Materials

Covestro launches more sustainable 3D printing materials at Formnext Connect 

German polymer manufacturer Covestro will introduce a new, more sustainable line of 3D printing materials at the upcoming Formnext Connect virtual trade show. 

Covestro is set to add a new line of filaments that address the circular economy to its Addigy® range, which are either partially made from recycled plastics, or which are made with up to 20 percent CO2. The more eco-friendly polymers aim to build on the potential environmental benefits of 3D printing, such as demand-driven production and reduced material waste.

Patrick Rosso, Global Head of Additive Manufacturing at Covestro, explains, “Nowadays, superior manufacturing technologies are no longer enough to produce truly sustainable products. That’s why we are currently developing new, more sustainable products that are already in the testing phase.

During an interactive live broadcast, Covestro will also provide an outlook on the rest of its portfolio, focusing on its Addigy range when the event starts at 11:00 CET on November 10th, 2020. 

“We want to boost the circularity of our products while preserving their excellent properties.”

Covestro develops a new range of filaments
Covestro is launching a new range of more sustainable 3D printing materials at Formnext Connect. Photo via Covestro.

Covestro’s commits to the circular economy 

With 2019 revenue of €12.4 billion, Covestro is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial-grade polymers. Its high-tech materials, including coatings, adhesives, foams, and composites, are used across the automotive, construction, furniture, and electronics industries. 

Covestro launched a dedicated technical lab in 2016 and now works with several leading names in additive manufacturing. Working with Carbon, Covestro produces liquid polyurethane resin, and it launched three new polycarbonate-based materials alongside Polymaker in October last year. 

Through the ‘Circular Economy Program’ it established last year, the company strives to become fully-circular. The program is based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will see Covestro use more alternative raw materials instead of fossil fuels to make its polymers, halving its greenhouse gas emissions process.  

The firm hasn’t confirmed its full list of sustainability objectives yet, but it has committed to spending 80 percent of its R&D project funding on enacting the UN’s SDGs. With the launch of its more sustainable Addigy lines of filaments, Covestro is now taking the first steps in its five-year sustainability plan. 

As part of its circular economy program, some of Covestro's new materials will be made from recycled plastic waste. Photo via Covestro.
As part of its broader circular economy program, some of Covestro’s new materials will be made from recycled plastic waste. Photo via Covestro.

A greener, more sustainable line of filaments 

Covestro’s more eco-friendly filament range is designed specifically for FDM 3D printing, and the firm aims to be a first mover in sustainable additive materials. The company’s new polycarbonate (PC) blends are mainly based on recycled raw materials, including post-industrial waste from Covestro’s production units. 

Elsewhere in Covestro’s range, the cardyon® brand represents a series of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) partly based on captured and reused CO2. Covestro has developed a new technique alongside RWTH Aachen, which allows it to turn the gas into a valuable building block that can be used instead of fossil-based raw materials. 

Within this process, the firm incorporates quantities of up to 20 percent CO2 into a polyol material, that can be used to make synthetic polymers. The technique effectively ‘recycles’ the gas, reducing the amount of CO2 in the air and conserving fossil fuels while contributing to the circular economy. 

In Covestro’s third line of more sustainable materials, a TPU-based powder and filament, the firm has made it using almost 50 percent bio-content without affecting its properties. The company says that its filament could be used within the textile industry, while the powder grade is potentially suited to producing shoe midsoles or automotive interiors. 

Covestro will reveal its new line of materials via an interactive event at Formnext Connect. Image via Covestro.
Covestro will reveal its new line of materials via an interactive event at Formnext Connect. Image via Covestro.

Covestro’s reveal at Formnext Connect 2020 

Covestro will launch its new range of filaments via a live interactive press conference at Formnext Connect, in which it will showcase some of the intricate parts they’re capable of producing. According to the company, the event will also provide an essential platform to further its sustainability agenda. 

“There’s no doubt that the circumstances are more challenging this year, and Covestro and everyone else is feeling the impact of the Corona pandemic,” said Rosso. “However, we commit to follow the needs for more sustainability in the additive manufacturing industry.”

Covestro’s presentation is being billed as more of a lively exchange of ideas than a press conference. The firm’s Business Development Manager Lukas Breuers will lead an expert session on the show’s opening day, in which he’ll reintroduce Covestro’s 3D printing lineup and explore its new, more eco-friendly grades. 

Following the session’s conclusion, a global team of company experts will be on-hand for one-on-one video chats to discuss the products’ potential applications on-show. 

Covestro’s presentation is scheduled to begin at 11:00 CET on November 10th, 2020. Interested parties can register for the session.

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