Ecozema® products are made from a wide range of materials. Therefore, also production technologies are quite diverse among each other.
Injection molding: thanks to this process, it is possible to transform biopolymers like Mater-Bi® and Ingeo™ P.L.A., into complex manufactured products with a minimum thickness slightly below 1 mm. Firstly, the polymer is melted and then injected into a mold. Then, after the material has been cooled, the mold can be opened and the product extracted from it, generally without any further interventions.
Pros: high dimensional precision, it is possible to create products with complex shapes, fair productivity.
Cons: high initial investment cost (mold), it is not possible to work with quite thin biopolymers.
This is the technology used to make Ecozema® cutlery.
Thermoforming: first, the polymer is extruded into a sheet which then is vacuum-formed into a mold, heated at high temperature in order to stretch it and shape it as desired. Based on the machine, the product is separated from the sheet either in a single step during the forming or a second step. Thanks to stretching, the material can become very thin, up to a 1/10 mm.
Pros: high productivity, light products thanks to obtainable low thicknesses.
Cons: high initial investment cost (mold).
Molded fiber: with this process, cellulose fibers are mixed with water resulting in a pulp, where additives may be added. The mix is subsequently inserted into a mold where it is shaped. At this stage, the piece is still full of humidity so it is moved onto another mold where it is dried and trimmed.