12 - 14 Nov 2024

Be inspired by the sustainable materials of the future at Subcontractor InnoDex

Be inspired by the sustainable materials of the future at Subcontractor InnoDex
Leather-like material made of kombucha. Rooftop boxes made of hemp fibre. Or foam made of 100% mycelium. At the Subcontractor InnoDex inspiration arena, you will find unique materials and amazing designs that lay the foundation for the product development of the future.

The products of the future will be made from the materials of today. That may sound like an exaggeration, but there’s a lot of truth to it. After all, the material generally exists before the product, and is essentially just waiting to be used.

  These materials – which will become the products of the future – can be found at Subcontractor InnoDex. Also to be found here are the innovations, designs and prototypes that will be everywhere, every day in the future. For a little extra inspiration, why not sign up for one of the new Material Walks? It’s a guided tour through the materials of the future with material guru Dr. Sascha Peters.


The Material Walks are a new initiative at Subcontractor InnoDex. They provide a guided tour of the materials of the future, with material guru Dr. Sascha Peters.

  “It’s fascinating to see how much is happening in product development, and exciting to see what there is in areas such as lightweight and circular materials. Particularly interesting for me were the pressed wood boards with the same properties as tropical woods, but without any climate impact. I can see it having all kinds of potential applications, mainly in the furniture industry,” says Lucas Tengvall, product developer, who took part in the Tuesday Material Walk on the theme of Circular Materials for Future Mobility and Design.

Sustainable materials in focus

The unique wood material Lucas Tengvall is referring to was developed by Swiss Wood Solutions of Altdorf, and is just one of many materials at Subcontractor InnoDex that focus on sustainability. There is also a foam made completely from fungus mycelium, and a 3D-printed bicycle made of recycled aluminium that weighs just two kilograms.

  Also, at Subcontractor InnoDex, PaperShell is showing its composite material of natural fibre which can replace moulded veneer, plastic details, fibre composites, and even metal injection moulding – something that’s particularly useful for vehicle interiors.

“As a technical designer, I see great potential in the new materials. They may seem exotic today, but there’s also a need for them on the market, as is evident from a vehicle manufacturer at the arena showing their sustainable material choices. What’s needed now is greater awareness of the technique, and a willingness to pay for what it costs,” says technical designer Marcus Bilgec, who found much to interest him at Subcontractor InnoDex.


Marcus Bilgec, centre, took part in a Material Walk – a guided tour of all the materials at Subcontractor InnoDex.

Inspiring talks every day

This year, Subcontractor InnoDex has four focus areas running through the exhibition, the stage programme and the Material Walks. The four areas are Materials for Green Energy, Circular Materials for Future Mobility and Design, Additive High-Tech Applications, and Smart and Digital Materials.

  The daily talks provide a deeper understanding of some of the materials and innovations being presented at Subcontractor InnoDex. The entire arena essentially asks one overriding question: how can traditional materials be replaced and complemented by sustainable alternatives?

  Subcontractor InnoDex is where you’ll find the answers – whether it’s a 3D-printed boat made of recycled plastic, stretchable electronics for vehicle dashboards, or a biodegradable paper battery from Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.


Gustav Nyström, Head of Department for the Cellulose & Wood Materials Lab at Empa, gave a talk at Subcontractor InnoDex on the biodegradable paper battery on show at the arena.

  “It’s great to be at Subcontractor InnoDex and see all the excellent innovations. I’ve also been walking round talking to several exhibiting companies, and it’s nice to see such a huge interest in sustainability. There’s a lot of talk about new sustainable materials and biobased polymers, and I hope that we at Empa can inspire and help to accelerate the developments,” says Gustav Nyström, Head of Department for the Cellulose & Wood Materials Lab at Empa.

Bicycle: One of the highlights at Subcontractor InnoDex is the 3D-printed bicycle made of recycled aluminium, which weighs just two kilograms.