115 Truckloads of landfill averted as part of Stratasys environmental initiative
Initiative also extends Ecoworks support-removal agent to all soluble support removal systems
Programme averts 115 truckloads from landfill
Though informally offered to customers for five years, Stratasys redesigned its consumable-plastic-material carrier recycling programme to encourage customer participation among Dimension® 3D Printer and Fortus® 3D Production system owners. The programme directs users to return their spent material spools, cartridges and canisters to the factory for refurbishing and reuse to prevent other disposal means. It also includes an intuitive website that prompts users through a quick process to generate a return label to the factory.
"After listening to our resellers and end users, we knew we needed to streamline the process as well as improve awareness," says Stratasys business development director Fred Fischer. "Customers found the old programme unclear and cumbersome or were unaware it existed. Our new simplified programme eliminates the problem by making it easy to participate."
Currently the logistics of small shipments across international borders limit the programme to Europe and the US, although further expansion is being studied. For European and US customers, clear and prominent instructions on the consumable-plastic box direct users to www.Stratasys.com/recycle, where they're prompted through the return process. For other geographic areas, instructions are available to help with local recycling.
"We believe the new recycling programme will significantly increase participation, reducing our technology's environmental footprint by keeping the plastic carriers out of landfills," says Fischer. "We have an ambitious plan to double the participation rate in 2011."
With the informal recycling programme, an average of 36 refuse collection lorries (approximated 1,200 metres) of material waste were annually reused or recycled instead of dumped in landfills. From programme inception through 2010, approximately 4000 metres - equivalent to 115 refuse collection lorries - of spent plastic carriers were returned to the factory for reuse or recycling rather than being land-filled.
Today - of the material carriers returned to Stratasys - more than 95 percent are reused or recycled. Stratasys aims to continue streamlining the process, increasing participation rates and the volume of carriers it reuses or recycles.
Ecoworks: A green clean
In the process of creating a plastic part, 3D printers create disposable structures that support overhangs and other features that need a base to build upon. These structures get removed when the part is complete. Stratasys "soluble supports" are dissolved in a water-based cleaning agent.
Ecoworks is a cleaning agent that was initially designed for a single support-cleaning system. The agent is now available for all soluble support-removal systems for FDM® and all soluble support materials, including SR-10, SR-20, and SR-30.
The cleaning agent was engineered as an environmentally friendly solution that can be drained in most standard plumbing systems after use. The solution's pH level generally meets drain water requirements worldwide. "Ecoworks is an eco-friendly and a user-friendly cleaning agent for companies that have strong environmental initiatives or strict local waste water regulations," says Stratasys product manager Mary Stanley. The cleaning agent comes in individual packets that dissolve and release contents when submersed in water, so the powder is not airborne. Key features include:
- User-friendly packaging
- Eco-friendly pH level
- Non-hazardous material
- Used solution gets diluted with water at a one-to-one ratio for disposal
To use the Stratasys recycling programme go to www.Stratasys.com/recycle.
For more information on Ecoworks support cleaning agent, contact your local Stratasys representative or call +49 (0)69 420 9943 0. To locate a reseller in your area, go to: www.Dimensionprinting.com/resellers or http://www.fortus.com/form.aspx?ekfrm=8036
Stratasys, Inc., Minneapolis, is a maker of additive manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts. The company markets under the brands Fortus 3D Production Systems and Dimension 3D Printers. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, a digital manufacturing service for prototypes and production parts. According to Wohlers Report 2010, Stratasys supplied more additive manufacturing systems in 2009 than any other manufacturer, making it the unit market leader for the eighth consecutive year. Stratasys patented and owns the process known as FDM® The process creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from any 3D CAD programme, using high-performance industrial thermoplastics. The company holds more than 285 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally. Stratasys products are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical, business & industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries. Online at: www.stratasys.com
Stratasys, Fortus, Dimension and RedEye are registered trademarks of Stratasys Inc.