Mar 8, 2018 | By Tess

When you crack open a cold one, it's not likely your first though will be about 3D printed design. But if James Boag’s Premium Lager happens to be your drink of choice, you’ll be sipping directly from some 3D printing-enabled innovation.

Through a recent collaboration with 3D Systems, bottle supplier Orora designed and 3D printed a beer bottle prototype for Australian brewery James Boag.

Founded in 1883, James Boag has been a staple in the Australian beer market for many years, keeping its customers quenched with its premium beers brewed from local Tasmanian waters.

When the brewer decided it wanted to update the beer bottle for its Premium Lager, it wanted to ensure that the new bottle would look and feel good before investing tons of money in new tooling systems.

The solution, brought forward by Orora, was to involve the 3D Systems Quickparts on-demand service. With this service, 3D Systems could additively manufacture a realistic prototype of the new design that would meet James Boag’s suppy chain process requirements.

Unlike most other 3D printed prototypes, 3D Systems had the unique challenge of printing a beer bottle that looked like it was made of glass. To achieve this, the company turned to its stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing technology to produce four bottle prototypes (based off digital designs from Orora).

3D Systems' VisiJet SL Clear 3D printing resin

The four bottles were 3D printed from VisiJet SL Clear resin and underwent extensive post-processing steps, including wet and dry sanding, adding a green surface tint and a final clear coat of paint. The end product not only resembled a real glass bottle, but also had the same weight and density of a real bottle (achieved by adjusting the interior wall thickness of the bottle).

According to 3D Systems Quickparts, the four 3D printed beer bottle prototypes were completed within “a matter of days,” a much faster turnaround than traditional prototyping.

The 3D printed bottles reportedly performed very well in customer trials, as they were filled, labeled, and placed on store shelves. As was intended, clients were drawn to the bottles.

“The new James Boag Lager bottle has set a standard within Orora for the way packaging design and 3D prototyping can come together seamlessly with short notice,” commented Orora’s Innovation & Design team. “It’s the sort of technology innovation that’s giving us a critical edge when it comes to developing best-practice bottling design and manufacturing solutions for our customers.”

There is no precise date yet for when the new James Boag bottles will hit the shelves, but it will be extra exciting to know they were designed with the help of 3D printing when they do. If you’re feeling bold, you can even crack open the beer with these badass 3D printed adhesive nails.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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