TechBlick 25 - Sebastian [EN]

Okay. My name is Jos and I’m working on research in circular economy and automotive sector. And I would like to know your point of view. If you accept, I’m going to record our conversation, transcribe it and put the transcription with a pseudonym, not your real name. Up in a repository of text documents that will be used for the research. If we do this and use change your mind and no longer want to participate, get in touch with us and we will immediately remove your interview from the repository. I’m leaving you an information sheet with contact information and please tell me your name and if you agree.

Sebastian. Fritz. I agree.

Thank you very much. Sebastian. So now the the first questions. Could you tell me a bit about your educational and professional background and interests?

My background is I have a law degree, worked management consulting for a couple of years. A lot of supply chain operation stuff. Joined the additive manufacturing industry about ten years ago. Was a very early employee of a company called Formlabs. So very early on in 3D, 3D printing space, um, build out the whole service reseller sector and supply chain and also logistics, and then worked for a year and a half for a company called Grover that does a full on circular economy, does technology rentals. And I’m now running the commercial team here at Quantica. It’s another 3D printing company that developed a new kind of print head to enable on demand production of printed, printed electronics.

And what is your area of expertise?

Mostly customer experience, service and also technology adoption.

The theme of this conference is The Future of Electronics Reshaped. What does the idea of reshaping electronics for the future mean to you?

For us, it’s being able to produce things in a way they weren’t. People weren’t able to before. So meaning on demand printing of circuit boards, for example, in different shapes and different angles in a way that’s more sustainable. So, for example, producing PCB boards is one of the most environmentally hazardous things there is because a lot of etching and and acids involved. And without technology you can now print things on demand. Without that the toxicity.

What do you think is the relationship between electronics and sustainability?

They are obviously quite interconnected these days. Producing or mass production of electronics is a big factor in in waste production, right? The service overproduced. We believe that with our technology, it’s we’re able to cut down those that waste by producing only what you need basically and shapes that you only need. So they’re interconnected. And it’s a big responsibility of the electronics industry to cut down on global waste.

Could you define a circular economy in your own words? What is it?

I think there are probably two aspects of things. One is just the extending the lifetime of products and reusing them. So like thinking, like getting out of this whole plant obsolescence in the electronics space and and finding ways to like recirculate items. So let me give you an example. Like like a lot of. Developers need a new computer every year because they think they need more processing power and whatnot. Right. But usually those computers end up in tech companies closets and are not being used anymore. So if you find avenues to either get them back into the market or get them into schools or anything like that that can be used, then that is one side that’s very circular, right? And the other one is actually being able to recycle items and reusing components in different ways to also re re like put them back in the, in the, in the circle of production.

Do you participate in a circular economy yourself in any aspect of your life?

Um, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it starts from just. Buying single use plastic items, for example, all of my, my water comes in reusable containers. And that’s that’s a very easy example. But I also have a few tech products that I’m renting. I’m not I’m not I haven’t purchased because I don’t need to buy a GoPro to go snowboarding. Like I just use that. And once I use it and I give it back and the next person can use it. So there’s a couple items. My car as well. It’s I have a car subscription, so I’m subscribing to my car and like if I don’t need any more, I’ll give it back. Same thing for my scooter.

Uh, do you think electronics can play a role in making the car industry more circular?

Um. I’d. I’d say that. I mean, the question is, like what? Like what is circular in the car industry, right? I think there’s ways of making things more modular and being able to upgrade things so they extend the lifetime. But there are also I think there also is a high risk on the electronics, on the car space that basically you’re getting into, let’s say, what the iPhone of cars is like. You need like every, every year to upgrade things. So I have this like tick tock mechanism. So I think there we have to tread very carefully not to like run like always have the greatest gurus and greatest thing, but also making things more modular to extend the lifetime and being able to upgrade things more easily to be on the newest, to have the newest version of of things. So, um, yeah, there’s it’s a, it’s a risk and a chance. An opportunity.

What can the automotive industry do to promote circular economy, in your opinion?

Um, yeah. Exactly what I basically what I said, I think making making things upgradable and modular, being able to like, give you a car back and the next one uses that without having that car to be like recycled or trashed. So I think there’s, um, pushing the environmental. Factor of owning a car and being able to offer, like offering a way to basically return the car and like and get into this whole habit of not maybe, probably not owning one anymore, but offering basic car on demand. So there’s I think there’s there there were big steps in the right direction. We had Sharenow and, and Drivenow and all these different car services run by Mercedes and, and BMW. Unfortunately, they all went out of the business, same thing as, as Volkswagen. But I think that was a step in the right direction. Like you basically when you live in an inner city, Berlin, you’ll need to own a car anymore. It is like it’s per se circular because like just use the car, park it, lock it and walk away and then someone else can use it.

Do, you don’t know, own a car? But you did own a car.

I, I don’t own a car. I have a I subscribe to the Volkswagen car subscription because it just everything is included service, maintenance and whatnot, also registration and insurance. And because we wanted to try out a, um, a electric vehicle. See how that how that works. So I don’t own a car anymore. I’ve subscribed to a car rental service.