When the three students Philipp Krais, Hubertus Bessau and Max Wittrock created MyMuesli.com, an online shop for individualized cereal, in 2007, it quickly became a much talked about phenomenon. Their customers can combine 80 ingredients and create 566 trillion different cereal mixes ranging from oats with raisins to coconut with goji berries. The founders’ dedication to high quality ingredients, customization and service brought the start-up success. After establishing a solid online presence in Europe, the company began opening stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Now, they are offering customized cans for the first time in one of their flagship stores in Heidelberg, Germany.
Customers can choose among pre-mixed cereal varieties in the store. “Individuality is a big topic for us”, says MyMuesli spokesperson Lilly Wittrock. “Now, we are offering a new level of customization – in real time.” MyMuesli has installed one of Heidelberg’s 4D Jetmaster systems that allows customers to print customized photos and messages onto their cereal cans. The printing process takes about two minutes while customers wait or enjoy some coffee and muesli.
The printer manufacturer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen (Heidelberg) configured the printer to suit the needs of MyMuesli and installed it in the shop. It is the first machine of its kind that Heidelberg has installed directly in a store, according to the company. “Heidelberg supports creative ideas with digital printing technologies that bring added value to the consumer”, said Heidelberg in a statement.
The Heidelberg 4D Jetmaster was set up in the store in the beginning of the month and the customers’ response has been very positive so far: “Many customers were happy to have found the perfect Christmas present”, Wittrock says. Customers pay extra for individualized messages and images and MyMuesli pays a certain fee per user to Heidelberg in addition to the leasing rates. The company has developed a special can for an optimized print result and is offering the service only in the city of Heidelberg at present. But theoretically, the new individualized packaging design could be expanded to other stores, says Wittrock.
Heidelberg has publicly introduced its 4D printing method two years ago for the first time. Back then, it was only capable of printing in black and white. While 4D printing often describes 3D printing with materials that adjust their form after being exposed to a stimulus, Heidelberg uses the term to describe digital inkjet printing onto three-dimensional objects supported by precise robotics. In November, Heidelberg presented the system for four-color printing in Munich. The Jetmaster can print on the surface round or cylindrical objects with a diameter of between 10 and 300 millimeters with a resolution of 360 dpi. The system is not only well suited for cereal cans but also for bike helmets, golf balls and water bottles.