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Application News PLA

Application News PLA Filaments for RepRap 3D Printer PLA and Flowers: Perfect Combination Taghleef Industries, together with Cibra and NatureWorks, has developed a new packaging solution for the flower industry made of PLA. Flower sleeves are traditionally made of BOPP (biaxially oriented polypropylene) or other plastic films. Even though BOPP has a good cost/performance ratio, it has two defects: A) it’s made from fossil fuel (oil) and B) it’s not biodegradable, nor it can be recycled easily unless properly separated from other materials. Cibra, the Italian manufacturer of bag and sleeves machinery, has developed a new range of machines capable of processing both conventional plastics like PP or PE, as well as biopolymers like PLA. PLA flower sleeves can be totally transparent, or a combination of transparent and metalized films for a more eye-catching appeal. Thanks to the advantages of PLA, the new generation of flower sleeves allows to achieve the same performance in terms of product presentation and protection, whilst contributing to a reduction in the CO 2 emissions. Furthermore, both transparent and metalized PLA films offer multiple options in terms of end of life: recycling, incineration, land filling and composting. The last one in particular appears to be the most appropriate solution for this application, as it offers the possibility of disposing of the flowers or plants in the organic waste bin, without the need to separate these from the PLA wrap. Once composted, our bunch of flowers and its packaging will become a fertilizer to grow new plants. Shenzhen Esun Industrial Co. Ltd. (formerly Shenzhen Brightchina) is a company producing environmental materials such as PLA or PCL. With their brand Esun they are targeting at global markets. One innovative example is PLA filaments to be used with a special 3D-Printer that can produce single plastic parts. As early as 2008, Adrian Bowyer at the University of Bath, UK, developed the first RepRap 3D printer. Here a thermoplastic filament (e.g. ABS or PLA) is melted in a heated die with a very small diameter. The die is moved by a computer program in order to lay down a thin ‘line’ of thermoplastic melt to a surface. After cooling a next ‘layer’ of melt can be placed on top of the first and layer by layer a three-dimensional part is being ‘printed’ with plastic melt instead of ink. Thus RepRap is a desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects. Since many parts of the RepRap are made from plastic and RepRap can print those parts, RepRap is a self-replicating machine - one that anyone can build given time and materials. It also means that - if you’ve got a RepRap - you can print lots of useful stuff, and you can print another RepRap for a friend. If this sounds too strange … for the very special idea behind RepRap visit their website. Now, PLA is an ideal material for the RepRap process, for example due to its lower melting point compared to ABS, and the well-known environmental advantages. MT 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6

& JOINTLY PRESENT THE SIXTH ANNUAL GLOBAL AWARD FOR DEVELOPERS, MANUFACTURERS AND USERS OF BIO-BASED PLASTICS. Call for proposals Enter your own product, service or development, or nominate your favourite example from another organisation Please let us know: 1. What the product, service or development is and does 2. Why you think this product, service or development should win an award 3. What your (or the proposed) company or organisation does Your entry should not exceed 500 words (approx 1 page) and may also be supported with photographs, samples, marketing brochures and/or technical documentation (cannot be sent back). The 5 nominees must be prepared to provide a 30 second videoclip More details and an entry form can be downloaded from The Bioplastics Award will be presented during the 6th European Bioplastics Conference November 22/23, 2011, Berlin, Germany supported by

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