Additive Manufacturing and Industrialization of reusable coffee capsules? Kimya materialises CAPS ME’s idea

As there are a lot of talks about protecting the environment, it should be noted that when it comes to coffee – which is the second most consumed drink after water – only one in five single-use capsules is recycled in France.

CAPS ME, a Nantes-based startup, aims to play its part in this fight, by encouraging consumers to use reusable coffee capsules, by simplifying their refilling process.

Conceived during the first lockdown by two students, the CAPS ME solution consists of a ground coffee receptacle fixed to a 3D printed refilling mechanism. The system enables reusable capsules to be filled with the correct dose.

As additive manufacturing is in its nature, a more sustainable manufacturing process than conventional manufacturing processes, it makes it easy to embrace this environmental protection approach. How? By 3D printing the refilling mechanism.

While the process seems simple to achieve at a prototyping level, this approach requires a team with more resources for industrialisation. That’s why CAPS ME called on KIMYA, ARMOR’s AM branch. In addition to producing materials, KIMYA provides a 360° service, which enables companies in all industries to improve their production. The latest company to benefit from its production service, and whose example has been shared publicly, is Hänssler.

Following a successful preordering campaign in late 2020, the start-up is now working with KIMYA’s know-how in this new phase of industrialization with the objective of producing an additional 6,000 refilling systems (composed of 24,000 parts).

“Additive manufacturing means that the weight of the finished product is virtually identical to the weight of the material required for its production. This is why from the start of the design phase, by processing and upcycling materials from collected waste, the environmental impact of Kimya is reduced“, explains Pierre-Antoine Pluvinage, Business Development Director at the KIMYA additive manufacturing division of the ARMOR group.

According to a press release, Kimya has not only enabled CAPS ME to achieve its target cost, but has also provided the startup with bespoke support and a flexible production process. Based on a first prototype developed by the start-up, the KIMYA team has assisted

CAPS ME in configuring the 3D files and printers. The entrepreneurs have also benefited from the vast range of 3D filaments offered by Kimya by incorporating within the refilling mechanism the Kimya PETG-S Black 3D filament, which meets the food contact standard for dry products.

Additive manufacturing guarantees us great flexibility, by enabling us to continue to move forward in iterations even during the 3D printing of the parts. Yet this flexibility is not achieved at the expense of product quality and we have benefited from Kimya’s expertise in quality control throughout the project”, explains Jean de Boisredon, co-founder of CAPS ME.

“Jean and I were determined to develop a solution with real meaning. This is why being able to rely on a production line in France was also a key criterion in our choice of partner. Printed directly in Nantes, the refilling mechanism is then assembled in the Paris region by workers with disabilities at an ESAT social inclusion establishment”, concludes Thibaut Louvet, cofounder of CAPS ME.


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