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CAD to Part in 48 Hours: PepsiCo Slashes Tooling Costs and Cycle Times with the help of NXE 400

Iconic PepsiCo Brand Finds Best Alternative to Expensive, Time-Consuming Conventional Metal Tooling

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

The Challenge

Speed to market is crucial in the consumer goods industry, where companies are constantly striving to create new bottle and package designs that cater to changing customer preferences. However, the traditional method of making metal tooling for blow molding bottles is both costly and time-consuming. After designing a package using CAD software, it can take up to four weeks to manufacture a metal tool, followed by an additional two weeks to test the blow molding process. According to Max Rodriguez, a senior manager at PepsiCo’s Valhalla research center, the production of a single metal tool set can cost up to $10,000 depending on its complexity.

In an effort to expedite this process, many have turned to 3D printing, but previous attempts at rapid tooling had their limitations. Printing a blow molding tool from Digital ABS material on a PolyJet 3D printer costing $250,000 would take two to three days, but the resulting tool lacked durability and could only produce around 100 bottles before failing. To address these challenges, Rodriguez and his team are now exploring a hybrid approach that combines elements of a traditional metal mold with 3D printed inserts.


PepsiCo Inc.


Consumer goods packaging, food & beverage


Nexa3D NXE 400 Printer


xPEEK147 by Henkel Loctite


Applying its patented technology and a hybrid approach, PepsiCo is using additive manufacturing as an enabler in various aspects of bottle development – accelerating and enhancing performance simulation, advanced system analysis and the production of high-quality, functional prototypes.


  • Compress prototype tooling development time from 4 weeks to 48 hours
  • Slash prototype tooling costs from $10,000 to $350 per mold set
  • Create durable tooling that can produce more than 10,000 bottles per mold
  • Enable multiple design iterations to allow for timely verification of downstream activities

More Than 10,000 Bottles at 96% Reduction in Cost

PepsiCo went with Nexa3D’s xPEEK147 from Henkel Loctite for the 3D printed tool inserts because of its strength and impressive performance features, like its high heat-deflection temperature. This hybrid approach can work with different types of 3D printers, but PepsiCo has found that the super-fast, high-capacity Nexa3D NXE 400 3D printer and its materials are perfect for making the mold parts they need.

A full set of molds can be produced in just 12 hours, with 8 hours of printing and 4 hours of curing. These hybrid molds can then be used for over 10,000 bottles before needing replacement – all at a cost reduction of up to 96% compared to traditional metal tooling.