Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Biodegradable Smart Cups Offer an Instant, 3D Printed Boost of Energy

ST Medical Devices

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How do you get through the day – with a cup of coffee or a glass of ice-cold Coca Cola, or an energy drink the likes of Red Bull and Monster? According to Mordor Intelligence, the global energy drink market reached $55 billion in 2017, and Grand View Research believes that number will ramp up to nearly $85 billion by the year 2025.

While most companies that manufacture energy drinks do offer a low-calorie or sugar-free alternative, and are marketed as being a convenient choice, they’re still not great for you. The concept could definitely stand to be disrupted – which is exactly what Smart Cups, a ‘beverage industry disruptor,’ wants to do.

Smart Cups CEO and Founder Chris Kanik said in a statement, “This delivery system is a scientific breakthrough that the food and beverage industry has never seen before. Putting the power of science into a cup, Smart Cups provides a more convenient, hassle-free and eco-friendly beverage experience for consumers. We’ve developed a game-changing delivery method that consumers will be able to experience through our initial line of energy drinks. This delivery system print technology will become the new standard for a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, beverage, water purification and beyond.”

Kanik, an entrepreneur and chemistry veteran, called on microcapsule technology expert Sal Celeste, the CEO of Massachusetts engineering company The Additive Advantage, to help the company develop the proprietary technology, said to be the first of its kind, behind its next-gen energy drinks.

Single-serving Smart Cups are biodegradable, 3D printed polycapsule cups, and when users fill the cups with water, they turn into energy drinks. Microcapsules, containing vitamins and minerals, are printed right onto the surface of the cup, and the ingredients are activated when it’s filled with water, resulting in an instant, self-transforming, sugar-free energy drink.

Similar to how Printlets, by pharmaceutical company FabRx, deliver personalized, 3D printed medicine, Smart Cups are basically a 3D-polycapsule printing delivery system.

According to the Smart Cups website, “Our gang of savant future-thinkers have broken the mold so many times we ran out of molds. So when we invent a groundbreaking process for which there are no words to best describe it…WE INVENT A NEW TERM. Smart Cups Technology is name for the proprietary process that allows us to 3D print the “stuff” or Katalyxt.”

The self-stirring, energy-boosting magic of the Katalyxt is activated just by filling the Smart Cup with water, and delivers several nutritional ingredients in one 9-ounce dose. Kanik believes the company’s patented process will become, as The Spoon puts it, “a standard for a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, beverage, water purification and beyond.”

Smart Cups come in four distinct flavors: Magna Cum Latte, Nerdy Lemon-T, Pucker Up Brain Boost, and Tropical Recess, and are available for purchase from the company’s website in packs of 5 cups for $11.99, while 10 cup packs cost $17.99. In addition, the company is running a Launch Collection Special – you can purchase a pack of 20 cups, which includes all four flavors, for $35.97, which equals a savings of about $9.

The eco-friendly Smart Cups, which are plant-based for a reduced carbon footprint, boast no sugar and zero calories, though they do contain a few additives, like sodium bicarbonate. But, considering each Red Bull contains about 37 grams of sugar per can, I’d say that Smart Cups is definitely the better choice when it comes to energy drinks.

The stackable design of the Smart Cups packs is also great for storage efficiency, resulting in a shipping and delivery cost reduction. The current product line is marketed for busy consumers looking for a quick energy boost while out and about, though Kanik says the company will expand the line with sports drinks, coffees and teas, juices, and even water purification products.

What do you think of Smart Cups? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

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