How do you quickly and easily convert recycled plastic into large, usable objects? 10XL, a startup specialized in extra large 3D printing, makes this their mission. We spoke with Linda van Hal, Chief Commercial Officer of the company. She and 10XL participated in the Startup in Residence challenge “Circular” that was issued by the Province of South Holland last year. Linda says: “The cooperation with the province simply makes your company mature faster. It has really made us stronger and better.”
10XL prints mainly furniture and maritime objects sized up to 6x2x1.5 meters.
These big items are printed from recycled plastic. What 10XL prints varies from prototypes, analysis models, to functional objects. They are also very efficient in producing bigger series of products. For example: for the Province of South Holland they printed more than 100 bicycle path benches. These benches are all the same, but differ in color.
Passion for sustainable technology
10XL was founded by Gerbert Smits, Joep Grapperhaus and Linda van Hal. Before starting 10XL the three worked together in another company named Virtech, in which they did 3D animation, 3D visualization and 3D scale models of ships. They already did 3D prints back then but these only went up to a maximum length of two meters. In 2015 they were asked to 3D print the ships 10 times larger. That is how the name 10XL came about. To build these large models quickly thick layers of filament are printed with a robot arm on a moving work bed and after the surface is smoothed with a sanding robot.
A productive collaboration with the Province of South Holland
The circular challenge of Startup in Residence Zuid-Holland: “how can you turn waste into beautiful new products?” was a great challenge for 10XL, as the company already had some experience with producing products from plastic waste: “We immediately thought: we want to participate and we want to be able to do this! With the province as our client, we can accelerate the maturity of our company and processes”.
The 10XL team found the communication with officials involved in the project very pleasant: “Because this was a new kind of project for us we had to take a step by step approach. Learning as time went on, but the province officials turned out to be flexible and entrepreneurial. Due to this, the entire project was able to run very smoothly. Once we received the details of the assignment we could get started very easily. In addition, during SIR, we had access to a private work space in the building of the provincial government so if we needed to talk to someone from the province, we could literally just swing by!”
How having a network makes your business stronger
By linking different startups to each other Startup in Residence created a dynamic network in which young companies can help and support each other. Linda: “We were in regular contact with other startups that are active within the same working area. These were often more mature startups that also had very specific projects. This allowed us to support each other in the execution of assignments.”
A kickstart from the province.
Linda looks back at her time with Startup in Residence as an energetic, educational and fun experience. And in addition, it was precisely the impulse her company needed: “A major assignment from the province, who is also willing to support you in the developing process, is a very good incentive to get your business processes in order. It has really made us stronger and better. We also learned a lot by just getting started. Since then we have gone from three employees to 10 employees, so we have made enormous growth with our company!”
Register and participate!
Are you part of a startup with innovating ideas and do you want to participate in a SIR challenge? The registration of the next program will start in November! Keep an eye on our socials for new challenges.