Paulig enters the 3D printing era

Finnish coffee maker Paulig has made an advertising campaign to design your own coffee box for President coffee. The whole design of the coffee box and preview is made to work with your internet browser in 3D. The best coffee box has already been made by Versoteq but you can try to match it.

The site and the design application look stunning. It's great that you can download the 3D model and 3D print it with your own 3D printer if you happen to have access to one. Printing the coffee box with consumer grade printer is not that expensive if you do it yourself. Although some consumer printers don't have a sufficient print area. Paulig has developed the application in co-operation with Shapeways so it's natural to print the models through them. However, the box is not cheap to print via Shapeways. The few test pieces we tried out were around 170 to 300 euros and after some research we found out that the maximum wall thickness was up to 6 mm. Increasing the volume also increases the cost of 3D printing.

Paulig's case for mass customisation is a great place to utilize 3D printing. Traditional manufacturing methods can't compete with unique products. It's great that the users can design their own products. The users will become more attached to the product and in the same time they generate the 3D model. The possibilities of 3D printing technology could have been applied even more. For example the cover could have been integrated to the box with hinges. Co-operation with Shapeways would make it possible to order an elasto plastic rubber component to work as a seal to make the box "air tight". 3D printed Nylon is not air tight as a material so the added value might be marginal. However, the cover doesn't add any costs and it might even bring the price down in some cases with Shapeways pricing structure. With the cover Versoteq got the price down to 135 euros.

This is a great move from Paulig to utilise 3D printing in their advertising. With few improvements the whole package would be even more practical. The users might be more intrigued to buy their own models even without winning it through the competition. Here's something we would focus on:
1. Wall thickness of the box should be thinner to make the price lower
2. The cover could be integrated with 3D printing
3. Height map of the image should be a bit better
4. Usability could be improved. Some of the tools functions are not clear and with the dark box its hard to shape the surface
5. Integrity of the 3D model should be confirmed in all cases. Shapeways fortunately has an automatic correction so small errors are not crucial.