Signify Case Study: Truly organic 3D printing material


The challenger


Based in The Netherlands, Signify is the largest lighting company in the world and global leader in conventional, LED and connected lighting systems/services. Signify uses 3D printing in order to produce a series of custom luminaires (lamp shades) in small and large quantities.




“Truly organic 3D printing material”. 

Signify was looking for a company that could produce a custom material that is bio-based, reusable, and biodegradable, which could be used to 3D print luminaires.


Solution Provider


ColorFabb is an advanced material company that offers various PHA-based building blocks to create both durable and heat-resistant biomaterials for 3D printing. They use machine learning to create iterations and have commissioned a state-of-the-art compounding line for mixing the PHA building blocks in-house.



Solution Proposed


ColorFabb has developed fully bio-based and sustainable materials for 3D printing based on PHA material, which mimics the properties of performance plastics. 


The key impacts envisioned are the use of fewer fossil-based materials, no generation of microplastics, and multiple end-of-life options (recycling, degradable). This is in compliance with the sustainable development goals: circular economy, renewable and bio-based, and avoiding pollution.


The Technology Center and its role


CHILL (Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs) provided support to ColorFabb by facilitating high-tech laboratory testing equipment.




The collaboration took place between April and October 2022. Signify enjoyed a productive collaboration with ColorFabb and the facilitation by PITCCH was a great way to facilitate the open innovation process. In hindsight, Signify called PITCCH “a well-organized Open Innovation opportunity to find solutions that you weren’t aware of”.




Good results have been achieved in the project, and the outcome is that the developed PHA formulation is close to the specification of Signify. 3D printing PHA looks promising and will be further investigated for luminaire applications.


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