ProtoCAM: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping.

Green Manufacturing Program

February 20, 2015

ProtoCAM engages in green manufacturing using a more environmentally friendly, renewable material to replace packing peanuts – Expandos.

If you’ve not yet received a shipment from us with them, below is a brief run-down of some of the key qualities driving the change. Primarily, it squarely addresses the fundamental principals of environmental friendliness: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Similar to how items arrive from Ikea, Expandos are sent to us flat, then built into its final state in our office. It comes in 8″x12″x19″ bundles (think breadbox) and expands to 25 cubic feet (think refrigerator). In addition to reducing the frequency of inbound packaging material shipments, we’re able to store weeks of supplies in a much smaller space.

Expandos1By virtue of their triangular shape and jagged edges, the individual pieces lock to one another to hold parts in place, and they are much more resistant to crushing than peanuts. The result? Heavier items, rather than sifting to the bottom of a box during shipping in peanuts, the parts are suspended exactly where they are packed. For many items, this allows us to safely protect parts without the extra time and material needed to cut-to-fit foam packaging specific to an individual part. For our customers, this means less waste, and greater flexibility to reuse the packaging material we send.


Customers can enjoy some of the same benefits we’ve enjoyed as they re-use the packing materials for their own outbound shipments. Of course, that can be done with other packaging as well, and while we no longer purchase any packing peanuts, we do continue to reuse those sent to us rather than sending them to landfills.


Not only are Expandos made from recycled materials, they are extremely easy to recycle yet again. For customers who do no shipping or can’t reuse them for some reason, the packing materials can go right into the recycle bin. They’re made from essentially a heavy card-stock which can be recycled along with the paper in most offices.

A Positive Response

Customers have sent along positive feedback such as:expandos2

  • “By the way, the new packing material is cool stuff.”
  • “The packing material is interesting. Have not seen it before.”
  • “It is nice because it does not stick to the items or myself.”
  • “No objections to it at all. Seems to do the job just fine.”
  • “Not as messy.”

The ProtoCAM team, like our customers, love that Expandos don’t blow around like packing peanuts, and we no longer have to worry about annoying static cling! We get no benefit from touting the virtues of the new packing material, but both our customers and our own team members have enjoyed important benefits from switching. ProtoCAM is pleased to be able to deliver parts and prototypes in a way that is more secure, more convenient AND more environmentally friendly.