Chicago — The people behind Dimension Polymers LLC want to build a successful business and make a difference all at the same time.
Gerald Galazin brings a background in recycled plastics and Mark Sherman brings a background in commodities and finance to the fledgling Chicago company that's developed a recycled-based plastic filament for 3-D printers.
They both see a business opportunity as 3-D printers are expected to explode in popularity in the years to come.
“We realize there's going to be a huge amount of waste going into the 3-D printing industry very shortly,” Galazin said. “We wanted to create a closed-loop system.”
So Dimension Polymers sources recycled plastics, including material rescued from landfills, as the basis for its line of ABS filament sold in 750-gram spools that are 95-percent recycled content. The other 5 percent involves additives that give the recycled-based product the proper characteristics for use in 3-D printers.
“Our goal is to bring to market a suite of 3-D printing materials that are made from recycled material. Right now, we just have the pilot product. We'd like to bring a suite of products and give that offering to the market because there is a demand for it,” Sherman said.
“It's a challenging process just because 3-D printing materials, they require a lot of precision in the manufacturing process,” he added.
Dimension Polymers offers an alternative from the industry standard virgin resin filament, Galazin said.
The 3-D printing business is expected to use 250 million pounds of plastic per year by 2020 as its popularity continues to grow, and 10 to 30 percent of that total will end up being waste. Galazin said.
By offering recycled-content filament and an outlet to recycle waste plastic, Dimension Polymers hopes to lessen the impact the industry ultimately will have on the environment.
“We anticipate an explosion of growth with the use of the technology. Seeing how these machines operate and the consumption that's involved with the way 3-D printing works, at least at this time, it's a huge environmental footprint associated with the adoption of this technology,” Sherman said.
Galazin has a business degree, so starting his own company is not really that surprising. He also is father to a young son, Nicolas, and he even sees the potential in the business to someday have him involved.