As the world moves towards more personalized products, 3D printing packaging is becoming even more common than before. 3D printed packaging can be many things too, such as sustainable bags or bottles made from recycled waste: the list goes on and on.
So, what type of packaging can you print? Also, what are the other applications of the technology in the packaging industry? These and other questions about the use of 3D printing in packaging manufacturing are answered below.
What Can You 3D Print?
You can 3D print almost anything: containers toys, clothing, and so on. In addition to end-user products, manufacturers also use 3D printers to create prototypes, produce tooling, and many other needs.
To create 3D printed parts, you need to start with a 3D model of the required product. This is normally done with the help of computer software. The part design is then sent to a 3D printer, which then produces the product from raw materials such as plastic or metal.
A 3D printer works by printing the desired part in layers. This can happen in several different ways. The printer may extrude molten material for example, or use laser to melt and fuse particles. Another popular way to 3D print is by binding layers of particles with a binding material.
3D Printing Packaging
The application of 3D printing in packaging is already here with us. In a majority of cases, the tech is being used to produce customized containers or bags. For prototyping, too, where a packaging product is created as a pre-manufacturing sample. Let’s see how each works:
3D Printing Packaging Prototypes
These are sample parts before the final product can be mass-produced. 3D printing packaging prototypes offers several benefits: because the process to make the prototype is done directly on the printer, tooling steps are eliminated.
3D printing packaging prototypes helps speed up the product development steps and reduces the costs associated with producing molds, for example. This benefit applies to both the manufacturer and client.
3D Printing Packaging Products
This is the actual process of 3D printing packaging. It happens directly on the 3D printer, and involves using a digital design file to create the final product. Just like prototyping, 3D printing packaging products helps reduce the number of manufacturing steps. Above all, it allows for the creation of uniquely design packaging to meet product requirements.
Examples of the application of this technology includes in the manufacture of 3D printed gift packaging or personalized packaging for jewelry. Advantages include ability to produce unique products while also being able to manufacture such packaging quickly and without the need for many different steps.
3D Printed Packaging
What are some of the most common types of 3D printed packaging? A lot is already happening in the packaging industry today, with businesses embracing the benefits that this technology brings. The types of 3D printed packaging in use today are listed below. Not that some are more common than others, while some offer more benefits.
3D printed boxes are containers that you’ve produced on using either metal powder or plastic filament. Options vary, it could be a 3D printed box with lid for delivering items, or it can be a box without lid for displaying products in a retail store.
Designs can also be customized for a unique look, or different material used to achieve different finishes and levels of durability. 3D printed boxes are mostly designed to be lightweight while also offering other benefits such as strength.
You can also 3D print bottles. A 3D printed bottle can be made from different types of material. That said, it’s common for this type of packaging to be made from sustainable plastic. This is plastic that is biodegradable like PLA.
It’s also not unusual to find this type of 3D printed packaging made using recycled plastic. You can also make these bottles in any design imaginable and other options such as size and texture.
Using different materials, it’s also possible to 3D print bags. These packaging products range from lightweight containers to sustainable bags made from eco-friendly materials.
And while designs vary, 3D printed bags can be on-demand packaging products. This offers the benefit of design freedom while also ensuring reduced waste and other things.
A 3D printed tray offers design advantages. You can create it in whichever form you want, and you do not need a mold to do that. Like with other packaging produced on a 3D printer, trays can also be made from several different materials, including recycled or lightweight plastic.
You can use this type of packaging in many ways, from storage to item organization in a business premise or office. You can also use a 3D printed tray in shipping containers or boxes, among other applications.
The diversity that 3D printing packaging offers includes the manufacture of egg cartons. You can make these in many design options, including the option for lightweight egg trays or crates.
By combining the power of a 3D printer and ability to 3D print using different materials, you can also get creative with your design for a 3D printed egg carton. This includes anything from attractive shapes for the kitchen to specific colors to make the egg tray attractive.
A 3D printed crate is often a uniquely designed piece of packaging product to fit specific usage needs. Most often, you design it with openings to make it lightweight, and in the colors of your choice to make it appealing or a reflection of your brand identity.
This 3D printed packaging can be an on-demand product, a low-volume batch, or any form of packaging based on the need. The beauty of 3D printing packaging crates is that you have the freedom of design, and can get as creative as you can be.
With the advantage of design freedom, 3D printing packaging is becoming popular with businesses and individuals looking for personalized packaging products. Also, if looking for an easier way to print on-demand or one-time packaging. With 3D printing, it’s also easier to select your materials for sustainable packaging, among other benefits such as easier prototyping of packaging products.