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Made in Austria Made in Austria

Local production, green energy and zero emissions

Neubau eyewear production patrik 16x9

Made in Austria

Since 1964, our family-owned parent company, Silhouette International, has proudly produced its eyewear in our home country Austria, in the heart of Europe. This gives us direct control over the production processes we use, so that we can be assured of their minimal environmental impact. Since Austria is home to some of the strictest environmental protection regulations in the world, it is a perfect location for promoting our sustainable production practices.

100% renewable energy

Sustainable production all begins with emissions-free, sustainable, 100% renewable electricity! Our headquarters in Austria is supplied with renewable energy and our production facilities in the Czech Republic also runs on 100% renewable energy, fueled by a combination of solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and biogas. Our buildings in Austria are climate-controlled using environmentally friendly district heating. This conserves waste heat flow for heating purposes.

Neubau sustainability solar panel Smartflower

Water conservation

Our headquarter is located within a national water conservation area. Every day, the wastewater from our production is carefully analyzed. The pH value, temperature and volume of wastewater output are all continually monitored. Austria has some of the strictest wastewater regulations in the world. The 10 – 20% of our wastewater that exceeds legal pollution limits is treated in-house to filter out pollutants and make it safe for water treatment. 104,000 liters of water are reprocessed each day inside the water conservation area where we are located.

Water image

Emissions purification

Our headquarter is situated in a densely populated residential area. We feel an obligation towards our neighbors to minimize noise and air pollution from our production facilities. We use sophisticated filtration technologies to purify exhaust air, removing 97% of pollutants. The exhaust gas purification at our headquarters far exceeds the legal requirements for emissions reduction, resulting in nearly zero emissions!

Neubau silhouette headquarter production

Our production methods

To achieve our sustainability goals, we take every measure possible to reduce the environmental impact of our production practices. Apart from using energy from clean sources only, filtering air pollutants and conserving water, this also means pushing things forward when it comes to new production technologies and sustainable materials. 

3D printing with natural3D

In simple terms, our 3D printing process involves sintering layers of powdered plastic into a solid structure. This is known as SLS (selective laser sintering). Sintering” is the process of forming a solid shape by heat without melting it to the point of liquefaction. The SLS process is carried out in the 3 steps: Heating, Printing and Cooling.

Find out more about natural3D and our 3D printing prozess by watching our video:

Surface treatment of natural3D

The parts have an opaque white finish when they come out of the printer. They have to undergo surface treatment before they can be color treated. A sand blasting process is used to remove any residues of the polyamide powder. This step is carefully executed to prevent any surface damage. The surface is then polished ready for the coloration process.

The coloring process for 3D printed frames

Our high-tech coloring process is a well-guarded company secret. We only produce parts in monochrome shades at the moment, but we are continually developing new and innovative color options. The colors are resistant to natural chemicals (such as sweat), UV light and any type of solvent, normally used by opticians.

Sustainable aspects of 3D printing

3D printing is much greener than traditional manufacturing methods which are used to produce acetate frames. It is especially sustainable because it only uses the material it needs during the sintering process. This results in an exceptionally efficient, zero-waste manufacturing solution.

A significant proportion of the natural3D material used in the printing process can be recycled. After each batch has been printed, 50% of the residue powder can be mixed with new powder to create a new batch of products or printing filaments. This production method does not require any extra tools, so it also saves on resources.

Neubau production 3 D printing2

Our 3D printing recycling process

The ethos of circularity in manufacturing drives all our decisions and is why we introduced our closed-loop 3D manufacturing process at the beginning of 2019. Circularity is achieved by recycling residue polyamide in our production process and by ensuring waste we are unable to use can be used in other applications. 

During every printing process, a rectangular box is completely filled with powder. Not all of the powder is melted during the 3D printing process and is defined as used” powder. This can be mixed with new powder and reused to produce a new batch of components. The mixture cannot contain more than 50% used powder.

Once the old powder is no longer usable, it is collected by a specialist plastics processing company which ensures that the old powder is properly recycled within environmental management guidelines. As long as the material is free of any traces of oxidation and contamination, it can be recycled in any production process that does not specifically require 100% virgin products. The manufacturer of our 3D printer covers the transport costs and acts as an intermediary between us and the recycling company. The money is used to fund social initiatives as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility program.

Neubau production 3 D printing

Injection molding with naturalPX

For our naturalPX material we have developed an extremely fast injection molding process which takes approximately 1 minute for every frame. This high speed injection molding method controls the flow of naturalPX more precisely as it enters the mold which makes the process more efficient and prevents unnecessary waste. More than 90% of the material that is used is processed to produce a new frame. Any small amounts of excess naturalPX that escape can be recycled. 400 frames can be produced by each injection molding machine every day, making this a highly efficient and sustainable manufacturing process.

Neubau production natural PX granulate

Our coloring process

We have spent many years developing sophisticated production methods to produce attractive colored spectacle frames. Two methods are used to produce our collections of vibrant or subtly shaded eyewear. Color can be added to the naturalPX material before it runs through the injection molding process, or additional color can be added after this process through air brushing, dip dying, digital printing and other processes which are well guarded trade secrets.

Neubau production natural PX color powder web
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