Ecology and the preservation of the Earth are a pressing social concern at the start of 2023. Startup in France. In POOLP’s micro-factory, plastic waste is transformed into products of high social and environmental value. During the 3D Print Paris 2022 event, the company won the startup competition. We all know that one of the methods to reduce waste production and carbon impact is additive manufacturing.
Lorenzo Fauvette and Thomas Sicouri co-founders of the French start-up POOLP are two architects very concerned about the environment and passionate about the use of new technologies in the fields of design, art and architecture. We both have a master’s degree in robotics, digital fabrication and algorithmic design for the construction sector. We discovered the disruptive potential of 3D printing while using it as a prototyping tool.
When two ENPC graduates saw the potential of XL 3D printing in the fields of art and architecture, they decided to start POOLP. Our idea of the circular economy is the inspiration for the name POOLP, which is an anachronistic play on words: Like the circular economy, LOOP plastic is spelled POOL-P backwards. Moreover, in French it is pronounced like the octopus, an animal that can change shape, colour and metamorphose, just like 3D printing. They decided to use 3D printing as a tool for the commercialisation of plastics by taking advantage of its adaptability and portability.
We began to consider an XL 3D printing technology that would allow us to experiment with a large number of recycled and/or bio-based materials. Thus was born POOLP and the concept of using plastic waste as a primary source for 3D printing.
The urban microfactory is envisioned as a small-scale method to establish itself in the dense urban fabric, energise the local economy and initiatives, and foster collaboration between the various actors in the circular economy sector. It consists of a series of additive manufacturing equipment that can turn waste into goods of high aesthetic, social and environmental value. It can turn local plastic waste generated in the areas where it is located into valuable resources.
By using the waste produced by society in a particular place and then transforming it into finished products, POOLP aims to advance an alternative philosophy of production and consumption. They aim to meet their environmental responsibilities by creating a 3D printing process that is simple to replicate and effective with the widest range of thermoplastic waste materials. They have created a robotic additive manufacturing unit capable of producing huge things from plastic waste by modifying and assembling industrial machinery already in use.
Our printing technology is based on the FGM (Fused Granulate Modeling) method, which allows printing directly from plastic granules and fragments, reducing production time and raw material costs, while allowing experimentation with a wide range of materials. It consists of an extruder, a printer and a 6-axis ABB IRB 6700 robot that can correctly and quickly convert virtual geometry into something physical.
We do not add fillers or additives to the production process to stabilise the substance. This is important, as all our products can be recycled with the current European recycling systems. By modifying the printing parameters, we can reduce any problems related to material behaviour, such as shrinkage, warping, etc.
Stools, coffee tables, planters and lamps are just some of the design and furniture items we create. Our objects become more than just commodities because they bear witness to a new way of conceiving production and consumption. But in the long term, we plan to expand our selection of options. At present, our products are mainly intended for the design of company lobbies, hotels, restaurants and shops. Architects, designers and artists who understand the urgent need to reduce their environmental footprint and actively participate in the ecological transition are primarily targeted with our co-design and manufacturing services.
Because of its ability to produce complicated geometries using as little material as possible, 3D printing is an excellent tool for advancing the circular economy. In addition, it generates almost no manufacturing waste and can be produced just-in-time, avoiding overproduction and unsold components. By producing close to consumer demand and using waste generated by local businesses and residents, the microfactory system also reduces transport costs and distances.