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Enabling a more sustainable future with Circular Additive Manufacturing

To make 3D printing more sustainable, LEHVOSS Group, a global material compounder operating on high-performance materials for 3D printing under the brand name LUVOCOM® 3F, Drywise a branded product of Thougth3D, also known in 3D printing for its Magigoo branded products, and UltiMaker, the global leader in professional 3D printing have partnered up with Aquafil, an Italian pioneer of the circular economy. The aim of this partnership is to bring to the market a circular PA6 material, that is manufactured from ECONYL® and renewable resources and that can itself be recycled at the end of its useful life into new raw material.

 

This new circular material is composed for more than 85% of ECONYL (regenerated polyamide 6), chemically recycled by Aquafil, and the remaining part of other polyamides from renewable sources with almost no additives. This compound ensures the possibility, to have 100% chemically recyclable filaments and products in the future.  This however means that water uptake in the filament cannot be tuned as it is usually done on the LUVOCOM 3F product range. The affinity to water of this polyamide is so great that the material is no longer printable after just a couple of hours, even when dried and stored in a low-humidity chamber (drybox). This poses a serious challenge for 3D printing, severely limiting its potential.

 

Drywise is the only filament dryer on the market that enables this material. With its active in-line filament drying architecture, Drywise removes the moisture from the section of filament that is being fed through the dryer to the printer as it is printing. This ensures consistently dried filament is used to print the parts and hence eliminates time-dependent moisture uptake issues. The first and last layers will have the same material quality, regardless of the state in which the filament started. Drywise requires minimal user input and only requires a very short setup time to initiate printing.

As this material cannot receive additives for thermal stabilization, not submitting the filament to multiple drying cycles is essential to prevent material degradation as well, which makes the Drywise dryer a great fit as it only dries the material which will be used.

However, the big challenge ahead, if not the biggest, is the reverse logistics of end of life material.

Therefore, LEHVOSS will start with a pilot project in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) which will benefit from Aquafil’s vast experience on the topic and on our distributors, to make sure to put in place a reverse logistic system whereby the used parts can be collected at the end of their useful life and sent to Aquafil for the chemical regeneration. The pilot will be set up during the year 2023.

 

This truly circular additive manufacturing solution is enabled thanks to the collaboration between LEHVOSS Group, Aquafil, Drywise, UltiMaker and Magigoo (Drywise and Magigoo are brands of Thought3D).

 

 

Testimonial from LEHVOSS: “The project for the circular PA6 material had hit a roadblock. The material was ready but due to its very high moisture sensitivity and the lack of technology enabling in-line drying, it had to be placed on hold. Drywise is the solution we were waiting to enable this material, allowing it to be reliably 3D printed every time, and finally unlocking the circular economy to Additive Manufacturing”. Dr. Thiago Medeiros Araujo – LUVOCOM 3F Global Product Manager.

 

Testimonial from Aquafil: “For the first time ever we are able to create together with our partners a real circular filament that can meet the requirements of a very demanding market where sustainability and circularity are not only words but reality”. Maria Giovanna Sandrini – Aquafil Chief Communication Officer

 

Testimonial from Thought3D: “As a company, we have always focused on creating solutions that solve real customer problems whilst respecting the environment. By reducing print failures due to material conditioning, like Magigoo, Drywise inherently reduces material wastage. We were therefore super excited to discover that our solution could enable a completely new material, which boosts sustainability in 3D printing to a new level. Now we look forward to launching this Circular Solution and working together to make it truly sustainable.” Edward Borg – Thought3D Co-Founder and CPO  

 

Testimonial from UltiMaker: We are impressed at how well Drywise enables engineering parts with materials that are hygroscopic. Typically, these materials are difficult to print, require extensive drying prior to printing, and in some cases even degrade on the time scale that printing a part takes, so they have to be stored in anhydrous circumstances during printing. All this is a hassle. With Drywise, it has become as simple as loading the filament, and after the pre-heat pre-dry cycle, just start printing with a guaranteed well-conditioned filament. Therefore, it is no surprise that we recommend using the Drywise for any hygroscopic filament, such as polyamides / nylons.