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issue 04/2021

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  • Toys
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  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Toys Thermoforming Basics: Bio-Polypropylene

Applications Plant

Applications Plant protection made by competi Biofibre is a mid-sized compounder for biopolymers and biocomposites based near Munich in Germany. The company produces customised bioplastic compounds for different applications and processing technologies. In 2020, the compounding capacity was increased. Since then, the company has striven for sustainable growth of the business through the development of new applications and partnerships. The main focus is on biobased, biodegradable natural fibre-reinforced compounds. One truly successful project was, for example, its EcoSpacer product, which was recognized with the Biopolymer Innovation Award in 2019. EcoSpacer is a wood-fibre filled compostable compound called Silva, which can replace the use of LDPE granulate to separate concrete slabs during transport. For the present, project Biofibre partnered with Yizumi Germany (Alsdorf). The companies share a common goal, i.e., to achieve sustainable growth with the smallest possible impact on the environment. Yizumi has developed a robotic flexible additive manufacturing system called SPACE A offering as key characteristics energy reduction and fast production cycles. Using energy-efficient additive manufacturing technology, small to midscale production can be realized in a simple, fast, and competitive way compared to other additive manufacturing or established plastic processing processes. The system features a screwbased plasticising unit mounted on a 6-axis robot. Thanks to the large build volume, large-scale plastic parts can be produced using the Space A technology. The main advantage of the use of a screw extruder in 3D printing is the option to process conventional plastic resin. In comparison to the use of very expensive filaments, it can, on the one hand, reduce costs and on the other, it allows the utilisation of Figure 1: Plant protection printed with Biofibre Silva SI2900 By: Nicolai Lammert Head of Additive Manufacturing Yizumi Germany GmbH Christoph Glammert, CEO Jörg Dörrstein, Head of R&D Biofibre GmbH Altdorf, Germany Figure 2: Yizumi Space A highly filled and fibre reinforced compounds. The optional use of a conveyer belt results in a machine system set-up that is able to print parts non-stop. An ideal combination The partnership between Biofibre and Yizumi Germany arose after a number of very promising trials were completed. Silva SI2900 demonstrated a large processing window in printing trials compared to other compostable plastics. Furthermore, a good printability was seen compared to other fibre filled plastic compounds. In comparison to other compostable compounds, no fast degradation during processing was observed. The uncoloured printed surface of Biofibre Silva has a wood-like appearance with a silk matt surface. The mechanical performance is comparable to stiffer polypropylene (PP). Depending on the die diameter, the material offers space for a wide range of individual part designs. Based on the processing and performance profile shown in these initial printing runs, the team discussed potential applications. One of the ideas was the development and production of a flat, large-sized mesh structure, intended for use to protect seeded plants from grazing and nibbling animals. This type of mesh protection is commonly used in vineyards to shield new wine plants after planting. Producing these mesh structures via injection moulding is a challenge. Only easily flowing polymers without fillers can be used to fill the mould. On the other hand, production 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16

tive 3D printing based on an extruded flat sheet, which is subsequently trimmed, is highly complicated. Using biodegradable plastics to produce mesh structures with these dimensions, given the limitations of these materials, is especially difficult using either of these technologies. Biodegradable polymers tend to lack either the mechanical stiffness or elongation required for this application. In short, for injection moulding, the flowability of compostable compounds is one limiting factor, while the need for suitable reinforcement imposes distinct limitations on the flat sheet extrusion option, as well. Overall, Yizumi’s Space A additive manufacturing technology offers a good alternative for the production of such a flat mesh structure in the requisite dimensions for vinery applications. The 20 % wood fibre reinforced Biofibre biopolymer provides a stiff mesh structure that is bendable enough for this application. The use of natural fibres as filler material allows the biodegradability to be tuned. After adjusting the processing speeds and establishing the required temperature profiles, it took 3 minutes to produce one part. Continuous production was simulated by printing the products directly on a conveyor belt. Tests with wine farmers revealed that the parts were easy to apply and provided sufficient protection from rabbits and hares, due to the tailored design and the inherent mechanical properties of the biocomposite material. In summary, this plant protection application shows how a clever combination of new biomaterials and innovative machine technology can open up new potential for part designs. Joint efforts are currently being directed at furniture applications. Further prints will be expected to be displayed at the Fakuma fair in October later this year. | REGISTER NOW! Applications Join us at the 16th European Bioplastics Conference – the leading business forum for the bioplastics industry. 30 NOV - 1 DEC 2021 Mercure Hotel MOA Berlin, Germany Figure 3: Side wall of a printed part made of Biofibre Silva SI2900 @EUBioplastics #eubpconf2021 For more information email: bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16 37

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