Green shoots: DyeMansion and the Green Deal Recovery

The role of the European Innovation Council (EIC) is to ensure that the European Union has suitable economic growth and for that to be led by organisations with sustainability at their core. The EIC launched its Green Deal call this year and one of the 64 selected “game-changing” startups and SMEs is DyeMansion – the disruptive post-processing organisation.

The startups & SMEs will obtain over 307 million EUR to kickstart the European economy with a particular focus on innovative technologies. DyeMansion’s Powerfuse S system ticks many boxes that the EIC sees as essential in its aim to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050.

The vapour polishing system delivering sealed surfaces beyond aesthetics was designed to eliminate some of the probably carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances that have been associated with previous chemical smoothing processes, many of which may be classified by the EU as ‘substances of very high concern’ in the future.

“Being selected as one of the very first companies to work at the forefront of Europe’s mission to become the first climate-neutral continent is a great honour for us. This underlines not only the sustainability potential of 3D printing but also the innovative “green” approach that we bring to the manufacturing industry with our Powerfuse S. We take this job seriously and see sustainability as a key obligation to all our activities,” said Felix Ewald, CEO & Co-Founder of DyeMansion.

The advanced hardware architecture of the Powerfuse S system runs with DyeMansion’s proprietary VaporFuse EcoFluid solvent, which is harmless and safe for both the operator and the environment. It can safely be used for the processing of plastics intended to come into contact with food according to regulation (EU) 10/2011. The solvent is circulated continuously in a closed loop and automatically recovered by the system. This enables a sustainable contact-free process without chemical waste.

The results of this industrial process are improved part properties and sealed 3D printed surfaces with an injection moulding level finish. The beauty is not restricted to external surfaces, VaporFuse Surfacing can deliver a reduced surface roughness of Ra less than 2 – even inside of complex tubes. Parts treated with VaporFuse show enhanced pressure tightness and repel water, oil or other liquids. A possible bacterial growth on the surface can also be reduced to a minimum.

“I am very proud of our team at DyeMansion for developing a system that will set new standards in the industry and impressively proves that our company is able to offer solutions at the highest industrial level,” said Felix during the machine’s launch at Formnext 2019.

The EIC validation of DyeMansion’s technology is a further shot in the arm for the fast-growing Munich-based company who earlier this year announced a funding round of 14 million USD, taking the total amount the additive manufacturing post-processing company has raised to 24m USD.

The additional funding has been generated by Nordic Alpha Partners (NAP) and a number of existing investors, including AM Ventures, UVC Partners, btov Partners and KGAL. DyeMansion is set to use this recent investment to develop automated and fully integrated process chains, while also helping the company to establish an increased global presence via demonstration facilities, regional application consultants and commercial business infrastructures.

If the glove fits

DyeMansion is pushing the envelope when it comes to post-processing technologies. Its complete product portfolio is designed with the intention of being Industry 4.0 ready and one company taking enormous strides thanks to DyeMansion’s technology is ProGlove.

ProGlove builds the lightest, smallest, and toughest barcode scanners in the world, connecting workers to actionable information. More than 500 renowned organisations in manufacturing, production, logistics, and retail use these smarter workforce solutions. ProGlove was founded in December 2014 after winning the Intel “Make it Wearable” Challenge in Silicon Valley and is backed by growth-focused investors Summit Partners, DICP, and Bayern Capital. The company employs 200 people from over 40 countries with offices in Munich, Chicago, and Belgrade.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the company reacted quickly and integrated a function into the existing app that sends a signal if two devices, and thus their carriers, are too close together, ensuring social distancing. The demand for ProGlove technology is ever-growing, and 3D printing offers many benefits. In addition to the ability to accurately plan production volumes and avoid overproduction, the product portfolio can be quickly adapted and expanded. When combined with DyeMansion’s Print-to-Product workflow, 3D printing can be used to produce high-value, end-use products, regardless of production volume. This offers a significant advantage over conventional production methods such as injection moulding, which only makes sense above a certain quantity. This allows a more sustainable production.

“We use the SLS technology combined with the DyeMansion Print-to-Product workflow for serial production and ramp up. We are a young company with a young product portfolio and we have ongoing changes. In the manufacturing process, it gives us the freedom to change products fast without having to keep an eye on the production volume,” said Konstantin Brunnbauer, VP of Production, ProGlove.

Rooted in sustainability

As well as being part of the EIC’s Green Deal call, DyeMansion is also part of Start Global’s ROSE (Return On Society and the Environment) project, which was developed in cooperation with the University of St. Gallen and is supported by DyeMansion’s investor, btov. ROSE empowers and guides entrepreneurs and investors to contribute to more positive impacts. The framework provides a better understanding of both risks and opportunities and it also emphasises the responsibility of entrepreneurs as a key player for the development of our society.

Lukas Erdt, Powerfuse S Product Manager and initiator of the sustainability council at DyeMansion, commented: “In the face of the climate crisis, limited resources and global inequalities, it is obvious that companies have to rethink their way of operating. It’s one thing to acknowledge the need and to commit to more sustainability, but the actual implementation is hard work. This realisation made us establish an internal sustainability committee to work on these topics and appointed resources and authority to it.”

DyeMansion continues to push boundaries of what is possible with additive manufacturing and, by implementing sustainability at its core, has built an incredibly promising eco-system that points towards a brighter future, and not just with its wide-range of colours…

This article was first published in TCT Magazine Volume 28, Issue 5. Read the full issue here

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