ABC3D uses technology developed by its founders Hélène Bélanger and Ross Prestidge.
It starts with wood chips from the forest industry that are mixed with a solvent and put through a series of pressurized heating and cooling phases to extract the resin from the wood chips.
All solvent from the manufacturing process is put back into the system to be reused again.
“People often think of bioplastics as single-use with low-value functionality, but our products are incredibly high-functioning with exceptionally high heat resistance while being lightweight. As an example, our goal is to be able to 3D print something like a piston for your car from this material – there’s such high heat resistance, and it’s also very strong.”CEO Darrel Fry
The company currently operates a pilot plant and is working to scale production to have retail sales of 3D filaments available by the first quarter of 2019.
ABC3D’s head office is located in Rossland, B.C., but the wood to plastics process takes place in the Fab Lab in Trail, B.C., which is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility.
ABC3D was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the government of British Columbia’s organization.
After demonstrating the process to a 10 tonne scale per day of wood chips, the next goal is the commercial scale (in two years) where volumes are expected to reach 60–250 tonnes of wood chips a day.