Ecolean investigates additive manufacturing (AM) as a new way to approach manufacturing. The company got in contact with AMEXCI in 2021 to identify relevant areas where AM would fit both short-term and long-term strategies and promote innovative thinking.

Ecolean was founded in 1996 in Helsingborg, Sweden and is a fast-growing packaging company that develops flexible lightweight packages and efficient filling systems. Innovation has always been fundamental to Ecolean, in how their products are produced but also how they conduct their business. Today, the company has commercial activities in 30 countries, and are now looking at new ways to stay on top of developments and safeguard innovative thinking in line with their growth strategy.

In 2021, Ecolean started to investigate new technologies for production methodologies to become early adopter and give the company a competitive edge. Jennifer Severinson, Head of Technology & Research at Ecolean, says the company wanted to investigate if additive manufacturing could help fulfill the company goals of their growth strategy and a strong innovative foundation. One of the project groups main challenges, however, was that they often tended to fall back into conventional methods and mindsets.

-We got in contact with AMEXCI, who not only shared with us the knowledge about AM, but also inspired us to think outside the box. We conducted an AM strategy workshop which laid ground for methods that helped open up and change our mindset, says Jennifer Severinson, Head of Technology & Reserach at Ecolean.

Jennifer Severinson, Head of Technology & Reserach at Ecolean.

Akshatha Dayananda, Head of Innovation at AMEXCI says the goal of the strategy workshop was to visualize what AM could bring to Ecolean in their growth and innovation journey.  

– During the strategy workshop, key stakeholders from design, production and assembly, quality, sourcing, and supplier management were involved to get the full picture of the company. The next step was to understand through real time examples, what the different AM adoption paths are and how Ecolean can adopt AM, says Akshatha Dayananda.

AM adoption paths

There are four paths that one can use to adopt AM in an organization. While a couple of them require the design and product to be changed significantly, the other two paths do not require a change in design. The paths are also chosen based on the impact AM may have on the supply chain.

– After a brief introduction to the various AM technologies, several components were listed and then several chosen components were categorized into these paths. We further selected the products or product groups which may be the easiest to deploy, says Akshatha Dayananda.

The food and packaging industry put specifically high demands on hygiene e.g., certain materials are therefore crucial in production. These were some of the main considerations when AMEXCI investigated the AM feasibility for Ecolean. The result of this was that a clear AM roadmap emerged for Ecolean, based on timeline and deployment ease.

-We have already started using our in-house printer to print prototypes and tools. Now with this new input, we are exploring other technologies for printing both prototypes and as a next step; end use parts, says Jennifer Severinson. A new way of looking at the technical solutions has helped and gives new possibilities, and most importantly, we have learned how to change our ways of thinking, thanks to both methodology and additive manufacturing, says Jennifer Severinson.

For more information about Ecolean:
Contact: Jennifer Severinsson, Head of Technology & Research: