environmental Performance; Lifecycle Analysis

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type




Publication Date

11 Aug 1999

Included in

Manufacturing Commons