KIMYA to expand recycled filament range with high-performance materials

KIMYA, the additive manufacturing subsidiary of French printing and coating firm ARMOR, has announced plans to extend its recycled filament range to include new high-performance materials by 2024.

As part of the third stage of ARMOR’s FIL’REC project, which is tied to the ORPLAST plastics recycling scheme, KIMYA is targeting between 70 and 100 percent recycled materials within future high-performance filaments, without affecting their properties. 

“Developing recycled high-performance materials poses a significant technical challenge for our teams, but which will enable us to provide the market with a unique offering, as there are no platters in the additive manufacturing market currently using recycled high-performance materials,” said Nicolas Morand, KIMYA’s R&D, Innovation and Industrialization Manager. 

“It is also an opportunity for us to extend our offering of engineering materials and to expand our range of eco-designed filaments.”

KIMYA will develop new high-performance materials from recycled plastic for the third stage of the ORPLAST scheme. Photo via KIMYA.
KIMYA will develop new high-performance materials from recycled plastic for the third stage of the ORPLAST scheme. Photo via KIMYA.

KIMYA’s materials expertise

Through its ‘Lab’, ‘Materials’ and ‘Factory’ services, KIMYA produces filaments, custom materials and low volumes of parts for clients in a variety of sectors, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and jewelry. 

Since its entry to the 3D printing market in 2016, KIMYA’s filament range has continued to find new applications, with three of its materials qualified for use with MakerBot’s METHOD X 3D printer in December 2020. Deploying its newly-qualified ABS Kevlar, ABS-ESD and ABS-EC filaments alongside the METHOD X reportedly helped the firm achieve substantial savings at its own facilities.

KIMYA has also 3D printed industry-standard spare parts for the railway industry using its custom PEKK filament, and helped start-up CAPS ME industrialize the production of a new eco-friendly brand of reusable coffee capsules. The start-up turned to KIMYA to rapidly iterate the capsule’s design, which includes a six-part 3D printed mechanism. 

The 3D printed protective cover. Photo via Kimya.
The 3D printed protective cover developed for the unnamed railway client. Photo via Kimya.

Recycled high-performance materials

Back in 2018, ARMOR’s FIL’REC project was selected by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) as part of its ORPLAST plastics recycling initiative. The initiative supports manufacturers that convert raw materials into products that include recycled plastics, and also promotes the adaptation of production systems to include recycled raw materials. 

The FIL’REC project has already seen KIMYA develop and commercialization four new recycled filaments, namely HIPS-R, PETG-R, PLA-R and TPU-R. Now, the ORPLAST project is entering its third phase, which will see KIMYA focus its research on developing a new line of recycled high-performance materials by 2024.

The company is seeking to achieve between 70 and 100 percent recycled materials within these high-performance filaments without affecting their desirable properties. Due to their higher resistance levels to temperature, wear and warping, these materials are suitable for demanding applications within the railway, automotive and aerospace sectors. 

As such, KIMYA is posed with a considerable technical challenge to maintain these properties with the addition of high levels of recycled materials. The firm will work mainly with French operators during this stage of the ORPLAST project in order to create a local and more sustainable production ecosystem.

“At KIMYA, we know that it is only by adding our strengths that we will be able to create a local and sustainable production ecosystem,” said Pierre-Antoine Pluvinage, Business Development Director at KIMYA. “We have set ourselves the primary objective of working with French companies, from the sourcing of recycled plastic materials to the various stages of technical feasibility.”

The firm hopes to have developed its range of recycled high-performance materials by 2024, and although it remains unclear exactly how many will be developed by the end of the project, the range is tipped to be “comprehensive”. The firm believes offering these materials will set it apart from other material manufacturers in the additive manufacturing space.

“Born out of the determination of the ARMOR group to turn waste into a genuine resource, KIMYA entered the additive manufacturing market in 2016 by offering its first filament designed using industrial waste from food packaging,” continued Pluvinage. “We have since continued to expand our range of eco-designed materials in order to meet the ever-growing demand. Our ultimate goal is to offer a comprehensive range of filaments containing between 70 and 100 percent recycled materials.

“This third stage of the ORPLAST program is once again an excellent vehicle for private-sector operators to demonstrate that growth and innovation can no longer be done at the expense of resource preservation.”

Recycled AM filaments

KIMYA is far from the only player using recycled plastic within its 3D printing filaments. Last year, polymer manufacturer Covestro added a new eco-friendly Arnite AM2001 GF PET to its FGF 3D printing material portfolio made from recycled plastic waste. 

Shortly afterward, the firm partnered with fellow polymer 3D printing specialist Polymaker to debut a new material partially made from recycled plastic bottles at TCT Asia 2021.

Spanish 3D printing producer Recreus has also launched its eco-friendly TPU filament entirely made up of recycled footwear and in-house waste, while Cornish-based Fishy Filaments is well-known for turning recycled nylon fishing nets into 3D printing filament, recently winning the TÜV SÜD sustainability in Additive Manufacturing category at the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards.

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Featured image shows KIMYA will develop new high-performance materials from recycled plastic for the third stage of the ORPLAST scheme. Photo via KIMYA.