To match the premiere of the Marvel movie "Black Panther", PepsiCo by using 3D printing technology, a series of "Black Panther" character heads printed on the Coke packaging bottles. As far as 3D printing technology is concerned, Pepsi's application of it at the moment has not yet reached 100% perfection, but the appeal of this technology is in no way diminished.
PepsiCo's Max Rodriguez and engineer Thangthip Tekanil, who are in charge of packaging R&D, led a team to carry out a series of performance simulations, prototyping and other related work, in an effort to provide effective tools and production efficiency for the R&D and generation teams. Notably, one of the patented Modular Mold Sets is compatible with most injection molding machines, including aluminum shells, dental stones and 3D printed inserts, for a variety of bottle designs from 100 ml to 3 l. Rodriguez told TCT, "The Modular Mold Set is one of our rapid production of custom molds means to use in a lab-scale or pilot plant-scale injection molding facility."
The outsourced mold service provider PepsiCo previously worked with used to operate with a reduced material process like CNC or EDM, depending on the complexity of the mold structure, with product delivery taking 2-4 weeks and costing up to $10,000. rodriguez went on to add, "To reduce prototyping time and mold opening costs, the team initially tried to 3D print the entire mold, but the research revealed that it would take a lot of time and material. Ultimately we decided to use a hybrid model that combines a traditional metal mold with a 3D printed structure, where the metal shell is manufactured by an injection molding machine and then the internal parts are manufactured using 3D printing technology."
3D printed mold inserts on Carbon's M2 machine with CE certification. The team has been exploring 3D printing solutions that can match the Modular Mold Set processing model, with digital light processing technology, which prints faster, being a priority. After a series of trials, Pepsi is now using Nexa3D's NXE 400 machine and xPEEK 147 material.
Tekanil explains, "With 3D printing technology, a complete set of molds can be completed in 12 hours, with 8 hours of 3D printing time and 4 hours of curing time. xPEEK material requires only 3 hours of curing time, and warpage will be much less. Of course we also take into account material shrinkage to ensure that tolerances are within allowable limits when the mold is assembled."
Statistically, Modular Mold Set can produce thousands of bottles per mold, a solution that has saved PepsiCo about 90 percent in costs and reduced lead times from weeks to days. The next goal is to reach "thousands" of bottles. Thanks to this technology, we have the flexibility to design multiple product iterations so that we can evaluate all downstream market activities at any time.
This is not the first time PepsiCo has explored 3D printing technology; initially they used Stratasys' PolyJet technology and Digital ABS material (with a heat deflection temperature of 58-68°C), and were only able to produce 100 samples per mold set. PolyJet is currently used to pair with the lab's injection molding machine to produce small batches of samples. When the number of samples reaches 5,000, the DLP system is selected for operation.
Pepsi has worked to find the optimal solution between cost, machine performance and material performance from using the Carbon M2 to the Nexa3D NXE400, and such thinking will be a solution for other suppliers in the future.
In most cases, molds can be made within 48 hours and functional samples can be produced within a week. PepsiCo is also now exploring the application of metal 3D printing technology to integrate shape-following cooling channels for heat-setting applications, as well as manufacturing injection molds with polymer technology.
Rodriguez concluded, "3D printing is making a huge impact. 3D CAD file conversions are producing prototypes that are fully comparable to those produced by traditional machining methods. From the supply chain to marketing and even to the consumer, we can evaluate the positive performance of 3D printing on the production line. It is clear that this technology has significantly shortened our development cycle."
As you can see, PepsiCo is driving additive manufacturing technology for all aspects of bottle development, including accelerated and improved performance simulation, advanced systems analysis, and the production of high-quality functional prototypes using its proprietary technology and hybrid methods. 3D printing has given us unprecedented design capabilities, with greater scope for both brand design and printing new products, resulting in improved outreach and the ability to connect with customers.
TCT Asia has been focusing on the application and exploration of 3D printing in the whole field of manufacturing, and in 2022 TCT Asia will be held in Shenzhen, China, with a specially planned concurrent event TCT Asia Summit - Consumer Goods Forum. The forum will focus on the application of 3D printing technology in product packaging, jewelry design, 3C electronics and home appliances and other fields to discuss and share. The guest recruitment channel is now open, and we welcome industry professionals to apply or recommend suitable guest candidates!
In the special year of 2022, TCT Asia will bid farewell to Shanghai for the time being and head south to Shenzhen to set sail again at Shenzhen International Convention and Exhibition Center (Baoan) from August 31 to September 2.
If you have already completed your appointment to visit this year and confirmed that you will still visit the show which is postponed to August in Shenzhen.