Consumer ProductsSustainability

Backpack to the future, comfortably and sustainably, with Novum 3D

World’s first recyclable backpack from VAUDE is made of mono material TPU with a 3D printed suspension system

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By using innovative 3D printed back pads, German Outdoor brand VAUDE developed Novum 3D, the first recyclable backpack made from a mono material. This is a new, big step towards a circular economy and has brought many insights to VAUDE: for the future use of 3D printing technology in the outdoor gear sector, for the use of mono-materials, for Made in Germany products including the German supply chain and for implementing comprehensively sustainable product development.

By its very nature, VAUDE stands for comprehensive sustainability: the company is now set on thinking outside the box to find new ways to keep the planet healthy so that future generations will always be able to experience the fascination of nature. We can only succeed in this in the future if we use our resources more consciously and reduce CO2 emissions. Ideally, a product should be returned completely back to the production process at the end of its life cycle. This is true recycling, but it is still a big challenge for the textile industry. Many products consist of at least 5 to 10 different materials or mixed fabrics and therefore cannot be separated by type. For this to succeed, the entire product life cycle must be considered and redeveloped. – starting with design, but also the material development process, manufacturing and final disposal.

Novum 3D, the world’s first recyclable backpack from VAUDE made from TPU mono-material with a 3D printed suspension system

With the Novum 3D, these aspects are all taken into account. For the first time, this innovative backpack is completely recyclable thanks to its design, mono-material, welding technology and the 3D printing suspension construction.

Sustainability and comfort don’t have to be at odds with each other. In fact, in this pack, it’s quite the contrary. Innovative 3D printing technology provided by OECHSLER creates an extremely lightweight suspension system. The honeycomb construction is one of the most stable forms in nature. This type of construction offers us the highest stability with the least amount of material. The lightweight, open structure also automatically provides ideal ventilation. At the same time, different degrees of hardness ensure ideal pressure distribution.

Uwe Gottschalk, VAUDE Head of Product, explains the potential for a circular economy. “To date, backpack suspension systems have always been made of many different materials. Thanks to 3D printing technology, suspension systems made of pure thermoplastic (TPU) are now possible for the first time. In combination with other mono-materials, the backpack can be easily recycled without complex separation systems. All non-TPU components were designed for easy removal.“

Novum 3D, the world’s first recyclable backpack from VAUDE made from TPU mono-material with a 3D printed suspension system

Not only is the backpack a pioneer in climate-friendly production due to its recyclability, but also due to the regional collaboration with the 3D printing expert OECHSLER from Bavaria. The entire production process – including design, development and production – takes place entirely in Germany. For the primary material the company use undyed material which also reduces the use of chemicals.

The Novum 3D is an ideal example of sustainable product development. It is the first step towards recyclable outdoor products and is providing new insights for more products made of mono-materials. Backpack … to the future of sustainable products.

Novum 3D, the world’s first recyclable backpack from VAUDE made from TPU mono-material with a 3D printed suspension system VAUDE Novum 3D backpack short-facts

Innovatively comfortable thanks to 3D printing technology

  • Honeycomb construction ensures maximum stability with minimum use of materials.
  • Different degrees of hardness for each zone of your body guarantee ideal pressure distribution.
  • Optimal ventilation due to a lightweight and open structure

Easily recyclable thanks to the use of mono-materials

  • Back pads, packsack and straps made from a 100% thermoplastic material
  • Mono-material is possible thanks to a welding technology that doesn’t require thread
  • Non-TPU components are easily removable.

Comprehensively climate-friendly production in Germany

  • Short delivery routes thanks to a regional cooperation with the 3D printing experts OECHSLER
  • Designed, developed and produced at VAUDE’s climate-neutral headquarters in Germany.
  • Environmentally friendly thanks to the use of undyed materials

A look into the future of sustainable outdoor gear

  • The first recyclable backpack enables us to draw conclusions for further developments.
  • It’s providing insights for the use of easily recyclable mono-materials.
  • Welding instead of sewing enables recyclability.

Status: Prototyping

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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