In this study, the authors present a comparative analysis of different additive manufacturing (AM) technologies for high-performance components. Four 3D printers, currently available on the Italian national manufacturing market and belonging to three different AM technologies, were considered. The analysis focused on technical aspects to highlight the characteristics and performance limits of each technology, economic aspects to allow for an assessment of the costs associated with the different processes, and environmental aspects to focus on the impact of the production cycles associated with these technologies on the ecosystem, resources and human health. This study highlighted the current limits of additive manufacturing technologies in terms of production capacity in the case of large-scale production of plastic components, especially large ones. At the same time, this study highlights how the geometry of the object to be developed greatly influences the optimal choice between the various AM technologies, in both technological and economic terms. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the technology that exhibits the greatest limitations hindering mass production due to production times and costs, but also due to the associated environmental impact.
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