DyeMansion is officially part of the European Union’s “Green Deal”, a plan to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The Council selected the Munich-based post-processing specialist as its first Green Deal call because its Powerfuse S system runs with eco-friendly solvent, a promise of the company’s ambition as a provider of eco-friendly services. The Council’s funding further promises a higher profile for DyeMansion’s commitment to enhancing 3D printing’s value chain.
The Council’s Green Deal is a public-private-partnership funding initiative that distributes over EUR 307 million to 64 start-up companies. These investments are chosen out of 2,000 applications. The present distribution brings DyeMansion into a fold numbering 23 European countries, which is the most geographically diverse selection yet made.
DyeMansion’s post-processing systems clean, texturize, fuse and color printed objects. The company is a global leader innovating post-processing systems. Each system runs a different technology; the Powerfuse S uses a vaporized solvent to partially dissolve a surface. Philip Kramer described the eco-friendly process, which the company has dubbed “VaporFuse”, to 3dpbm: “Solvent vapor condenses on the surface of the parts. This dissolves the top layer of the surface causing the polymer chains to rearrange in the strive for low surface energy. The surface roughness is heavily reduced and after removing the solvent from the part, there is a smooth and completely sealed surface”.
The solvent is itself a natural product. It is an EU-approved chemical used in food packaging and cosmetic products. Mr. Kramer describes it in contradistinction to traditional chemical solvents: “chemical smoothing has been associated with harsh chemicals, toxic waste and single-use solvents. This not only can cause serious harm to the operator, sometimes even using CMR-solvents …, but also has a bad environmental footprint”. The company’s Powerfuse S solvent eschews these common issues.
The Powerfuse system re-uses the solvent. System operators do not risk exposure to chemicals, and the chemical has a longer production life. The circular design also allows a higher level of automation: once set up to production standard, the Powerfuse can run unsupervised throughout the day.
The result for manufacturers is a seal and smoothness comparable to injection molding.
The value-added from DyeMansion’s eco-friendly system goes beyond its environmental benefits. Its ability to run autonomously means that manufacturing capacities can increase at a fraction of traditional cost.
Once the European Innovation Council finalizes the legal details of its funding with DyeMansion, the company intends to expand VaporFuse technology to more fields of application. The company aims to provide ISO certifications and have its system comply with manufacturing standards in target sectors such as medical and food. The company also aims to improve client interaction with its systems by connecting them to the industrial internet of things. Such a connection permits remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, thus improving equipment efficiency.
DyeMansion’s inclusion in the Green Deal program means that its focus on efficient, sustainable post-processing systems receives a higher profile, which raises additive manufacturing’s potential as an eco-friendly manufacturing process.