Monday, May 16, 2016

Kanèsis to launch Indiegogo campaign for hemp 3D printing filament '30% stronger than PLA'

By Benedict

Kanèsis, a thermoplastic composites startup based in Sicily, is launching an Indiegogo campaign for its HempBioPlastic 3D printing filament. The company recently filed its first patent application for the eco-friendly 3D printing material.
For thousands of years, hemp has been grown around the world for its versatile fibre, which can be used to make cloth, paper, and rope, amongst other things. However, since the plant is a close biological relative of marijuana—a drug prohibited in most parts of the world—hemp cultivation has decreased significantly over the last few hundred years. According to some environmentalists, however, this decrease in hemp use is something to be concerned about, since hemp can be used to make natural, decomposable products, far greener than common plastic alternatives.
Last year, Italian startup Kanèsis burst onto the 3D printing scene with its innovative hemp 3D printing filament, which it has spent the last year refining, marketing, and—crucially—patenting. Far more than a green novelty, the startup’s HempBioPlastic filament is demonstrably more efficient than several bioplastics on the market, and is around 20% and 30% stronger than PLA, the go-to 3D printing material of choice for many 3D printers. This impressive strength, coupled with a high resistance to warping, makes the hemp-based filament suitable even for industrial applications. But that’s not all for the versatile filament: HempBioPlastic’s wood-like appearance makes it highly valuable for aesthetically minded printing projects as well.
Naturally, HempBioPlastic has also been created with the environment in mind, with its lower producing temperature resulting in lower energy usage and reduced environmental impact. On top of that, the material is also fully biodegradable, and can even be recycled in many places. To make the most out of its exciting product, Kanèsis is even looking beyond 3D printing, and speculates that several thermoplastic sectors could make use of the hemp-based material, contributing to greener industrial sectors around the world.
In order to raise the funds to fully launch its product, Kanèsis is starting a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo on May 17, which will enable the startup to continue its hard work without making compromises: “This choice allows us to maintain our independence and decision-making autonomy, factors that we do not intend to overlook at this stage of our growth,” commented Giovanni Milazzo and Antonio Caruso, Kanèsis co-founders.
The young company believes that its own commercial success will enable it to induce gradual changes throughout the industry, making hemp a viable material choice for many manufacturing and design applications: “We strongly believe in a future where eco-friendly materials can replace those derived from petrochemicals, but every big change comes from the grassroots,” said Milazzo and Caruso. “This is why we decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign, the real democratic funding.”
Regardless of the success of the Indiegogo campaign, Kanèsis at least hopes that its project will bring the conversation about eco-materials back on to the table. “This is not just about fundraising; we also want to raise awareness on environmental issues” Milazzo and Caruso said.

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