Friedrichshafen, Germany — The Positive Plastics team — the three material experts behind the Positive Plastics initiative launched two years ago at Fakuma 2021 — returned with its third sample kit in 2023. For the first time, this year's offering includes a Positive Surfaces kit, developed in collaboration with France-based Roctool.
The idea behind Positive Plastics, said founders Efrat Friedland, Erik Moth-Müller and Markus Paloheimo — all consultants and educators in the materials and polymers field — was to create a source that designers and engineers could go to for reliable, trusted information about alternatives to virgin, fossil-based plastics.
They called it Positive Plastics to counteract the negativity surrounding the image and use of plastics. By underscoring the beneficial aspects of these materials, they also sought to promote a greater acceptance of their use.
The initiative has been a success. That first kit, refreshed and replenished with innovative plastics, made way for the launch of the second kit at K 2022 in Düsseldorf, and the third kit was shown at the booths of various participating manufacturers at Fakuma 2023.
A new element has been added, a kit called Positive Surfaces, designed by Paloheimo in partnership with Roctool, a heat and cool induction technology and manufacturing solutions provider.
Roctool's technology enables processors to achieve high-quality textures and surface finishes in injection molding products, including in recycled plastics.
Roctool CEO Mathieu Boulanger understood and supported the concept of the Positive Plastics kits and reached out to the team with an offer to create a combined kit for the new edition.
"I simply love the idea behind Positive Plastics. The kit is an excellent tool for any designer who wants to create more sustainable products," he said. "But I firmly believe that the material is not the only parameter to consider. What about the process? How far can we increase the perceived quality of those materials? How can we improve the look and feel of recycled materials without having to coat them? I was missing this perspective, so I offered Positive Plastics to collaborate and investigate this direction."
The result of the collaboration between the two is a new sample that displays different surface qualities and textures alongside several mechanical properties.
Group Pernoud performed the mold modifications while Oerlikon Balzers provided the hot runners.
The materials in the new Positive Surfaces kit are all 100 percent post-consumer, mechanically recycled grades: polypropylene, PET, ABS, polycarbonate/ABS and ABS reinforced with glass fiber.
"We are thrilled to equip designers with additional know-how and tools to create beautiful and circular products," said Friedland. "Roctool is a proven molding technology that has existed for years. It enables the creation of advanced surfaces, from ultra-gloss finishes to very low matte levels. Aside from aesthetic advantages, brands also have a chance to eliminate secondary processes and, as a result, reduce production costs. The induction process improves the overall process, with defects elimination, flow improvement and, depending on the resin grade, cycle time reduction. This is a real chance to bring recyclates to light and boost consumer adoption."
Positive Plastics will send a complimentary kit to 10 brands and design agencies, as they did with previous kits, to encourage an informed selection of materials and surfaces.
The latest kits will shortly be available for purchase online.