How 3D printing for cosmetics is heading in new directions

By Julia Wray | 14-Feb-2022

Packaging suppliers are increasingly leveraging on the flexibility of 3D printing

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The lure of 3D printing for the beauty industry is not a novelty; the technology has been a mainstay of packaging trade events for years, while the Mink 3D make-up printer has been transforming any image into colour cosmetic formulations for Mink users since 2014.

Demystifying the technology’s attraction, Oliver Drew, 3D expert at beauty packaging manufacturer and provider Quadpack, tells Cosmetics Business: “3D printing helps package designers test out new ideas quickly, allowing them to flex their creative muscles and try out what is likely to work and what is not.

“In addition, it accelerates the early stages of design, whether for a bespoke project or a new catalogue item. It helps avoid the need for multiple pilot moulds, saving both time and cost.

“For brands, it makes visualisation of new concepts much easier. No blueprint or 3D render can beat a real model you can touch and feel, especially if it is fully functional.”

And in recent months, more cosmetic packaging players have been communicating about their use of 3D printing.

Spain-headquartered Quadpack grew the 3D modelling capability at its UK rapid prototyping centre in October 2021, upgrading to a Stratasys J850 Prime 3D printer that enables it to work with new materials and offer new finishes, textures and Pantone colours.

Meanwhile, December saw French cosmetic packaging maker Albéa debut its ‘Make 3D yours’ service, speeding up the idea-to-industrialisation process for customised mascara brushes to just four weeks and offered in collaboration with Albéa’s 3D printing partner Erpro.

So, what does this uptick in adoption mean for beauty brands amid the ever-growing need for custom design and speed-to-market?

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