Cadbury celebrates World Chocolate Day with 3D printed personalised products

Cadbury has made an impression on shoppers in Australia, marking World Chocolate Day through offering 3D printed, customisable Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, responding to increased demand for personalised products.

The  collaboration between the company’s parent firm Mondelēz International and  equipment manufacturer 3P Innovation involved a world’s first prototype machine being installed at the Myer department store in Chadstone, Melbourne, throughout July.

As part of the installation, Cadbury has offered milk chocolate charms including novel shapes to Australian symbols such as kangaroos and flip-flops. They are produced using a new 3D printing machine designed and manufactured by 3P, a leading custom engineering and automation house based in Warwick, UK. The multi-lane technology provides the opportunity to print an endless range of different chocolate shapes and sizes, without using the traditional moulding process, or the need to invest in expensive capital equipment.

“Confectionery printing presents many challenges, such as scalability to enable mass-production and chocolate design limitations”, said Nim Mistry, project manager at Mondelēz.

“In addition, prior advances made in 3D chocolate printing have failed to address one of the most critical aspects of quality for chocolate manufacture: chocolate tempering. We worked closely with 3P to design and develop a highly-innovative solution which tightly controls the conditions of the chocolate throughout the manufacturing process,” Ms Mistry explained.

“This innovative solution was essential in ensuring a smooth, evenly-coloured chocolate and satisfying snap when you bite into it. It means customers can enjoy the same high-quality Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate they love in a fun and personalisable format. What started as a ‘Test and Learn’ project has resulted in a successful prototype that is producing great quality products.”

The company explained to Confectionery Production that the 3D printer features a user-friendly operating screen designed for immediate, low-cost changeovers between products, meaning that lower-volume batches can easily be produced; for example to celebrate ‘one-off’ major national events or to provide highly-personalised gifts. Designs for new chocolates can be downloaded to the machine in seconds, allowing Mondelēz to rapidly manufacture and test new products in days rather than weeks.

The machine produces a total of eight chocolates at a time, which is a new development for 3D printing applications. This multi-lane approach provides the balance between flexibility and a sensible production rate, meaning that the machine is viable for commercial production. Other industries, such as pharmaceuticals, stand to benefit from this, where 3D printing of, for example, personalised drug therapies can become a reality.

“Working in collaboration with one of the biggest chocolate brands in the world has been a privilege and a very rewarding experience for us,” says Tom Bailey, Managing Director at 3P.

“The combination of our well-proven process development methodology and production technologies with their product development know-how has resulted in a new and disruptive technology that can potentially shape the future of chocolate manufacturing and excitingly, what started as a ‘Test and Learn’ project has resulted in a successful prototype that is producing great quality products.”

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