Five Reasons to 3D Print Packaging Prototypes

17th August 2021

Even the simplest product concept will often require a packaging prototype. Packaging sells products, and key stakeholders need to see what form this might take.

Investors want to know where their money is going. Trade shows need visual aids. Internal marketing teams need to discuss and form strategy around a tangible end goal. But pursuing the usual methods for these prototypes can present early frustrations. There are many reasons to use 3D printed packaging prototypes in place of traditional routes. Here are just some:

1. Simplified Workflow

Working with traditional external vendors can be tricky to negotiate, and may be fraught with rejections. Packaging manufacturers may not be willing to work with a business that they feel doesn’t represent a worthwhile return. They might also fear spending time and money on a possible client taking their prototype and never coming back.

Additionally, buyers from different retailers will want to see different concepts. One brand may want to see an opaque bottle in clear plastic packaging; another could want a coloured, translucent bottle with a living hinge. With a Stratasys 3D printer, these designs can be devised and printed without hours spent refining models and communicating intent to external parties.

2. Cost Efficient

While a packaging manufacturer may agree to produce a prototype with no upfront cost, they will almost certainly charge you for their work if you decide to go down a different route. For multiple prototypes, these costs can quickly mount before you’ve even considered full production.

PolyJet 3D printers present an exceptional return on investment. Compared to outsourcing, in-house 3D printing takes a fraction of the cost and needs only a handful of hours. When cost efficiency is so high – with big time savings to boot – prototypes become less of a burden and can be produced with fewer sacrifices.

3. Professional Modelling

Bringing production in-house needn’t sacrifice quality. It’s true that your potential outsourced supplier has a lot of experience and knowledge in producing packaging, but Stratasys 3D printers and their supporting GrabCAD Print software are designed with simplicity in mind.

A simple user interface makes powerful solutions like the J55 Prime effortless to operate, and SYS Systems’ dedicated team provide ISO 9001:2015 accredited support to get users up to speed in no time. Simulated textures and fine-tuned model thickness and rigidity can be achieved for the finest examples of your work that key stakeholders can hold and feel to understand your concept clearly.

4. Realistic and High-Quality

VeroVivid material can be printed in over half a million colours and given textures that simulate fabric, leather, wood, and more. Incorporate smooth colour gradients in multi-material trays and alter transparency to mimic glass. Stratasys 3D printers can create 2D labels and high-resolution images, enabling prototypes with true-to-life finishing touches.

By using the same model reiterated with different material and colour compositions, a selection of prototypes can be made to communicate the broader potential of an idea. This also helps collaboration as designers and other project stakeholders can discuss concepts and come to cooperative decisions.

5. Innovative Results

3D printed packaging gives greater room for experimentation and innovation. Where third-party packaging manufacturers might be hesitant to break away from the norm, in-house production lets you try intriguing concepts and make your packaging more disruptive.

Test prototypes in response to customer feedback, and create eye-catching designs for showcases. Test how specific requirements can be incorporated in different ways. Gauge how different materials affect the aesthetics of the packaging and therefore the perception of the product.

Just like it does in many other cases, 3D printing breaks businesses free from the restrictions of traditional methods. In-house additive manufacturing gives you the freedom and flexibility to test and improve upon concepts whilst saving time and cost.

From sturdy FDM to flexible PolyJet, the experts at Stratasys Platinum Partner SYS Systems can help. Get in touch today to find out more about how 3D printing in design can boost your business.

Make an Enquiry

Make an Enquiry

For any sales, product information or pricing inquiries fill out the form on the right and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.