A break-out win with beer bottle
HAAS Die Werbemanufaktur in Switzerland won a 2020 FESPA Gold Award in the direct printing on three-dimensional products category with a 3D-printed beer bottle and the Judges' Innovation Award. We spoke to Fabian Nater about shattering the old ways of beer advertising.
This 2m x 0.6m printed beer bottle was created in SketchUp, MakePrintable and Adobe Illustrator before being 3D-printed using Big Rep 1. The print features a combination of Epson print on to Oracal foil and spray painting.
What was the brief, and what were you attempting to achieve with the work?
For two decades, the Brauerei Locher company in Appenzell has been a very good customer. We wanted to surprise them with a product they would never expect. So, they knew the date of assembly of this piece – just not what would be assembled. What we wanted to achieve is a big smile on their face. And it worked!
What are the benefits of the material choices that you made?
Our 3D printer, which has a printing chamber of a metre cubed, gives us the option to carry out projects like this. The bottle is a real and authentic copy not because of a single specific material, but because of the mix in materialisation. The polylactic acid (PLA) supplies the volume and shape, but the paint and foil brings it to life.
What were the key technical challenges involved in the project?
Our printer wasn’t big enough to make the bottle in fewer than two parts. So as not to waste time and material resources, we started to print the single pieces in a 1:1 option where we tried different print settings. 3D printing often seems like “Press start and wait.” But for this size, there was much more behind then that.
How did you overcome those challenges?
When we started the project, our printer was brand-new and the experience in practice wasn’t at the level we have today. So we started to assemble the right competencies for the job. We spoke to our supplier, and to friends who were engineers or are in another way related to 3D printing. Step by step, maybe even in learning by doing, we reached the sufficient knowledge to print the bottle. Once the body, closure and cover was printed, our long-term know-how in foil and paint led us the rest of the way.
Fabian Nater, HAAS Die Werbemanufaktur
What do you think you offer to clients that competitors don’t?
We can combine many kinds of manufacturing, but clients only need to talk to one person to get the job done. On top of this, we can offer a high percentage of “Swissness”. Everything we produce is made here in our family company, where 11 full-time employees work and learn. Also, we educate young people on their way to the open economy. Of course, we have to buy raw materials like fabrics or LED from suppliers outside Switzerland.
What are the key changes in technology that are influencing the industry right now?
One is the challenge of organisation. The time pressures for completing a project are getting tighter. Sure, a work takes as long as it takes, but still the quality has to be great. So, the workflow inside the company has to be improved to satisfy customer need as well as deliver the expected quality. Secondly, in product, we see a good potential in dynamic light for POS and exhibitions. In our opinion, dynamic LED is a great alternative to sensitive and expensive LED screens.
How will winning this award change things for you?
We are a relatively small, family-run company close to the mountains in the countryside. To new clients, a bigger competitor from an urban area probably looks “safer”. This award is a lighthouse, orientating new customers as to what they can expect from us.
What projects are forthcoming?
Since exhibitions are rare and public events have declined, we are improving our knowledge of acoustics. We have already won a world-famous customer from central Switzerland to build multiple solutions for their room acoustics. And we are optimistic that this will be a central pillar for our business over the next decade.
How do you see your business expanding in the next five to 10 years?
That’s harder to tell than a year ago. Because of the cancelled exhibitions, we will have a break in our growth. That won’t stop us from looking out for new technology and innovation to offer clients, but for the moment it’s not sensible to extend our square footage or our employee base. We will grow… but when, we don’t yet know.
What's the most important business tip or trick you could pass on to our readers?
We love what we do completely – in hand, heart and head. Every day! We are sure our customers recognise this, and that’s why we welcome them back again and again to work on their projects.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Stay safe and healthy! And thank you very much for so many positive feedbacks from our customers, friends and on our social media channels!
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