Zero waste meets 3D printing in a filament made from wheat bran »

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GREENFILL3D, a Polish start-up operating at the intersection of eco-friendly, biodegradable materials and 3D printing, introduced a unique filament made from wheat bran – GF3D Branfill3d. The material was created according to modern concepts such as zero waste and circular economy: wheat bran is waste resulting from the production of pasta and noodles. From this material, GREENFILL3D printed proprietary advertising materials (the so-called PLV, or point-of-sale displays), to present ready-to-use pasta packaging. The project is developed in cooperation with the MASPEX group, one of the largest food producers in Europe.

The GF3D Branfill3d material is a composite of wheat bran, polylactic acid (PLA) – a popular bioplastic used in 3D printing – and other fully biodegradable ingredients which together give the material unique properties. Parts 3D printed with GF3D Branfill3d are resilient and to some extent flexible (depending on wall thickness), which makes them quite hard to break. A big contribution to these properties is made by the fibrous structure of wheat bran, which gives 3D printed parts resilience as well as a smooth surface finish. Additionally, during the 3D printing process, the material offers the scent of baked bread, which lingers on the 3D printed parts for a long time.

How is it done? The whole process consists of four steps. The first MASPEX group supplies GREENFILL3D with raw wheat bran, which is waste from pasta production. The raw wheat bran is then sieved to the low fraction needed and carefully and patiently dried until there is negligible moisture (wheat bran is very hygroscopic). At this point, the wheat bran is mixed with other ingredients and processed in an industrial environment into a fine filament yarn that can be used in the 3D printing process. Finally, GREENFILL3D prints POS with its fleet of 3D printers of more than 40 machines.

Each stand consists of 34 elements – assembly is quick and easy. In addition, the structure of the stand is modular, which can allow its subsequent expansion with additional modules. The result is an advertising stand presenting food products, which was created from the remains of the same food material. Production waste – instead of being discarded or disposed of, was also used to produce common tools to support sales.

Zero waste meets 3D printing in the GF3D Branfill3d filament made from wheat bran created by the startup GREENFILL3D in collaboration with MASPEX

The project fits perfectly into the assumptions of zero waste and circular economy ideas and can be extended to other areas. The material properties of wheat bran allow for a number of different applications, from everyday use and decorative items to industrial products. Currently, the GREENFILL3D team is carrying out the first user tests of applications made from GF3D Branfill3d for a client representing the automotive industry and intends to test it successively in other industries.

MASPEX is the largest private Polish company in the food industry and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe. GREENFILL3D has been selected within the framework of the ScaleUp Program organized by PARP (Polish Agency for Business Development) to implement a joint project with the MASPEX Group for one of its main brands – leader in the pasta category in Poland – the Lubella brand. Joint work on the project began on July 1, 2021, and on December 15, 2021 the first prototype was ready for logistics testing. The final PLV display was made of 20% wheat bran filament, using PLA polymer shelf connectors, mounted on a 100% recyclable cardboard base, printed with Greenguard certified paints. The innovative “ecoPOS” will soon be delivered to selected points of sale.

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