10 Amazing Product Personalizations You Can Do With a Robot

Personalized products are not just a bit of fun. They can give you that competitive edge which could take your business to the next level. Robots are a perfect way to achieve easy personalization. Here are 10 amazing ideas you can try for yourself.

We are currently living in The Age of Personalization, according to a survey report from Mastercard and the Harvard Business Review. In the past, personalized products were just a fun extra to a company’s product range; a quirky curiosity that most people wouldn’t even think of buying. But, that has changed completely over the last decade or so.

According to the survey, 80% of professionals (who were readers of the Harvard Business Review) say that personalization is an important part of their organization’s strategy. Personalized products were found to deliver the most competitive advantage, ranking No. 1 out of a list of 15 personalization tactics.

Many consumers now expect personalization of the products and services that they buy. Another survey by Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. A Deloitte consumer review found that 25% of customers are willing to pay more for a personalized product or service.

Robots are a great way to bring personalization to your product lines. One of the reasons they are so good is that the are very flexible — you can achieve many different types of personalization with just one robot.

Here are 10 amazing product personalizations that you can achieve with a robot.

1. Laser Engrave Customer Logo or Name

Probably the most common personalization is to use a laser engraver to etch a logo onto the product. Laser engraving tools can be easily attached to the end of a robot. Some robot models are even specifically targeted at laser engraving as one of their applications (e.g. the Dobot M1 and uArm).

It’s possible that you already laser engrave your own company logo and other information onto your products. If so, adding the customer’s logo or name is an easy way to personalize their product.

2. Make Sculptures With Robot Milling

It’s now possible to create 3D models of a person or object using the data generated by a simple 3D scan.

You may have noticed that services offering “sculptures of yourself” are springing up all over the place. Most of these services can only make miniature models, but robot milling is capable of producing full-scale sculptures from a 3D scan.

A recent project involving RoboDK was the RapCaviar Pantheon project designed by NeoSet Designs for Spotify. They used the same process to create these amazing statues of rap artists using robotic milling.

3. Etch a Customer Message

Although laser engraving is the most common method of adding personalized text, it is certainly not the only method. There is a range of different engraving technologies (e.g. rotary engraving, etching) which can be used with a robot. Each technology produces a slightly different style of engraving.

To pick a random example, you could use etching to carve a personalized message into a plastic or ceramic coffee cup.

cup stl

4. Engrave Entirely Personalized Designs

The previous personalizations have both involved adding a small name, logo, or message to an existing product. However, you can also engrave a completely customized product using the same engraving tools for your robot.

Unlike CNC engraving machines, there is no limit on the size of products that can be engraved using a robot (if you use external axes to extend the robot’s workspace).

5. 3D Print Customer Models

With 3D printing, your customers can send you any design they want to produce, allowing for a very flexible degree of personalization. Robots are a great option for 3D printing as they do not have the size limitations of other 3D printers.

Customers don’t even have to produce the designs themselves. There are even huge online directories of 3D models which people can download and customize. Hero Forge one example of a company that has made its entire business out of easy-to-customize personalized products.

6. Personally Painted Products

Consumers love choosing the colors for the products that they buy. Most companies already provide a range of colors for their product ranges. However, robot painting can allow you to add an even more personal touch to the products. Robots give you complete control over how the product is painted, compared to less flexible automated painting techniques like dip coating.

With a robot, your customers could pick exactly how they want their product to be painted.

7. Mill Customized Products

Robot milling can extend your personalization capabilities even further by allowing you to produce full-scale products in a range of materials. For example, we’ve seen Sunrob robotics make hockey sticks with robot milling. The sticks were customized to the exact size and shape needed by the professional ice hockey players.

Robot Machining Wood

8. Sign Products “by Hand”

In a world where eBooks can be downloaded in seconds, physical book signings are surprisingly popular these days. It seems that people like the personalized touch of a hand-written message. Imagine how it would look if your products all had a personalized message signed onto them in pen.

Robot drawing is an easy way to add seemingly-handwritten text onto a product. It’s just as easy to do as any of the engraving methods listed above.

9. Make Pyrography Art

Adding photos and images is one way to make very personalized products. Consider how photo printing services have changed their business model in recent years. In the past, they made their money by printing photos. Now, photos can often be printed for free and they make money with personalized mouse mats, mugs, cushions, etc.

Pyrography and laser engraving can be used to turn normal photos into unique art prints. Like the other engraving methods, these can be achieved with the right robot tool.

10. Anything You Can Imagine

Many of us are not used to thinking about how we could personalize our products. However, it gets easier to think of great ideas once you’ve done a bit of brainstorming.

Here’s an exercise to get you started:

  1. Write down a list of 5 to 10 of your products.
  2. For each one, write down 5 ways that you could add some personalization to that product.
  3. Then, try out your idea in a robot simulator.

Remember, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalization!

How could you personalize your products with a robot? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or in the RoboDK Forum.

Alex Owen-Hill

About Alex Owen-Hill

Alex Owen-Hill is a freelance writer and public speaker who blogs about a large range of topics, including science, presentation skills at CreateClarifyArticulate.com, storytelling and (of course) robotics. He completed a PhD in Telerobotics from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid as part of the PURESAFE project, in collaboration with CERN. As a recovering academic, he maintains a firm foot in the robotics world by blogging about industrial robotics.

View all posts by Alex Owen-Hill

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