How Lush Revolutionised Product Development with 3D Printing

Lush Cosmetics 3D Printing

Most of us know Lush Cosmetics best for the divine smells that emanate from their stores and their incredible range of hair and skincare products.

But have you ever wondered what goes into developing those delightful products?

For years, Lush developed products by hand. Teams of designers would create master moulds, and these would be tweaked and developed into product lines.

This process produced high-quality moulds, but it was a very time-consuming process.

Each mould could take several days to create. Creating moulds by hand also prohibited the team from reaching its full product development potential. Several limitations were apparent: time, skill and hand tooling. Some designs were impossible because of tooling limitations.

This led Lush to look for solutions that could address these limitations. 3D printing stood out straight away as a way to automate the manufacturing process and significantly reduce time to market. Would it work?

A 3D printing revolution

Lush has a dedicated research and development centre called Unit 1 at their global headquarters in Poole in the south of England.


Here, stereolithography 3D printing is used to produce master moulds that would be impossible to produce with other manufacturing techniques.

Lush acquired their first Formlabs stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer in 2016. They now have six Formlabs Form 2 3D printers and two Formlabs Form 3 printers, as well as several FFF 3D printers, vacuum forming and CNC milling machines.

They selected a Formlabs SLA 3D printer because they knew the printer would be able to deliver highly accurate printed parts — SLA can achieve much finer details than FFF and is more reliable to repeatedly achieve high-quality results.

From design to print in minutes

With SLA technology, Lush designs and produces master moulds with fine details and product lettering without any loss in quality.

“We use our Formlabs 3D printers for a mix of mould creation, custom tooling, and end-use parts,” says Damien Carter, Innovation Lab Manager, Lush Cosmetics, “We’re a reactive business and having this capability in-house means we don’t need to share designs externally as we own everything in the product development process.”

Lush can now go from design to print in minutes. They use either Solidworks or ZBrush CAD software and use the Formlabs remote printing feature to send files to print. They don’t need to be in the same room. They can press print and go from anywhere.

In-house 3D printing with Formlabs has opened up opportunities for Lush Cosmetics to creatively solve product design challenges. They can design more intricate products than ever before without manufacturing limitations.

With access to a full range of digital fabrication tools, the R&D facility was able to fulfil 580 production requests in the first half of 2020, saving a considerable amount of time and labour.

3D printing has changed the way Lush Cosmetics develops products by freeing up design time and enabling new types of design. Their design team is now free to think outside the box and develop better products than ever.

Start your own 3D printing revolution

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