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Packaging & design

"3D printing has the potential to challenge plastic injection and moulding," Arnault Coulet, Fabulous

Founded a year ago, Fabulous provides advice to companies and helps them implement innovative 3D printing processes by linking technical expertise and material. The agency supports its customers (luxury, design) across the entire chain of a project (design, production, development), by building on three pillars: innovation, production and marketing animation. Premium Beauty New interviewed Arnault Coulet, co-founder.

From left to right : Arnault Coulet - Olivier Coulet - Robin (...)

From left to right : Arnault Coulet - Olivier Coulet - Robin Coulet

Premium Beauty News - Since its emergence a few years ago, 3D printing has gained a foothold in companies!

Arnault Coulet - Yes and no. We mostly hear about 3D printing for small equipment, often used for prototyping, without really realizing the industrial potential behind this technology. However the time when this technology was limited to prototyping and very small series (1-10 pieces) is already a thing of the past. Today what is at stake is to challenge in a near future traditional methods of production of objects, in particular plastic injection, but also moulding.

Premium Beauty News - What are the advantages of 3D printing?

Arnault Coulet - First 3D printing, or more precisely additive manufacturing, allows saving a huge amount of time as it requires no mould. Another well-known benefit, it allows for an infinite level of customization: files can be reworked and all objects produced as a single version. 3D printing is completely in line with the current trend for high-end limited series. It also enables to deal with very complex shapes and therefore give life to design objects, which would have never seen the light of day with traditional production techniques. Finally, it enables to reduce production costs, in particular working metal with very little loss of material and again no moulds.

From a broader perspective, 3D printing will probably be a factor for the relocation of production. Not only is it suitable for the production of customized limited series in a very short time, but it also requires a more skilled labour force than with conventional production processes.

Previously, the speed of printing and the volume of printed objects were limited. But these technical issues are nearly resolved. And don’t forget that 3D printing can be used for stainless steel, steel, titanium and precious metals and even ceramic. It is therefore not limited to plastics. To date, there are about 200 different materials compatible with additive manufacturing and we have also published a guide on the main materials used with their possible developments and advantages. For metals, we currently use a laser melting technology, which has many advantages over traditional moulding: with an increased homogeneity of the material, parts with a higher resistance can be produced.

Premium Beauty News - Could it cause the same upheaval as digital printing?

Arnault Coulet - Unlike digital printing, 3D technologies are not stabilized yet, actors are emerging. For industrial projects, investments are still very high and amount to millions of euros. Risks are high because technologies can soon become obsolete. But we are really entering into a new era, with both an ever growing number of needs and volumes produced. Production increases twofold every year. Currently, more than 1,000 parts of the Airbus A350 come from additive manufacturing.

Premium Beauty News - Customization is an important asset, but is the quality of products always up to par with other technologies?

Arnault Coulet - Fully finished parts cannot be designed yet. For luxury products, in particular, one or more finishing phases are needed after the initial production. Like for example, polishing, varnishing or application of paint. But mind you it is also very often the case with other production technologies.

Premium Beauty News - What are your recommendations?

Arnault Coulet - Given the speed at which these technologies are changing, we encourage our customers to rely on production networks and explore in this context the possible business applications. We are a driving force for brands on projects for which 3D printing offers real benefits. We have recently accompanied Lancôme for the production of POS with dummies featuring seven different sizes and colours, which were delivered in the brand’s European and American flagship stores. Thanks to 3D, such POS equipment can be produced in a week!

Interview by Vincent Gallon

© 2015 - Brazil Beauty News - www.brazilbeautynews.com

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