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Helping Air Wick Smell the Sweet Scent of Success with 3D Printing

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When it comes to successful product packaging, the devil is in the detail. Brands might obsess over the minutest aspects of how their products look, but that’s because the supermarket shelves are a battle ground where the protagonists fight to notch up sales. If companies get it wrong they can end up losing both the battle and the war.

That’s why forward thinking brands leave nothing to chance. Leading home-scents manufacturer Air Wick is a brand that knows the importance of perfect product packaging, and that is why they come to us.

Air Wick was in the process of developing its multi award-winning Life Scents range and wanted to take advantage of our packaging prototype service, mock>it, to ensure the aerosol canisters looked perfect on real and virtual shelves.

It was a big and complex challenge, and one that saw Springfield Solutions invest 12 months of R&D into print simulation techniques to predict how a dry offset process would reproduce the rich, detailed graphics demanded by the Life Scents can.

But the job was innovative for another reason too, it was the first time we used our new 3D printer as part of mock>it, to create the nozzle and ergonomic trigger mechanism used to operate the Life Scents canister.

Receiving the CAD files from the designer, we primed our Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printer to the task and created the components in just five hours. Without this service, seven weeks would have been added on to the mock-up process as the parts would have had to have been made in China.

As soon as the nozzle was in place we spotted a problem. The ergonomic trigger, although designed with function and aesthetics in mind, hung too low for the Air Wick logo to be clearly visible. The logo needed to be lowered by 5mm to sit perfectly on the can.

Along with Air Wick’s graphic team, we redesigned the label and set about mocking up the final product. It was the perfection the whole project team had been seeking and the design that now can be found on supermarket shelves everywhere.

Without the ability to create short runs of prototype packaging that allows a company to tweak any design issues they might have early on, perfect packaging design and functionality would be much harder to achieve.

And without our ability to print the necessary plastic components, weeks could be added on to the development of mock-ups such as Life Scents, which would have then faced unacceptable delays.

As testament to the work that went into Life Scents, the can went on to win a Gold Award in the packaging category of the iF World Design awards and silver awards in the DIY, Gifts and Gardening and Inclusive Design categories of the Starpack Awards.

It was a project we were delighted to be involved with, especially as our mock>it and 3D printing services helped Air Wick smell the sweet scent of success.

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