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3D printing with ecological responsibility

25 Jul 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

The 3D printing technology is revolutionising the manufacturing industry but the use of plastic to make products is something which takes the sheen out of its futuristic outlook. Bringing a change and revolution in 3D printing in Oman, is a group of college girls who have produced biodegradable filaments, the raw material used in 3D printing, from marine algae. 

Seven students from Al Musanna College of Technology (ACT), who formed Plamore company more than a year ago, have shown that innovation, with a right dose of ecological responsibility, can pave the way for greater benefit not only for themselves but also for the larger society.   

The student company had won the first place in a competition held recently for technical and professional colleges to find best solutions to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. The competition, organised under the supervision of Ministry of Manpower, was launched in April this year where 26 projects from various colleges around the sultanate took part. 

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Bayan al Fuliti, sales manager at Plamore, said, “Pla in Plamore stands for the plastic that the company is removing from the environment by creating vital environment-friendly alternatives and ‘more’ stands for more life and sustainability.”

She disclosed that the Plamore team was inspired by the picturesque coasts of the Sultanate of Oman. “We feel that the beaches of Oman are a fortune that must be preserved and be free of plastic waste which distorts the beautiful beach view, harms marine life, and affects tourism negatively.”

We developed our idea from there and contacts were made in and outside Oman to launch the company.”

Plamore produces 12,000kg of eco-filaments per month and markets its product under the brand name ‘Royal Filament’. “We specialise in treating plastics with natural and environmentally-friendly alternatives, making a biodegradable product,” Bayan said.

Some of the products that can be produced by 3D printing and using eco-filaments include special face shields and masks to protect people from the coronavirus. “These masks are elaborately designed and fulfill the general controls and guidelines issued by the authorities. Also, face masks can be made for people in general.”

Talking of the challenges, Bayan said her company has not been able to receive any financial support from the competent authorities. “We did not even receive support to access adequate laboratories and had difficulty researching the product at the initial stage.”

Not one to give up easily, Bayan said that the team is focused on building a factory to produce the product and keeping pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Also, we aspire to create a clean Omani environment, free from environmental pollutions, especially an environment free of harmful plastics.”

Plamore consists of seven students from ACT, Manar al Jahwari, executive director, Iman al Thuhli, director of marketing, Bayan al Fuliti, sales manager, Rudaina al Abri, production manager, Heba al Jabri and Reem al Mazidi, directors of human resources and Marwa al Balushi, a member of the finance department.

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