At Formnext, Piotr Jędrych, additive manufacturing (AM) project manager at Warsaw-based 3D Lab, shared insights into the company’s innovative approach towards sustainability in the additive manufacturing sector. Specialising in the production of ultrasonic atomisers for metal powders, 3D Lab is actively addressing one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: recycling and reusing waste materials from AM/3D printing processes.
Addressing the Challenge of Waste in 3D Printing
Since its inception in 2017, 3D Lab has been keenly aware of the difficulties faced by the industrial 3D printing sector in recycling post-processed materials. Piotr explains, “Many of our customers struggle to recycle waste materials from 3D printing, such as supports from laser part fusion technology or CNC scraps.” In response, 3D Lab developed a solution to melt these materials and produce high-quality powder, thereby reintroducing them into the production cycle.
This innovative recycling process has become increasingly vital, with some customers reporting up to 80% waste from their processes. “Our goal is to bring this material back into the production loop,” says Piotr, underlining the company’s commitment to a circular economy in additive manufacturing.
3D Lab’s technology isn’t limited to a single type of material. “We work with a variety of materials, from titanium-based alloys to aluminum, commonly used in the automotive industry,” Piotr notes. The challenge now is to adapt this technology for materials with high melting temperatures, expanding its applicability across different sectors.
Sustainability Meets Innovation
3D Lab’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its product development. “We’ve developed the ATO LAB + system with an induction melting system,” Piotr shares. This technology allows for the melting of irregular shaped materials, which are then converted into metal powder using an ultrasonic module. The company plans to enhance this system to work with higher temperature materials like titanium.
Another notable innovation is the ATO cast system, a vacuum induction furnace designed for recycling various types of materials. “This allows us to control the composition of the material and cater to specific requirements,” Piotr adds, highlighting the system’s ability to produce high-quality rods for creating metal powder.
3D Lab’s efforts in developing these technologies not only address waste management in additive manufacturing but also open new avenues for sustainable practices in the industry. As Piotr concludes, “Our aim is to continue developing even more sustainable solutions and manufacturing high-quality powders.”