Founded in 2003, Quadpack is a global manufacturer of packaging solutions to the beauty industry. One of Quadpack’s long-term business goals is to increase innovation through enhanced research & development. Coupled with this is the goal to increase the time-to-market for its clients. To achieve these goals, the company recently expanded its design team to create the Design and Advanced Technologies department. In a step aimed at increasing innovation, Quadpack purchased a Stratasys J750™ – the world’s only full colour, multi-material 3D printer – from local Stratasys partner Tri Tech 3D. The 3D printer is now at the heart of the Design & Advanced Technologies department. Much of the work on the J750 involves testing new ideas using three types of models. First, Quadpack develops prototype models for new references in its Q-Line range of beauty packaging solutions.
The company also develops samples for clients who need bespoke models. As the team gets closer to production, whether for custom projects or its own product range, it manufactures trial moulds to test designs prior to the full-scale production. “Having been limited on the colour, materials and production time with our previous 3D printer, we bought the J750 because we needed greater speed and flexibility to produce the three types of models we use,” explained Jeremy Garrard, Director - Design & Advanced Technologies, Quadpack industries and continued, “Its unique full-colour, multi-material capabilities give us the freedom we need to test new ideas with ease. The early stages of design and development are also vastly accelerated. Once a concept is ready to be developed into a product, it all moves at great speed – we create a 3D model, test it using a 3D printed trial mould and we’re ready for the full scale production. The ability to address all these areas of design and production with one 3D printer makes for a much better return on investment. When it comes to 3D Printing, as far as we’re aware, no one in our industry has a 3D Printing capability as cutting-edge as ours.”
Advanced ultra-realistic prototypes aid client visualisation
In workplaces, telecommuting became more prevalent nearly overnight. Employees who were used to traveling to an office every day have begun to complete their work from home. Frequent travellers are learning to conduct business in new ways.
This sudden shift to remote working and no travel has increased data demands significantly. Instead of attending in-person meetings, for example, workers are relying on platforms like Zoom, Skype and Teams to communicate and collaborate.
Offering greater design freedom when testing new ideas, the J750 has had a knock-on effect on the company’s ability to create innovative new products for its Q-Line portfolio. The high-quality 3D models produced using the J750 are also helping clients’ custom developments, offering improved visualisation as part of Quadpack’s design-to-delivery service for better early-stage development. “The J750 is key to achieving faster time-to-market, making visualisation of bespoke products easier,” explained Garrard and added, “For clients, a highly detailed 3D printed model is a sure way to see what the finished product will look like. One can see it, feel it, touch it. It makes the idea real for our clients and accelerates the decision-making process. In terms of inspiration, it helps the industry access new ideas in a very real way. As an example, the first packaging ideas developed by our designers, based on our trend investigations, were 3D printed using the J750 and exhibited at the Cosmopack exhibition in Bologna. We used the machine to create around 300 prototypes for our Trend Wall and for our global sales teams to show to clients. We were blown away by how much interest we received by key prospects, including a leading trend house.”
Accelerating production with 3D printed moulds
Quadpack is also 3D Printing injection moulds on demand, using them across its range of injection machines to run real-life production samples, with the output exactly the same as the finished product in terms of specifications and material types. This provides the company with greater efficiency, allowing it to carry out quality checks prior to cutting steel on the main production mould for the industrialisation of the packaging. Steel trial moulds are expensive and take around six weeks to produce, but Quadpack will now be able to make them in as little as 24 hours and at greatly reduced cost. “The trial mould capability of the J750 is exceptional and relevant to everything we do,” asserted Garrard and went on, “For example, if we develop an ampoule with a snap-off cap, we can try it with full end-product functionality. It is fantastic as it gives us greater efficiency and reduces risk. Everything happens earlier, faster and better, which is key to helping us achieve our overall goals of delivering innovation and improved time-to-market.”
With the Design and Advanced Technologies department building a foundation for a future full-scale R&D centre, there is no doubt the J750 will play a crucial role and help deliver faster innovation to market. Garrard explained, “We’re extremely proud of our industry-leading prototyping and mould-making 3D Printing capability. It gives us a real competitive edge and helps us foster creativity, boost innovation and accelerate the development process, which is good for us and even better for our clients.” Having a local, dedicated Additive Manufacturing support service is also essential to helping Quadpack achieve its goals. Garrad concluded, “Stratasys’ partner, Tri Tech 3D, offers us expertise and continued high-level support. As we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with 3D Printing into other areas of our production processes, this local support is invaluable.”