Sculpteo unveiled the 8th edition of the “State of 3D Printing” in November 2022 to support companies in sustainability efforts. Now, the 3D printing company offers Re-cycleo, a new recycling program for parts printed with Nylon PA12 and Nylon PA11. The recycled material will be used in the plastics industry and give a second life to the old parts that can be recycled as many times as possible.
As businesses move towards a better understanding of environmental issues, industries like 3D printing pave the way for more sustainable solutions. 3D printing presents certain advantages, such as local on-demand production and very low material loss, compared to other plastic manufacturing processes. Being concerned about the environmental impact of its activity, Sculpteo has worked to make the recycling of its clients’ Nylon PA11 and Nylon PA12 obsolete parts possible. The company is also expanding its line of sustainable materials, such as bio-sourced Nylon PA11, and continues its research to make 3D printing even more sustainable.
“With Re-cycleo, we are inaugurating a new, more responsible way of producing, where we offer clients the possibility to upgrade their products. It has taken decades for mass industries to develop effective recycling programs with their gigantic volumes. At Sculpteo, we can offer it from the first part,” said Alexandre d’Orsetti, CEO of Sculpteo.
The recycling process is as follows: The client sends parts to Sculpteo with a destruction authorization. Once received, the first step is to collect and sort the parts by material (Nylon PA11 or Nylon PA12). The parts are then placed in octabins, which can contain hundreds of kilos of parts. The sorted nylon waste is then crushed into pieces. To keep the industrial secrecy and confidentiality of their clients, Sculpteo guarantees that grinding only happens inside its factory.
The crushed material is then sent to Arkema, which recycles it as part of their Virtucycle program. The ground material is analyzed to ensure that there is no contamination. Then the compounding stage remelts, chills, and cuts material into pellets to be used in other industrial applications. These pellets form the final state of the new usable material. In the case of injection molding, the pellets are melted and injected in a mold to create a new product, such as car components, tennis rackets, shoes, helmets, or a suitcase. This gives a remarkable second life to unused parts or end-of-life parts.
This whole process uses 100% renewable energy.
Learn more about the process with this video.