Excursion to Senbis Polymer Innovations
Senbis is a small company with just over ten employees. One of the employees picked us up at the entrance of the Industry and Businesspark Emmtec. Once inside, the tour started off with a nice cup of tea and a presentation about the company. During this presentation, we learned about the increased necessity of biobased and biodegradable polymers. They make specialty polymer products and design polymers on a small scale for a specific applications, which they call Fit-For-Purpose. Examples are: filaments for 3D printers, violin strings, fishing nets and greenhouse supplies. Many start-ups were the result of their products, such as Innofil for 3D printing.
After lunch, we continued our tour through their analysis labs, where they establish the physical characteristic of the polymers. Among several analysis techniques are microscopic imaging, rheology measurements and yarn and fiber analysis. In addition, we got introduced to the storage of a large variety of filaments/yarns and the fancy extruders of the pilot plant, where they change the intrinsic structure of the bought polymers.
We ended our tour at the mechanical property department, where the final products are tested on their breaking tenacity and elongation.
In our opinion, we loved the availability of analysis equipment and 3D printers, but we certainly missed the possibility of doing synthesis. After informing, we found out that the company orders the polymers from other companies (e.g. DSM) and only changes the intrinsic structure (physical properties) of these materials. Hence, we think Senbis is a real playground for people who love polymer analysis, but is less recommended for the hard-core synthetic chemists.