The financing will be used to promote the company’s Fenix Fiber EasyFeed Bundles. This 100% recycled carbon fiber offering is optimized for applications in the additive manufacturing, automotive, consumer electronics, and sporting goods sectors.
Vartega is working with companies such as 3D printing material manufacturer Xtellar to produce and supply sustainable materials for additive manufacturing. The company is also a founding member of the Colorado-based Advanced Materials and Additive Manufacturing Infrastructure Development and Education (AMIDE) Association, and is actively conducting R&D to produce proprietary 3D printing thermoplastics.
Diamond Edge Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of the Mitsubishi Chemical Group (MCG), and has expressed confidence in Vartega’s advanced material circular supply chain vision. This $10 million funding round also drew support from Circular Innovation Fund, as well as existing investors HG Ventures and Techstars.
“Diamond Edge Ventures investment validates our efforts to address the urgent need for sustainable solutions in the composites industry. We are grateful for their support as our lead investor for this pivotal funding round,” commented Vartega CEO Andrew Maxey. “This capital infusion will enable us to expand our operations, enhance our technology, and further establish Vartega as a leader in the circular economy.”
“As the world shifts towards a more sustainable future, we are excited to support Vartega in their mission to transform the materials industry,” added Curtis Schickner, President of Diamond Edge Ventures.
“Vartega’s innovative approach to carbon fiber recycling aligns with our vision for investing in technologies that positively impact the environment and economically meet current and future customer needs.”
Vartega raises $10 million to bolster recycled materials
Vartega boasts a proprietary recycling process which enables high-performance carbon fiber to be recovered and converted into advanced materials for the production of aerospace components, automotive parts, and wind turbine blades.
According to Vartega, its approach reduces waste and provides a sustainable source of high-quality recycled carbon fiber to manufacturers via its Fenix Fiber and Fenix Fiber+ EasyFeed Bundles. Fenix Fiber is a strong and lightweight carbon fiber reinforcement for compound thermoplastics, while Fenix Fiber+ incorporates high-performance additives such as functionalized graphene.
The $10 million financing will be leveraged to further optimize Vartega’s recently opened 82,000 square foot Denver-based production facility. Funds will also be allocated to commercialize additional recycling processes to expand feedstock availability.
Vartega hopes to continue to integrate its recycled material with industry partners in the automotive, additive manufacturing, consumer electronics, and sporting goods sectors.
Vartega’s additive manufacturing portfolio
A key aspect of Vartega’s business model is the production of sustainable additive manufacturing feedstocks. In 2018, the Vartega launched the AMIDE Association in collaboration with green technology advocacy Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA), North American engineering organization EWI, and online 3D service provider The 3D Printing Store.
This partnership received a $500,000 Advanced Industrial Accelerator (AIA) Collaborative Infrastructure Grant from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The Association has used this funding to develop three innovation centers in Colorado, focusing on the creation of 3D printing materials such as fiber-reinforced thermoplastics.
More recently, in November 2023 Vartega announced a five-year strategic partnership with Xtellar. Having first collaborated in 2018, this new partnership continues the two companies’ commitment to developing and commercializing sustainable 3D printing materials.
Xtellar currently produces four different additive manufacturing materials that utilize Vartega’s recycled carbon fiber. These include the company’s FL900PP-CF 100% recycled carbon fiber reinforced polypropylene 3D printing filament.
Leveraging Vartega’s Fenix Fiber, Xtellar sells 3D printing materials to customers specializing in electronics, sporting goods, automotive, and furniture applications. Through this latest agreement, Vartega and Xstellar will work to launch at least five new high-performance and sustainable materials by May 2025.
Xtellar recently announced the launch of its new UV fiber reinforced recycled PE pellet material that incorporates a UV stabilizer for large format 3D printers. Incorporating Vartega’s high-grade recycled carbon fiber, this new feedstock is called GR-610R-GCF, and reportedly opens up Vartega’s material to outdoor applications such including free-standing structures.
Vartega has also worked to increase its R&D capabilities to compound its own thermoplastics. Through this, the company hopes to provide materials directly to 3D printer and filament manufacturers.
Securing the circular material supply chain
The sustainability of material supply is a growing concern for those leveraging additive manufacturing.
Users are looking to minimize their carbon footprint and alleviate supply chain challenges. To meet this demand, material manufacturers are producing recycled 3D printing materials for a range of applications. In a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) published in 2023, KIMYA reported that recycled PETG filaments can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 35%.
In July 2023, 3D printing materials and services provider CRP Technology launched its 100% recycled Windform XT 2.0 IMG (Injection Molding Grade) 3D printing material. This high-performance material boasts a composite structure with a thermoplastic matrix, PA12 base, and enhanced carbon fiber reinforcements. This material is produced from depleted Windform powders without including any virgin additives.
Elsewhere, 3D printing company Tectonic-3D launched a series of 3D printing filaments at Formnext 2023. One such material, TenneT KRATIR PA11 CF, is a Polyamide 11 filament infused with carbon fiber that boasts a 98% biobased composition.
Similarly, UK-based 3D printing filament manufacturer Filamentive launched an economy PLA made with 99.99% recycled materials in March 2023. The composition of these filaments are derived from post-industrial waste. By using single-source waste, this material is free from debris, reducing the likelihood of contamination.
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Featured image shows Vartega’s recycled carbon fiber material. Image via Vartega.