The Senbis research institute is also located in the emmtec Industry & Business Park in Emmen, along with many other companies. Senbis is a development company that has emerged from the former R&D department of Diolen Industrial Fibers, formerly part of Akzo Nobel. It specialises in the development and production of yarns and monofilaments (3D printer filament) using special polymers. This has already resulted in several breakthroughs. The most recent achievement was an entirely new filament production line: Innofil3D. A printer filament of PLA (polylactic acid-based plastic) for the 3D printer, with excellent properties. Chemport Europe spoke with Bas Krins, Senbis R&D Director and Jeroen Wiggers, Innofil3D Director.
Bas: “At Senbis we are working with people who have a lot of industrial experience. We are experts in the area of synthetic yarns, engineering plastics, non-wovens and plastic packaging materials. I venture to say, that we are the only research institute in Europe that is completely independent. We have no interference from knowledge institutions or companies. We have at our disposal an excellently equipped laboratory and a complete pilot plant. This is an important advantage for our customers as it means that the industrial applicability can be easily tested at our site.”
We understand that where possible you opt for sustainable and bio-based solutions. Bas: “That is correct and the reason is twofold. Firstly, we notice there are still many improvements to be made with regard to sustainable and bio-based solutions. And along with this, we think it is wonderful to be able to contribute to a better world for ourselves and future generations. We would therefore like to express our commitment for more sustainability in high-end applications.”
Could you give an example? “At the moment we are working on various interesting applications”, Bas continues.” For instance, we are developing a biodegradable trimmer line and a biodegradable dolly rope for fishing nets.” Biodegradable dolly rope? “Yes, the fishing industry uses dolly ropes to protect their nets against wear. When this dolly rope is dragged over the sea floor it leaves small pieces of plastic behind in the sea. The dolly rope that we are now developing will decompose after a short while. The result will be less microplastics that are harmful to humans and animals. The same goes for the trimmer line. At the moment, if you use a trimmer to mow the lawn edges, the current string looses minute particles of plastics. These pieces, which are often very small, end up in the environment, with all the ensuing consequences.”
And when can a company approach you for support? What benefits do you provide for an entrepreneur? Bas leans back and comes up with two answers: “Senbis is a fully fledged partner in the development of all kinds of innovative solutions. We provide input and we believe that sharing our knowledge is the basis for our existence.”
Since 2014 you have a successful spin-off called Innofil3D. A special product line of 3D printer filament. What is so special about this? Jeroen does not need to think long before answering: “In the R&D process we have given a lot of attention to optimizing the printing properties of the filament. And this is precisely what has contributed to the fact that, in contrast to other 3D printer filament manufacturers, we are able to offer a very high stability in terms of the roundness and diameter of the filament. Properties that are important requirements for users of 3D printer filament.
Jeroen once again emphasizes the difference compared to other suppliers: “We have also developed the production technology to manufacture this filament. The great advantage of this technology is that we have achieved very flexible production, which is also very accurate and easy to scale up. And this is our strength. The other providers usually score well in one area, while we score well in all areas. We provide perfect quality and that clearly pays off. Our 3D printer filament is sold all over the world!”