Staying ahead of the technology curve means strengthening your competitive advantage. That is why we give you data-driven innovation insights into the circular economy. This time, you get to discover 5 hand-picked 3D Printing solutions.
Global Startup Heat Map highlights 5 Top 3D Printing Solutions advacing the Circular Economy out of 181
The insights of this data-driven analysis are derived from the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2.093.000+ startups & scaleups globally. The platform gives you an exhaustive overview of emerging technologies & relevant startups within a specific field in just a few clicks.
The Global Startup Heat Map below reveals the distribution of the 181 exemplary startups & scaleups we analyzed for this research. Further, it highlights 5 3D Printing solutions that we hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. You get to explore the solutions of these 5 startups & scaleups in this report. For insights on the other 176 3D Printing solutions, get in touch.
Closed Loop Plastics offers Upcycled Plastic Filaments
The world generates tons of plastic waste each year. Apart from polluting oceans, waterways, and land, plastic pollution has severe adverse effects on wildlife and humans. As manufacturers find new ways to recycle and upcycle plastic waste, startups are turning this waste into filament for 3D printers. Since this allows for the production of new materials from plastic waste, it reduces virgin mining and promotes circularity.
US-based startup Closed Loop Plastics makes an upcycled plastic monofilament for 3D printing. The startup sorts and granulates municipal plastic waste and transfers it into a drying hub and then passes it through multiple meat zones before it forms into a monofilament. The extrusion process pushes the filament through a circular die and a puller allows the strand to be stretched into the right diameter. Manufacturers then buy these filaments from the startup to print a variety of items.
Yuma Labs upcycles Plastic Waste through 3D Printing
Because plastic materials are inexpensive and durable, they find a wide range of applications. However, owing to its chemical structure, it does not easily degrade, contributing to long-term solid waste. To resolve this issue, startups are utilizing 3D printing technology to upcycle plastic waste into various products.
Yuma Labs is a Belgian startup that upcycles plastic waste, like single-use plastic bottles and cups, into sustainable sunglasses. The startup sorts, washes, and shreds the plastic bottles and cups into tiny pieces. It then utilizes 3D printing to convert plastic waste into filaments to make sunglasses. Additionally, it offers a return policy for recycling, thus further promoting the circular economy.
Toybox advances 3D Printers using Biodegradable Filament
While using plastic waste as the filament is circular, it requires a much higher temperature and deforms when not printed on a heated surface. Moreover, it produces hot plastic fumes and is not usually food-grade. Biodegradable filaments, on the other hand, are more environment-friendly, are printable on cold surfaces, do not produce any harmful fumes, and offer a higher printing speed. This is why startups are utilizing biodegradable filaments to enable the 3D printing of various products.
UAE-based startup Toybox offers 3D printers for kids to design and print a variety of toys. It uses a non-toxic polylactic acid (PLA) — a corn-based biodegradable filament for the printer. Each roll of filament allows the children to print up to 500 toys, ranging from trains to castles. The platform also enables them to choose the models from its online library. Moreover, the Toybox Creator Space allows them to make their own creations or import any design from the web. They then print the toys using the startup’s mobile application.
Aectual provides 3D Printed Sustainable Architecture Products
Traditional construction practices involve cutting out pieces of plastics, metals, or other materials, contributing to a lot of production waste. New 3D printing solutions, however, offer low-waste or zero-waste production. As a result, startups are deploying 3D printing to produce sustainable architecture products.
Dutch startup Aectual provides sustainable architecture products like flooring, room dividers, and wall pieces made from bio-based and recycled materials. The startup’s 3D printing system uses fused granular fabrication (FGF) based on pellet extrusion on a robot arm and supports large-scale printing. It offers an industrial setup, including the hardware and the software, and is also capable of printing 24×7. The system also handles, checks, and communicates with the startup’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) for the management of print queues and print data. Moreover, everything is monitored or controlled online.
MolyWorks develops an On-Site Metal Recycling System
Collecting waste, recycling it, and then sending the materials for 3D printing requires dedicated facilities and involves shipping over long distances. This adds to carbon emissions and is also time-consuming. As a result, startups are innovating with on-site recycling systems that recycle wastes like metal scraps using 3D printing. This allows manufacturing companies to process their own scraps to produce new materials inside their facilities.
US-based startup MolyWorks develops an on-site metal recycling system for manufacturing companies. The process starts with melting and atomizing the scrap metal. It then turns into additive manufacturing powder for use in the 3D printing of new parts. Further, this cycle can be repeated numerous times, enabling circularity.
Discover more Circular Economy Startups
Startups such as the examples highlighted in this report focus on sustainable products and plastic upcycling as well as on-site recycling and circular 3D printing solutions. While all of these technologies play a major role in advancing the circular economy, they only represent the tip of the iceberg. To explore more circular economy technologies, simply get in touch to let us look into your areas of interest. For a more general overview, you can download one of our free Industry Innovation Reports to save your time and improve strategic decision-making.