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AMS Spring 2023

Roboze Breaks Ground on 3D Printing “Supermaterials” Research Center

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Roboze, additive manufacturing (AM) original equipment manufacturer, announced that it has begun construction on a laboratory devoted to developing cutting-edge polymers for 3D printing. The 2000 square meter facility will be an addition to Roboze’s existing corporate headquarters, comprising two offices in Bari, Italy. (Roboze also has a North American headquarters, in Houston, Texas.)

The new research center will be devoted exclusively to developing AM “supermaterials”. The latter is a term that Roboze is using to refer to potential polymers that would combine the metal-like strength of existing, petroleum-based thermoplastics, and the reduced carbon footprint that could be achievable with the use of bio-based plastic feedstock at scale.

In a press release announcing the new research center, Roboze’s founder and CEO, Alessio Lorusso, commented, “We constantly question the status quo of what is thought feasible and what seems futuristic, giving a precise date to this second category. Our new laboratories will allow us to rapidly speed up all developments and will give us much more opportunity to invent what no one thought possible. Our challenge in Roboze is to create 3D printing technology and super materials for a paradigm shift in today’s production model, producing high-performance parts in a sustainable way, just in time and on demand, eliminating dependence on metals and oil.”

Clearly, the world is far from realizing a situation where the elimination of dependence on metals and oil is a viable business model. On the other hand, reducing that dependence incrementally over the long-term is a quite viable business strategy, and that goal has always been close to the heart of Roboze’s corporate mission. The development of the sort of materials that Roboze has its sights on synchronizes nicely with the company’s dedication to delocalizing production and creating circular economies.

Interestingly, the company is perfectly poised to deliver on its promise for developing emission-reduction solutions owing precisely to its proximity to the oil & gas sector. As much as companies in oil & gas also like to deny that climate change exists, they have nonetheless long known that their futures depend on their own abilities to contribute to emissions-reductions as much as possible, while also diversifying the energy-sources they’re invested in.

Oil and gas is one of the sectors that Roboze has the greatest exposure to, due to the fact that the company’s platforms are compatible with PEEK polymers, which can be used as replacements for metal parts in oil & gas infrastructure. Moreover, the fact that Roboze’s North American headquarters are in Houston, one of the world’s most important fossil-fuel terminals, can’t be a coincidence. As cruel as the irony may be, the transition to renewable energy seems destined to happen under the guidance of the oil & gas sector. With this context in mind, it seems reasonable to think that an oil & gas major could eventually purchase a company like Roboze and transform it into its Circular Economy division.

Images courtesy of Roboze

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