Prototyping is an important step in the development of moulded pulp inlays. It allows customers to test and refine their designs before mass-producing the inlays.
While particularly efficient prototyping phases, where the requirements and wishes of the customer are very clear, only take about 5-6 weeks, larger and more complex packaging projects can take up to 3-6 months in the prototyping phase.
Prototyping begins with a brief from the customer, with their requirements. The more precise the specifications, the easier and faster it is for us to implement these. If necessary, we can also bring in additional packaging specialists and/or designers for a project. We see ourselves as consultants and implementers of your ideas, but not as actual packaging designers. We are happy to advise and recommend suitable partners.
In the first step, a digital model of the inlay is created according to the specifications and ideas of our customers. This model can be used to visualise the design and make any necessary modifications.
At this point it is particularly important that the dimensions of the product to be packaged are known very precisely, as a technical drawing or ideally as a 3D CAD file. Equally important are the clear specifications and wishes of our customers. Subsequent changes in the CAD are usually associated with a lot of work and relatively high costs. In our standard pricing we include one minor change to the 3D CAD files. Further adjustments and changes after the start of the 3D CAD creation are time-consuming and will be charged according to time and effort.
In a second step, the approved packaging design is 3D printed in order to check the fit of the actual product and to hold the packaging in its three-dimensionality as a plastic print in your hands for the first time. It's worth noting that even though 3D printing offers the advantages mentioned, it doesn't exactly match all the specifications of the prototype made from moulded pulp. This is because 3D printed plastic has different properties compared to the moulded pulp material.
In the next stage, we create up to ten moulded fibre prototypes using specially produced mini-tools in order to be able to test the product in its final materialisation. In this way, our customers receive a prototype that corresponds to the mass production before the actual production. Last small changes can be made after this step before the tools for the actual mass production are manufactured.
Custom colour matches for projects are developed during this phase, with a fixed cost per round of colour matching and the establishment of a customised colour pulp system. The minimum order quantity for custom colour projects is 50,000 pieces. It should be noted that custom colours can be accurately matched using Winlay®, but the colour tolerances are broader compared to regular paper production. Furthermore, a subtle cloud effect can occur on the surface.