Blog – Owa 3D: Armor turns used printer cartridges into recycled HIPS 3D printing filament

September 29, 2016 | From Tess

French company manufacturing ink cartridges armor recently moved into the 3D printing materials industry with the launch of its first filament line, Owa 3D. The new filament, which is fully recycled and made from high impact polystyrene (HIPS), is part of the cartridge manufacturer’s effort to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic waste from printer cartridges.

About a year ago, Armor launched its Owa campaign, which aimed to reduce the amount of plastic cartridge waste in the world. According to the company, 360 million printer cartridges are purchased each year in Western Europe alone, a staggering 70% of which either end up in landfills or are incinerated and not recycled. Armor developed Owa as a circular economy approach to deal with this waste and reduce it significantly. Since the program was launched, Armor has been collecting old cartridges from companies and effectively converting them to new cartridges or breaking their materials down to become new office supplies.

Now Armor seems to be branching out even further with its Owa initiative with its new 3D printing filament. If you didn’t guess it, the Owa 3D filament itself is made from plastic from recycled cartridges as well as from other sources like yogurt containers etc. As mentioned earlier, the filament is made of high impact polystyrene, also known as HIPS, which is a more flexible and durable material than other standard 3D printing materials like PLA or ABS.

Owa 3D, currently available in both France and Japan, is preparing to launch across Europe (e.g. Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy) as well as in the UK and Switzerland. The filament is compatible with most FDM 3D printers and will be available in standard filament spools of 750 g and in two diameters (1.75 mm and 2.85 mm). In addition, the recycled HIPS filament will be available in a range of 12 different colors and can be tested by customers using “Discovery” packages made up of six 162g spools of different colors.

Also noteworthy about Armor’s Owa process is that the company has agreed to pick up recyclable used cartridges from companies in order to create further incentives for recycling their office waste. From there, the used cartridges are taken to one of Armor’s processing plants, where they are either processed into new cartridges or into 3D printing filaments. The 3D printing filaments are currently being produced in the Armor factory in Morocco and in La Chevrolière near Nantes.

No prices have yet been set for the new recycled filament, but prospects and customers can follow the countdown to the product launch on the Owa 3D website.

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

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