Covestro introduces 3D printing material made from recycled PET

  • Recycled PET made from post-consumer plastic waste
  • Developed by the recently acquired DSM Resins & Functional Materials
  • Alternative to virgin raw materials can help reduce carbon footprint
  • Glass-fiber filled material suitable for high performance and structural applications using 3D pellet printing/fused granulate fabrication (FGF)

Materials manufacturer Covestro introduces its first material developed by the additive manufacturing business recently acquired from DSM: a glass-fiber filled recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) for 3D pellet printing. Made from post-consumer PET waste, Arnite® AM2001 GF (G) rPET perfectly fits Covestro’s vision for a Circular Economy and illustrates how complementary the two organizations are in their approach to adding more value to additive manufacturing and industrial production overall.

The glass-fiber filled pellet material brings structural performance to a part at a substantially lower carbon footprint than virgin material. Manufacturers can now make their supply chain more circular without the need to compromise on performance.

Increasing sustainability, reducing cost

The recycled PET has been optimized for 3D pellet printing. This technology, also known as fused granulate fabrication (FGF), allows for fast and economically viable additive manufacturing of large-size parts. Direct printing of applications lowers cost by reducing product development time. Plus 3D printing allows design flexibility, which can help reduce material cost. 3D printing is an intrinsically more sustainable production method as it only uses the material that is needed. By also making the material more sustainable, Covestro helps manufacturers shift toward a Circular Economy.

Arnite® AM2001 (G) rPET‘s mechanical properties and broad processing window makes it ideally suited for structural applications across a variety of industries, including pedestrian bridges, tiles for cyclist or pedestrian tunnels, architectural applications like cladding or partition walls, in- and outdoor furniture, small boats, packaging crates or tooling.

Hugo Da Silva, Head of Additive Manufacturing (former-DSM) commented: “The introduction of this high-performing material for 3D pellet printing is an important step in creating circular supply chains. With PET packaging accounting for more than 50 percent of total plastic waste, extending its lifetime by re-using it as feedstock offers a broadly available alternative to virgin raw materials – without the need to compromise on performance or total cost of ownership.”

Patrick Rosso, Head of Additive Manufacturing (Covestro) added: “We’re excited about the introduction of this circular material designed by our new colleagues. It perfectly fits the Covestro vision of a Circular Economy. This material is the best proof point we could want to underpin the two teams’ joint ambition to bring the market a stronger materials partner that can help accelerate industrial additive manufacturing.”

  • Production waste is a valuable raw material
  • Reprocessing on an industrial scale possible
  • Contribution to more sustainability and resource conservation

The Maezio® brand of continuous fiber-reinforced polycarbonate composites (CFRTPs) developed by Covestro are characterized by their extremely light weight, very high strength and exceptional flexibility of design. This means that waste generated during the production of composites also becomes a valuable raw material. However, because they consist of different materials that cannot be easily separated from one another, the recycling of composites is a challenge. Covestro is cooperating with recycling specialist carboNXT® on this. It has developed a process that allows the waste to be processed on an industrial scale.

"We are very excited about this joint solution, as we cannot process the materials ourselves for technical reasons," explains Lisa Ketelsen, Head of Thermoplastic Composites at Covestro. "By recycling according to type at our partner's plant, the raw materials can be converted back into valuable products with similarly good properties as those characteristic of virgin materials. The recycling of materials makes it possible to use them again in other products. In this way, we save raw material resources and contribute to the focus on the circular economy."

"Our company has many years of experience in recycling carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics and has the necessary plant technologies to process such waste. We were therefore the partner of choice for this task," says Tim Rademacker, general manager at Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials and responsible for the carbon fiber recycling business. "From the processed waste, we produce high-quality new compounds of carbon fiber-reinforced polycarbonate for Covestro at CarboNXT®."

Demand for such recycled products is high because they are valuable raw materials, but also because more and more industrial customers and consumers are looking for more sustainable products. The project will now be further developed to market maturity by Covestro, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials and possibly other partners. It is part of a global strategic program with which Covestro is focusing all its energy on the circular economy.


About Covestro:

With 2020 sales of EUR 10.7 billion, Covestro is among the world’s leading polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative, sustainable solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. In doing so, Covestro is fully committed to the circular economy. The main industries served are the automotive and transportation industries, construction, furniture and wood processing, as well as electrical, electronics, and household appliances industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. At the end of 2020, Covestro has 33 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,500 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Find more information at www.covestro.com

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.