Press Release: Barclays and Unreasonable Group select re:3D to receive $100,000 Grant in support of COVID-19 related work

Barclays and Unreasonable Group select re:3D to receive $100,000 Grant in support of COVID-19 related work

Barclays and Unreasonable Group launch second $1,000,000 fund for entrepreneurial solutions addressing challenges resulting from the global pandemic

September 22, 2020 – LONDON – re:3D has been awarded a $100,000 grant in recognition of the exceptional work being undertaken in addressing the immediate and long term challenges resulting from the effects of the global pandemic.
The grant is designed to support and amplify the impact of the work re:3D is doing.

The Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response initiative was launched by Barclays and Unreasonable Group earlier this year and has already supported ten Unreasonable ventures that have pivoted their businesses to combat challenges related to COVID-19.

The initiative was launched as a direct response to the outbreak of COVID19 and is an extension of Unreasonable Impact, the unique multi-year partnership between the two companies supporting growth stage entrepreneurs across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific regions solving many of the world’s most pressing issues.

re:3D was chosen by a selection committee for the meaningful work they are doing to provide PPE to workers in minority and underserved areas who are at greater risk for critical illness from COVID-19. The program, PPE for the People, is fiscally sponsored by Impact Hub Houston, and has donated 3D printed face shields, ear savers and other PPE to help protect restaurant and food pantry workers, as well as organizations and small businesses that seek to reopen safely, like barbershops, nail salons, and veterinary clinics. PPE for the People partners include: Baker Ripley, Creatorspace, West Houston Institute IDEAStudio, Leidos, McDermott, Stand Behind and 3DPPE. “We are actively seeking businesses and organizations looking for this protective equipment. Please share this opportunity with those in need,” said re:3D Community Ambassador, Charlotte Craff.

Re:3D Co-Founder and Catalyst, Samantha Snabes and Charlotte Craff will join the 12 other grantees at a virtual event, The Unreasonable Impact COVID19 Response Exclusive Summit, created with Barclays on September 29th, where they will have a chance to share re:3D’s exceptional work with a global audience.

Joe McGrath, Barclays’ Global Head of Banking, commented, “Through Unreasonable Impact we set out to offer advice, expertise, and support to entrepreneurs so that they can more quickly increase the scale and impact of their businesses. These entrepreneurs have been recognized for their ingenious approaches to tackling almost impossible-sounding challenges, especially in some of the most challenged communities across the globe. When COVID-19 took hold this year we knew that Unreasonable Impact entrepreneurs would be among the first to pivot their talent and drive towards responding to the impacts of the pandemic – and we’re in awe of the speed with which they did just that, and of the scale of the positive impact that they have already had. We’re honored to be able to extend our support through the Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response Initiative, which provided grants that will help these entrepreneurs to accelerate their work in response to the ongoing pandemic.”

Daniel Epstein, Founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group, added, “Unreasonable Impact was co-created with Barclays with a shared intention to support and scale up entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The global impact of COVID-19 is unlike any challenge any of us has seen in our lifetimes. Setting up the second COVID-Response to support and amplify even more Unreasonable ventures leveraging business to combat challenges related to the pandemic, is a natural extension of our mission. We are humbled to be supporting the exceptional work of re:3D.”

For more information and to be invited to attend the Exclusive Summit, visit https://bit.ly/3hJsIks
Full list of ventures selected:
75F: Utilizing the Internet of Things and the latest in cloud computing to create systems that predict, monitor and manage the needs of buildings
Aerofarms: Responsibly and sustainably feeding humanity by growing flavorful, safe, and healthy food in the world’s largest indoor vertical farm.
Air Protein: Using microbes to convert elements of air into a sustainable protein product
Cell-Ed: Delivering essential skills training in three-minute lessons on any mobile phone — learners simply call, text, or click to access a world of learning
Green Fuels: The world’s leading supplier of biodiesel processors, producing over 400 million liters of sustainable fuel every year in over 50 countries
LEAF: Bringing safe and hygienic fresh fruits and vegetables to the marketplace by empowering all shareholders in the agricultural value chain.
Livox: The first intelligent alternative communication software for people living with disabilities, helping 20,000 people more easily interact with others
Purpose Works: Enabling sustainability, agility and operational efficiency in global supply chains.
re:3D, Inc.: 3D-printing objects 30 times larger than competing desktop models, at a more affordable cost.
Richcore: Eliminating contamination risks and creating safer medicines with animal origin free (AOF) proteins.
Sure Chill: Disrupting the entire cooling industry with new technology that doesn’t require a constant power source, enabling refrigeration of food products, life-saving vaccines, and more.
WizeNoze: Facilitating access to an easier-to-understand internet for children, teenagers, people with a low level of literacy, immigrants, and the elderly.
Árvore Educação: Improving students’ literacy skills and understanding of local and world events through a digital reading platform

About Unreasonable Impact, created with Barclays
Unreasonable Impact is an innovative multi-year multi-geographic partnership between Barclays and Unreasonable Group to launch the world’s first global network focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands worldwide in the emerging green economy. To date, the more than 100 ventures that comprise the global cohort operate in more than 180 countries, have raised over $2.1bn USD in funding, have generated over $2bn USD in revenue, and have created more than 30,000 net new jobs since joining Unreasonable Impact. For more information, please visit www.unreasonableimpact.com

About Barclays
Barclays is a British universal bank. The company is diversified by business, by different types of customers and clients, and by geography. Barclays’ businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by their service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group.
For further information about Barclays, please visit www.home.barclays.

About Unreasonable Group
Bringing together a global network of entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and business leaders, Unreasonable acts as a catalytic platform for entrepreneurs tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges facing us today. From designing highly curated immersive programs, facilitating access to a global network of mentors to operating a private equity fund and providing advanced storytelling and media activities, Unreasonable operates at the highest intersection of business and impact. It is uniquely positioned to support growth stage entrepreneurs solving key global environment and social challenges to scale up through the deployment of knowledge, networks and capital.
For more information about Unreasonable, please visit www.unreasonablegroup.com

About re:3D
re:3D consists of a group of explorers committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. Having pioneered the world’s first and most affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D likewise is creating large scale, affordable 3D printers printing from pellets, regrind, and flake plastic waste. Beyond creating 3D printers for customers in over 50 countries, re:3D offers 3D printing contract services, consulting, design and education services. For more information on re:3D, visit www.re3d.org.

Media Contact
Contact: Charlotte Craff
charlotte@re3D.org
+1.512.730.0033 ext 2
Social: @re3Dprinting

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GBX Case Study: Coffee Picking Baskets in Puerto Rico

With the development of our Gigabot X pellet printer came our engineers’ need to trial it in different applications and settings. We settled on Sandra Farms – the coffee farm at the center of our latest story about chocolate cigar molds – as a case study to determine the practicality of using recycled plastic to create real-world, functional objects.

“Good coffee is picked by hand.” Israel Gonzalez is a second-generation coffee farmer who started Sandra Farms in the early 90’s. He explains that coffee pickers around the world are historically underpaid, typically placed at the bottom of the coffee farming ladder.

Sandra Farms is trying to break this mold.

“The main focus here is trying to use Sandra Farms as a model. We want to support an agricultural, agrarian way of life in Puerto Rico.” Domenico Celli came to the farm as part of a graduate school project with a focus on implementing sustainability practices, and several years later finds himself still working with them and more attached to their mission of specialty agriculture. “The people that we have in mind are the farm workers and families and communities here in some of the most rural and remote areas of Puerto Rico that have traditionally been dependent on agriculture as their main source of income, and culturally, their way of life.”

Sandra Farms is trying to set an example for other farms, paying their pickers two to three times the average in Puerto Rico. Says Celli, “That is because above all, we are committed to making this a viable way of life for these people and their families.”

The basket opportunity

In working with Gonzalez and Celli on their chocolate cigar mold concept, a potential case study opportunity for Gigabot X presented itself.

“Most agricultural workers in Puerto Rico traditionally are the forgotten people here, and that’s reinforced through what they use to pick coffee with,” explains Celli, “which is mostly just fertilizer bags, or really uncomfortable, five-gallon buckets that are not at all made for coffee picking.”

“The five-gallon plastic bucket…” Gonzalez shows one off that has been strung with a simple rope handle. “It’s functional, it works, cheap – but not ideal, not ergonomic.”

Our local team in Puerto Rico took the opportunity to investigate 3D printed solutions that could provide a superior substitute for the farm’s pickers, with the ultimate goal of using Gigabot X to print a design using recycled plastic.

The choice of an application in Puerto Rico was no accident. Gigabot X has the ability to print from pelletized plastic as well as recycled plastic regrind; our team saw immense potential for a machine that could create a closed-loop system on an island, using waste as input material to create functional objects that may be expensive to import.

“Unfortunately, our recycling systems here in Puerto Rico are very outdated, not very efficient, and in reality, not much – if anything at all – is recycled,” says Celli. “A much better alternative would be able to actually have a way to repurpose and use that waste, and know that it’s going to some sort of practical application.”

The design process

Our San Juan-based designer Alessandra Montaño began the process with a CAD sketch. “The design process was very interactive,” she recounts.

Over the course of the project, she visited the farm four times, working with Gonzalez in person and talking directly with workers trialing the design in the fields. “I did one prototype, sent it to them, they made some changes like widening the design, changing the height of the basket…”

re:3D Mechanical Engineer Helen Little describes the trial and error process of testing, and the balance of modifying the basket design for the specific application while understanding the unique nature of a pellet printer. “We wanted to focus on quick production and cheaper cost-per-unit, so we chose to use a larger nozzle,” Little explains. “But there are many issues that come with that: a lot of oozing, lower quality prints…So we had to do a lot of optimization of print settings to get a higher-quality print.”

Little decided to experiment with printing in vase mode, which involves extruding in a continuous stream rather than a lot of stopping points where the nozzle has the opportunity to ooze plastic. “For that, we had to actually redesign the part itself so that the perimeter was only one layer thick,” she says.

Together, Little and Montaño incorporated user feedback from Sandra Farms into incremental tweaks to the design and new prototypes. They increased the basket depth to allow for a larger haul to be carried at one time, refined the shape to better hug the wearer’s waist, and added a brim to which a picker could attach shoulder straps.

“The way that a part is designed and printed has a huge effect on how long it takes to print, how much material it is, and at the end of the day, the bottom line for the cost,” explains Little. “I think it’s really important to get these real-world case studies and get that user feedback so that we can assess how viable of a solution this is for them and how much we can help improve over the current solution they’re using, using Gigabot X, 3D printing, and recycled materials.”

By the culmination of the testing process there had been twelve iterations of the basket, with the final design clocking in at around three and a half hours of print time.

Putting it to the test in the field

The crescent moon design on which they settled curves around the front of the waist, with a wide profile so a picker’s hands don’t have to travel far to drop in coffee cherries. It’s manageable enough to strap over one’s shoulders and carry through the field, yet sturdy enough to haul over fifteen pounds of coffee.

“We had wondered whether they could take the beating on the job, at the farm. ‘Can the bottom hold?’” Gonzalez initially pondered. “Yeah, they do,” he smiles. “Very well.”

Explains Celli, “The way that we designed them with re:3D was so that the opening would be wide so that a picker going through the field on uneven terrain is able to quickly pick coffee and kind of dump it into the bucket without it falling.”

He recounts the difficulties that came with the old-school fertilizer sack picking method. “It’s hard to keep it open with one hand, put coffee into it in the other, and then be efficient in a day where you’re trying to optimize how quickly you can get through the fields.” Seasonal coffee pickers, Celli explains, are paid by the pound. A vessel that allows for faster picking and movement through a field – not to mention fewer coffee cherries dropped – equals more money in a picker’s pocket. 

The comfort of having the basket contour to the hip is an obvious added bonus, Celli continues, allowing workers to pick more comfortably and later into the day.

There were more unforeseen positives of the custom basket design which Gonzalez and Celli didn’t fully comprehend before embarking on the project with re:3D.

“The reaction of such joy and excitement from the coffee pickers seeing these baskets that were actually made for them and thoughtfully designed to be comfortable for them was amazing to see,” recounts Celli.

The impact on the pickers’ morale was an unexpected and uplifting side effect of the project for both Celli and Gonzalez. They seemed unaccustomed and touched to be the focus of a project with a specific goal of creating a product to make their job easier and more comfortable.

The joy in the fields was visibly apparent, with pickers jockeying to get a chance with the new baskets: a promising sign for both the basket project and Sandra Farms’ own internal case study of running a sustainable, ethical farm prioritizing workers’ livelihoods.

In the meantime, both Gigabot X research and Sandra Farms’ exploration into sustainability continues. 

This project was made possible thanks to the support of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust and the National Science Foundation, who helped fund our research into Gigabot X.

Designing Chocolate Molds for a Puerto Rican Farm

Nestled in the green mountains of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico – about a two hour, winding drive from San Juan – is a boutique coffee grower by the name of Sandra Farms.

Owner Israel Gonzalez grew up on a coffee farm in Oriente, Cuba, a childhood that greatly influenced his ambition to carry on the tradition. At 15 years of age he moved to New York City. The next several decades in the States were spent completing undergrad and grad school, meeting his future wife and farm namesake, Sandra, and starting a family. Throughout, the dream of a farm remained, a plan that was ultimately put into action in Puerto Rico in the early ‘90s.

The setting is idyllic. “It is beautiful, I know,” Gonzalez muses. “But you know, some people don’t like living out here. They’d rather have Fifth Avenue – which is wonderful, I love Manhattan – but I’d rather be here, of course.”

It was nearly three years ago that re:3D cofounder Samantha Snabes met Gonzalez on a tour of the farm. The topic of 3D printing arose. Perhaps there was an opportunity to print some tools for use in their line of work?

Sandra Farms would later serve as a test kitchen for proof-of-concept work using recycled plastic to create functional tools on the new pellet printer, Gigabot X. There was also a second opportunity that Gonzalez saw for 3D printing on the farm.

In addition to acres of coffee, Sandra Farms boasts a collection of other crops, including citrus, turmeric, and cacao. With their chocolatier Bajari in Mayagüez, they created a line of chocolate products – among them, cigar-shaped chocolates. The path to create the lifelike, cylindrical cigars Gonzalez envisioned, however, proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

“We had searched – both myself and the chocolatier – all over online, everywhere, and we never had found a totally cylindrical mold,” says Gonzalez.

Sandra Farms employee Domenico Celli echoes this challenge. “There wasn’t really any solution that we could easily find out there, especially for a relatively small scale production like we have.” Their method in the interim was imperfect: a mold fashioned from a piece of ½” PVC pipe. Says Celli, “It wasn’t very practical, it was a pain to use, you could only do a few at a time.”

The band-aid solution worked in the beginning when they were only making a few pieces at a time for themselves or gifts. Celli continues, “But now that they’re trying to gradually increase their production they weren’t able to scale the way that they had wanted to with that product, because our chocolatier was not able to pump out what we needed with the molds that we had.”

When Gonzalez and Snabes met, a lightbulb went off for him. “I said, ‘Ah, 3D printing might save the day.’ Bingo.”

In conjunction with re:3D designer Alessandra Montaño, they worked on the design of a cylindrical mold into which molten chocolate could be poured, and then snapped apart to remove the chocolate pieces once hardened. Gigabot was used to 3D print prototypes as they refined the features.

“Designing cigar molds are not that complicated – cigars are just a cylinder shape,” explains Montaño. “So, instead of focusing on that aspect of the design, I was focusing on how to make this practical for them.”

As a small, boutique coffee farm, their needs weren’t dramatic – they were just starting out with this idea and interested in producing batch quantities in the dozens or low hundreds, not thousands.

“They aren’t making a million chocolate cigars,” says Montaño. “I wanted to design something that they could use to scale up, if they wanted to. So, the interesting part of the design is that it’s modular, and you can just keep adding more modules as you go.”

The design is simple to use: new rows of the mold simply snap in place next to the previous sections. This will allow the farm to start small and increase their capabilities as demand grows, keeping any initial investment small as they gauge interest.

“As we continue to expand, we can literally just add more units to that and increase production without having to build a whole new way of doing things,” says Celli. “We are very excited to work on this mold with re:3D, and so far we’ve been able to start increasing our production and getting it out there into the market.”

The out-of-the-ordinary setting for such 21st century technology is not lost on the Sandra Farms team. “I think obviously all over the world, 3D printing is really becoming more mainstream, and people are starting to fully realize the potential on all different types of industries,” says Celli. “Here in Puerto Rico, on a coffee and cacao farm, it’s amazing to see how many different applications that there are in such an unlikely place.”

* Disclaimer: The 3D prints used in this application were for prototyping and testing purposes. Experts recommend proper material use and post-processing when creating 3D prints for use in direct food-contact applications. Please see Formlabs’ Essential Guide to Food Safe 3D Printing for guidance: https://formlabs.com/blog/guide-to-food-safe-3d-printing/