Looking for the best 3D printing candidates in the packaging industry? Alexander Daniels Global can help. This article will explore how 3D printing is used in this industry, while detailing how you can easily recruit for your 3D printing team.

How is 3D printing used in the packaging industry?

Similar to many industries, such as the aerospace industry and the medical industry, 3D printing revolutionized the packaging industry from the off-set. Over the last decade, the use of additive manufacturing in the packaging sector has accelerated – providing a variety of material choices, such as metal, plastics and even food. The most commonly used materials in additive manufacturing for packaging, however, are thermoplastics or industrial grade production plastics.

Packaging typically has two primary functions – to protect the product in transit (such as wear and tear, or protecting the fragility of the product), and to make the product desirable (to attract customers, and create memorable branding). Additive manufacturing can be used in many ways to elevate the packaging industry, such as:

  • Creation of machinery parts – production of packaging machinery parts, such as printing robotic arms, has been revolutionary for the packaging industry. These parts will also naturally be lighter in weight than traditional materials, but will likely be more powerful – providing a more effective process.
  • Rapid prototyping – with the help of 3D printing, this means early-stage products can be fast-tracked through development. With the ability of multiple molds being made at a fast rate, protypes can be created to fabricate parts – allowing the development process to accelerate.
  • Spare parts on demand – instead of being supplied from around the world, spare parts can be made on the spot, which saves cost and time of shipping replacement parts.

More recently, PepsiCo’s applications of 3D printing for packaging circulated in the news with the company’s Sr. Manager of Global Packaging R&D – Max Rodriguez – explaining in an article for TCT Magazine how the technology has helped them to stop outsourcing mold production for the bottles to external suppliers, bringing production in-house.

PepsiCo 3D printed bottle packaging
3D printing hits the spot: How PepsiCo is using AM to produce drink bottle tooling (source: TCT Magazine)

Benefits of using 3D printing in the packaging industry

There’s a number of printing technologies that can be used to fuel the packaging industry, such as stereolithography, fused deposition modelling and digital light processing. However, additive manufacturing provides numerous benefits that traditional manufacturing now lacks:

  • Environmentally friendly – as plastic waste pollution creates multiple problems for the packaging industry, additive manufacturing helps to clean, dry, shred and extrude plastic into a printable filament, which can be easily recycled. There’s also a number of sustainable packaging material available for use with 3D printing, such as celluloid fibres and bio-thermoplastic elastomers, alongside other forms of innovative packaging material.
  • Personalization – additive manufacturing also adds custom elements to any packaging, allowing businesses to display their branding or customer’s messages, making their own personalized packaging on request.
  • Cost savings – with a reduction in production time, naturally this creates a decrease in the cost of the process itself, meaning 3D printing as a process can save businesses both time and money in the long run.

Working with 3D printing in the packaging industry

As an organization serving the packaging industry, you could be looking to hire 3D printing specialists to support you with branching out into alternative manufacturing solutions or looking to expand your team to meet high demand from packaging customers. That’s where we can help.

Here at Alexander Daniels Global, we conduct direct sourcing through targeted headhunting to access inactive candidates, alongside our database and extensive network of active candidates. To put it simply, your 3D recruitment needs can be seamlessly handled by our specialist team – putting the right candidates in front of you when you need them most.

want to learn more about packing in the 3d printing industry?

If you are a packaging professional looking to make a move into additive manufacturing, get in touch or browse our career portal to apply for our varied open job vacancies.

For more information about how we can help, contact our team of expert recruiters today. We also have a wealth of HR resources to help you stay on top of hiring trends – download our 2023 Additive Manufacturing Salary Survey based on data collected from AM professionals working in a range of industries.

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