Working in an ‘igloo’ printed from PET waste

3 March 2021
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The first 3D-printed workspace has been put into use in the Grofsmederij (forging works) on the RDM site in Rotterdam. The workspace was printed in De Werkplaats at M4H using PET waste from industry based in the port and beyond. The so-called R-IGLO was commissioned by Royal3D and designed by the ArchiTech Company. Together with local entrepreneurs, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is looking for sustainable developments. The R-IGLO is a great example of this.


This sustainable property solution is named R-IGLO due to its distinctive and instantly recognisable appearance. The letter R stands for Reusable, Recycled, Rotterdam and Royal3D. The ArchiTech Company designed the shape and distinctive pattern. The structure consists of adaptable elements of different sizes. Its modular character means the individual sections are easy to transport and assemble, which also makes them easy to dismantle and store.

3D Printer

The R-IGLO is printed from recycled PETG material from the port of Rotterdam, reinforced with 30% fibreglass. Using Royal3D’s Continuous Fibre Additive Manufacturing (CFAM) printer in De Werkplaats in M4H, printing can be carried out on an industrial scale. The machine prints at least 15 kg per hour and can print objects measuring up to 4 x 2 x 1.5 metres. CFAM allows fibre to be added continuously to the print material, significantly increasing its structural strength and stiffness.

Future of innovative property

The R-IGLO is a Port of Rotterdam Authority pilot project that is now being implemented and tested in the Grofsmederij on the RDM site in Rotterdam. In its management capacity, The Port of Rotterdam Authority is responsible for all property at RDM. Property Manager Ria Hoogendoorn: ‘The Port of Rotterdam Authority values the promotion of sustainability and innovation in the property sector. That is why we are working with entrepreneurs from the Rotterdam Makers District. They are working on innovations for a sustainable future. When I was asked to find a solution for a heated workspace inside a large port warehouse, I was eager to use the opportunity to set up a pilot project for a circular and locally sourced solution.’

Rotterdam Makers District

The Rotterdam Makers District is made up of M4H Rotterdam and RDM Rotterdam. The Rotterdam Makers District hosts entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions working on inventions for the new economy. Start-ups are given the chance to expand and become established organisations. It is where young people are introduced to technology. New, occasionally serendipitous partnerships can create innovative technologies that can be tested and applied on site. The area acts as the incubator, testing ground and shop window for the new economy for the entire region. Collectivity forms the basis for circularity: knowledge, space and flows are shared in physical and digital networks.