Dec 18, 2015 | By Kira

As the additive manufacturing industry continues to branch out into new areas of industrial development, the question of how to make both the processes and the materials more sustainable remains top of mind. In order to develop the sustainable materials of the future, Swedish research institute Innventia has launched an interdisciplinary consortium known as “Would wood” to develop integrated material and production concepts for the large-scale additive manufacturing of advanced wood-based structures. The project involves an innovative wood-based material for 3D printing as well as its manufacturing technique, which is aimed at producing furniture, structural elements, and in the long-term, large-scale construction projects for smart cities.

Innventia is engaged in producing and refining research on forest raw materials, and developing sustainable solutions for the pulp, paper, and packaging industries, among others. The company is organized into three business areas: biorefining, material processes, and packaging solutions. A key philosophy in their research is that the materials of the future must be developed in close cooperation with new manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing, in order to ensure that they are optimized for performance, and as eco-friendly as possible. To this end, they also strive to produce materials locally, to order, and without large stocks, waste, or middlemen.

To date, the company has focused on finding new materials and products made from cellulose and other raw materials or by-products from the forest and food industries. Innventia has, for example, worked extensively with bioplastics made from renewable polymers, and has even shown that it is possible to produce carbon fibers from lignin, a renewable by-product in a kraft pulp mill.

With the Would wood project, the researchers’ challenge was to modernize current production techniques for wood products, enabling them to be adapted for the future of manufacturing: 3D printing. Would wood thus covers the development of materials, robotics, and additive manufacturing processes, as well as design tools for developing sustainable wood-based composites that could be used in medium-to-large scale 3D printing. The project also intends to collaborate with other initiatives looking at additive manufacturing processes.

“Our vision is to radically change the way we produce everything from furniture, accessories and structural elements to entire buildings. In that way, we lay the groundwork for a new chain of products and services based on 3D-printed wood,” said Mikael Lindström, Innventia’s project manager

“We believe that this technology will change the way we look at all aspects of sustainability, including quality of life, environment, logistics, materials strategies, energy and transportation. It’s a very exciting time and we see 3D printed wood as an innovative, sustainable and obvious material in the biobased economy of the future.”

The interdisciplinary Would wood consortium is the initiative of three young architects: Cesilia Silvasti, Kayrokh Moattar and Lily Huang, with Innventia’s Mikael Lindström appointed as the official coordinator. It is one of 31 new projects being financed by Vinnova, a Swedish organization that promotes sustainable growth by funding needs-driven research. Vinnova’s total investment for all projects in its Challenge-Driven Innovation program  is approximately $1.8 million (SEK 16 million).

Wood-based 3D printing filaments have already reached the market, for example, through Kai Parthy’s LAYWOO-D3. However, to support and sustain eco-friendly initiatives, particularly in the wake of the increasing climate change, the depeletion of our natural resources, and rising oil prices, larger-scale applications of wood-based 3D printing materials, processes and structures will need to be implemented, including packaging solutions, furniture, and even wood-based 3D printed houses or other constructions. By working across industry boundaries in design, architecture, robotics, mechatronics, materials engineering and forestry, this is precisely where Innventia’s Would wood project stands to make a significant and sustainable difference.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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