Mar 21, 2018 | By Tess

Chanel Parfums Beauté, the cosmetics unit of the famous French design house, has turned to 3D printing for the production of an unlikely item: a mascara brush. In partnership with France-based Erpro 3D Factory, Chanel says it will begin manufacturing mascara brushes on an industrial scale using 3D printing.

When applying mascara, one might not think twice about the wand they unscrew from the bottle and lightly drag across their eyelashes. The truth is, however, that a ton of engineering and testing has gone into that seemingly simple object before it was put into production, marketed, and ultimately purchased.

From being eye-friendly, safe, effective, and even aesthetically pleasing, a lot goes in to making a mascara brush, which is why Chanel became interested in exploring 3D printing technologies for their production.

The design house has been interested in 3D printing since as early as 2001, and in 2007 the company even filed a patent for the additive manufacturing of cosmetic applicator products.

Fast-forward a decade, and Chanel is finally preparing to launch its 3D printed mascara applicators. The new products, made using a laser sintering process and polyamide material, will soon be launched with the company’s Volume Révolution de Chanel Mascara.

According to Chanel’s development team, 3D printing enabled it go through various prototypes for the mascara brush in a timely and cost-effective manner. Importantly, 3D printing allowed it to do away with costly injection molds in the production process.

To give an idea of just how much flexibility additive manufacturing afforded Chanel, the Révolution mascara brush reportedly went through over 100 prototypes and trial rounds before the final version of the brush was chosen and validated.

Moreover, the technology enabled Chanel and its development team to come up with innovative new designs for the cosmetics applicator. Thanks to 3D printing, Chanel Parfums Beauté was able to iterate many designs and shapes that would have been impossible to produce using traditional molding methods.

The final version is especially notable for its supposedly granular-textured strands, which help the mascara stick to the wearer’s lashes. Other features include micro-cavities which are designed to hold enough mascara formula to “pre-empt double-dipping,” and a clump-preventing bristle-grid.

Presently, Chanel is preparing to launch the industrial manufacturing of its new 3D printed mascara brush, a feat which is being enabled by Erpro 3D Factory. The France-based AM specialist has collaborated with Chanel to establish a sophisticated 3D printing production line made up of six machines. The facility, says Chanel, is capable of printing up to 50,000 brushes per day, 250,000 brushes per week, and up to one million brushes per month.

To account for the fact that the 3D printed brushes are to be used next to the human eye, Chanel has also established thorough testing and post-processing phases which include measures such as raw material analysis, powder preparation, post-printing cooling, cleaning, rinsing, and testing.

Chanel expects to begin its 3D printed mascara brush production as soon as June 2018.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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