2. THE TECHNOLOGIC PARK
The issue of wastes and discards is not limited to end-of-life products, as it should be extended to the whole manufacturing process generating those products.
A response applying to a multiplicity of different products for very diversified applications may come from a manufacturing process based on 3D printing technology. As described in par. 2.1 above, this is an additive layer manufacturing process in contrast to reduction process techniques (e.g. machining, cutting and drilling).
As already explained in par. 1.8, 3D printing can have applications in the food sector and advanced farming sector.
The idea of completing the Theme Park with a Technologic Park based on 3D printing comes from the close relationship of these issues in terms of environmental impact, and the synergies that may be implemented with the aim of developing all the potentials of this technology, of which automated precision farming is a significant application.
In summary, from a forward-looking viewpoint, the Technology Park can be described as follows:
– focused on 3D printing for digitalized production in the following sectors: innovative/artisanal manufacture, aerospace, electronics, medical, sensors, jewelry, bijouterie, architecture, design and advanced farming;
– made up of interconnected Fabrication Laboratories (FabLab) covering the whole range of potentials for this new manufacturing method;
– designed to be integrated in the Theme Park, to which it will be linked by several synergies, and to serve: the Human Technopole, the City of Innovation and Science, the University Campus (Chapter 5) and local, regional and national handicraft and manufacturing sectors with its FabLabs (as Digital Manufacturing Hub).
2.1 3D Printing
3D Printing or Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) transforms a 3D digital model into a solid pattern, by adding thin material layers (dust, liquid or other forms) until the final shape is achieved.
Table V reports the main industrial technologies for 3D Printers that are either well-established or under experimentation. The acronyms used in the table are: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), SLS (Selective Layer Sintering), SLM (Selective Laser Melting), DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering), EBM (Electron Beam Melting), and Bioprinting.
In the future, the Technologic Park may be connected to an integrated smart infrastructure arising from the merger between Communication Internet, Energy Internet and Logistic Internet: Internet of Things (IoT).
2.2 Automated Precision Farming
This proposal includes the development of automated precision farming by means of robots and 3D printing in innovative greenhouses, for the cultivation of fourth-range vegetable and fruit products.
This idea is part of the project package at the core of the Technologic Park, that might be implemented in the former EXPO area. This park may be coupled to a theme park, and both may be synergetic with other after-EXPO projects (Human Technopole, University Campus, etc.).
The greenhouses for automated precision farming are closed or partly closed structures, with a horizontal or vertical development (Vertical Farms), depending on the vegetal products to be grown, with the application of either hydroponic or aeroponic farming methods.
Compared with traditional cultivation methods, automated greenhouses provide the following benefits in terms of sustainable development:
– Reduction in water consumption
– Reduction in consumption of raw materials (e.g. fertilizers) or their elimination (herbicides)
– Reduction in waste production, etc.
Last but not least, they allow continual cultivation of healthy products and steady economic results.