From the material
to the object
On a process going from the idea to the market, IRMA is positioned after the actors of fundamental research and applied research. It is the third entity to support projects and innovative companies in the Lorient area within a transversal sector on composite materials and the valorization in many economic sectors (aeronautics, nautical, automotive and, in the longer term, health or agri-food sectors with the valorization of co-products such as fibers or oyster shells…)
We create innovative and “custom” plastic and composite materials
Specialists in 3D printing
IRMA (Institut Régional des Matériaux Avancés) is a technical center created in 1990 and based in the Lorient basin in the heart of Sailing Valley. Irma offers high quality services in plastic and composite additive manufacturing in small series for aeronautics, yachting, packaging…
More precisely, we design innovative plastic and composite materials, manufacture, and market complex parts with “custom” formulations at the request of our customers.
We are specialized in 3D printing: parts in composite materials based on short fibers (FDM), long fibers (FDM assisted by extrusion) and continuous fibers (automated fiber placement: AFP).
We perform mechanical, chemical, biological and other tests on demand.
Passionate about engineering, our team
is agile and environmentally engaged
After a ‘handful’ of previous experiences directing interesting projects and R&D departments at large corporate groups, accompanying growing SMEs and developing a technology start-up in Lorient, I was contacted in 2020 to develop jewel of a project: IRMA. This new challenge called on all of my business management and development skills: I had to develop companies’ knowledge of the expert skills of our group and participate in the development of the territory around IRMA’s materials skills.
‘Following my training as a marine resources engineer specialised in marine biotechnology and my experience working at the Marine Biotechnology and Chemistry Laboratory (LCMB), I decided to pursue the topic of materials biodegradation.
As the person responsible for IRMA’s environmental impact pillar, I possess expertise in the fields of eco-toxicology and material biodegradation. I am currently working on multiple projects, one of which has the goal of creating French regulations in the context of the biodegradation of plastic materials in marine environments as well as their eco-toxicological effects. Moreover, I am developing an offering of services for carrying out Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analyses and evaluating the environmental impacts of materials. »
‘A chemist and polymer scientist by training, my specialty is using biotechnology to produce bacterial polyesters (polyhydroxyalcanoates or PHAs) that are bio-sourced and biodegradable. Biotechnology allows us to consider bioplastic production as a part of a circular economy by upcycling co-products rich in carbonaceous materials, such as microorganism culture substrates.
I characterise these bioplastics on the structural, physicochemical and mechanical levels in order to understand their properties and thus meet our customers’ expectations.
For example, PHAs have interesting properties in terms of cosmetics applications or for implantable medical devices (e.g. prostheses, dissolvable sutures). »
‘After studying my PhD on biopolymer ageing in marine environments at the Institut de Recherche Dupuy de Lôme, I decided to specialise in biodegradable materials. Finding a different way to design plastic materials as a function of their intended application and integrating the concept of their end of life has huge stakes for the future.
At IRMA, I mainly work on research projects and provide support for physicochemical, thermal and mechanical polymer characterisation services. In parallel, I propose studying the different ways in which materials can age, whether through accelerated ageing in a UV or climactic chamber, hydrothermal ageing or natural ageing in the marine environment… IRMA is also a partner of the European project INdIGO Interreg Projectof which I am scientific director, the goal of which is to manufacture new biodegradable fishing tools and to study their degradation in the marine environment.
‘As the holder of a Masters’ Degree in Electronics and Industrial Computing from the Université de Bretagne Sud in Lorient, I enjoy belonging to an environment that unites research and industry.
I joined IRMA in 2018 and work on additive manufacturing/3D printing, as well as occasionally on research projects and the provision of services.
Manufacturers come to us with questions about new manufacturing technologies, the innovative materials available and/or with parts that they would like to have 3D printed. My goal is to direct and accompany them in their projects from the design phase up until the creation of industrial prototypes and small series.’ »
‘I have a Master’s Degree in Polymer and Composite Eco-design from the Université de Bretagne Sud in Lorient and have decided to focus on extrusion and the formulation of polymer materials. Following my initial professional experience in the post-consumer plastic materials recycling sector, I later specialised in the development of innovative formulations for FDM/FFF 3D printing applications.
My current task at IRMA hinges on developing new pre-fabricated technical base products for additive manufacturing, as a part of collaborative projects or our R&D service, for a broad variety of fields of application. In doing so, I work with all types of plastics, from natural fibre-reinforced bio-plastics to the most advanced materials for aeronautics applications. I draw from my knowledge of twin-screw extrusion compounding, single-screw extrusion forming, 3D printing and various characterisation skills in order to best meet the needs of IRMA’s customers and partners.’
Materials & Additive Manufacturing
‘A materials engineer by training, I use 3D printing to manufacture prototypes, mock-ups and functional parts as well as to work on automated fibre placement (AFP) foil manufacturing.
I am currently in charge of the Gwalenn Du project, which aims to develop the manufacturing of fishing rods using thermoplastic filament winding in partnership with Nautix and FIIISH. It seeks to relocate the manufacture of these elements while simultaneously improving the quality and recyclability of objects. This technology could also be used in the hydrogen sector for manufacturing reservoirs.
I am also working on the development of the AFP-XS, a fibre placement robot that operates integrated with Rhino CAD software, in order to diversify IRMA’s catalogue of services.
‘As someone who is passionate about high-performance composite materials, I have been responsible for AFP (automated fibre placement) and characterisation at IRMA since 2018.
I advise our customers regarding their choice of materials as well as the manufacturing strategy required in order to comply with their desired resistance requirements. I work with technical parts applied to water sports (aerodynamic appendages for IMOCA/Ultim) or aeronautics. Moreover, we are now offering our skills to stakeholders in the hydrogen applications sector.’