In today's edition, meet Laura Geoffroy.
Science driven as she is, it only made sense for Laura to join the 4D Pioneers team as a doctor in the organic materials division. She will take on the challenge of developing new printable materials to offer innovative, effective and cost-saving solutions to customers. Read her interview to find out how she plans to contribute to a much-needed transformation of current non-environmentally-friendly industrial practices.
1. Laura, why additive manufacturing? What does it represent to you and what solutions does it bring in today’s times?
During my thesis, I discovered the exciting world of 3D printing. I essentially focused my research on the design of new fire protective materials. At the time, additive manufacturing had emerged as a suitable solution and I was introduced to the numerous advantages of this technique. For instance, since it is a layer by layer process, this not only saves material, but it also reduces waste, as only the exact amount of material needed is used. Also, perhaps contrary to popular belief, I found that it is in reality a cost-saving solution, mainly due to the reduction of tools used, as well as the storage costs in warehouses, which are very high.
To me, it represents a solution with little to no limits. Even though it is challenging to control the technique accurately, theoretically, anything is possible through additive manufacturing. Of course, this is easier said than done. In practice, you will be faced with barriers, but all in all, you can be very free in terms of design. A new and improved piece can be elaborated quickly and efficiently with 3D printing processes.
Ultimately, I think that by changing our ways of thinking we can conceive new innovative solutions that lead to the alleviation of current complex structures.
2. What motivated you to join the 4D Pioneers team and how is this opportunity a unique one for you?
My first motivation to join the team was curiosity. I had the opportunity through previous experiences to work for large industrial groups as well as in a research laboratory. The start-up environment really sparked my interest and I was keen on discovering it. Also, since it is a newly-founded company, joining the adventure from the very beginning made it a particularly unique opportunity for me. I am excited to someday look back on the evolution of 4D Pioneers and see how I have contributed to it. Two important criteria for me were versatility and autonomy. I think both of those things go hand-in-hand with start-ups and their business mindset. Finally, on a purely scientific level, I have known without doubt since my thesis that I want to continue in the 3D printing field. All of these factors made it the perfect opportunity for me to seize on many different levels.
3. Can you please describe your new role at 4D Pioneers and what your main projects will be?
I have joined as a PhD for the organic materials division. More precisely, I am responsible for developing new functional materials suited to the industrial use of additive manufacturing to keep offering innovative solutions to the customer. As an example, I am working on new flame retardant printable materials that answer railway standards while keeping the costs to a minimum. The current widely used solutions are very expensive and we would like to find new ones at a lower cost for the customer.
Within the scope of my role is also setting up and monitoring academic research projects. We have recently joined the competitiveness hub i-TRANS, which was definitely an accomplishment for us. We are looking forward to exchanging with key players from the railway industry. We are looking to transform different industries by developing materials that will contribute to fighting obsolescence and reducing costs.
4. What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
As a researcher, I would like to elaborate innovative, high-performance materials and durable solutions to offer a large range of materials that answer to a high number of industrial problems. This would really move things forward.
As an employee, I hope to acquire new multi-tasking and project management skills to ensure that our activities run as smoothly as possible and that I involve all stakeholders. I think this goes through a strong, steady and transparent communication.
As a person, I want to continuously grow and learn and go to bed feeling my work and research has some kind of positive impact on this planet.
5. When you’re not at work, what are you most likely doing?
I love travelling. I know that with the current health crisis it is not an option but this makes me long for it even more and I really look forward to future trips. I think we will all be even more appreciative of our travels when it is an option again. My dream is to discover Vietnam and Thailand. I hope I can treat myself to a nice trip sometime in the (not too far) future.