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Gillette Uses 3D Printing to Unlock Consumer Personalization

October 24, 2018

New technologies create opportunities for businesses to evolve and re-think their business models. Additive manufacturing is one such technology. 3D Printing offers advancements in prototyping and has grown to allow the creation of end-use parts. Where 3D printing excels is ease of customization, and razor manufacturer Gillette is taking full advantage of that with their new Razor Maker™ concept. 

“Combining our best shaving technology with the power and flexibility of 3D printing opens up a whole new world of product design possibilities,” said Rob Johnson, design engineer and Razor Maker™ co-founder.
The Razor Maker™ website allows consumers the chance to customize their razor's handle and make it completely their own. They have the option to choose from 48 designs, a variety of colours, and can add custom text. This gives Gillette a unique edge over their competition: in a market saturated with mass-produced goods, they are able to give consumers something uniquely theirs.

“We know consumers today are looking for brands that innovate in ways that let them express themselves – and that’s exactly what this pilot is all about,” said Evan Smith, global product manager for Razor Maker™.

However, this level of customization required Gillette to re-think their approach to manufacturing. Previously, 3D printing was only used for prototyping designs but advancements with the material and hardware have made it viable for producing end-use parts. Cue the Formlabs Form 2. After a razor handle is designed on the website by the consumer, this stereolithography (SLA) printer allows for it to be grouped with other designs and printed in a single batch. Each handle is then washed, post-cured, coated and assembled before being shipped directly to the consumer.
“It allows us to think about form in a way that was never possible before,” said Rory McGarry, industrial design lead at Razor Maker™. “In a traditional sense, we could only do one or two razor designs a year, whereas now we can have an idea, create it in 3D, print it, look at it, adjust it, and say that’s it.”

 



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