Case study

A Drop of Technology Adds Sophistication To An Exceptional Vodka

Protolabs and the Comate design office combined their skills to help Sergio Diovisalvi and Cédric Cornélissens finalise the closure system for the vial of XAU® vodka.

3D Model Xau Vodka Lid

Protolabs have collaborated with Comate Engineering & Design to finalise a cap system for sealing the XAU® vodka bottle. Working together they designed and produced a discreet but indispensable injection moulded part for the packaging – a small concession to technology and the only one the team at XAU were willing to give due to the brand’s association with tradition.

XAU®. Traditional French luxury with a modern twist

Each bottle of XAU vodka is a work of art fashioned by the skilled hands of French luxury artisans. From the drink itself, where attention focuses on the high quality raw ingredients – distilled, filtered and matured in oak barrels – to the bottle, made by a master glass-maker and coated in 24-carat gold, everything about XAU is exceptional.

To communicate the sumptuousness of their vodka, Sergio Diovisalvi and Cédric Cornélissens chose to call it XAU, the code for one troy ounce of gold on the stock markets. And they decided to present it in unique packaging – a bottle shaped like an ingot, placed flat in its case. The bottle combines tradition and modernity, tearing up the rulebook for prestige spirits packaging.

Luxurious, even in the opening and closing of the bottle

Box of Vodka Xau

Luxury is an experience that often comes with detail. And within the XAU vodka detail there had to be a sensation when opening and closing the bottle. It was on this important point that Sergio and Cédric called in Comate and Protolabs, commissioning them to create an insert housed in the cap that would ensure connection with the bottle itself. The connection needed to work with the right amount of force necessary for opening and closing: neither too much nor too little.

An insert that is both technical and discreet

After working on two prototypes using Protolabs’ additive manufacturing service, Cédric turned to Comate on the advice of Protolabs’ Account Manager, David Scott. The collaboration with Comate led to the fine-tuning of the design for mass production.

“We provide full advice to our customers but we do not intervene on the 3D file itself. Cédric had a clear idea of what he wanted but the design of the item was not finalised. To respond to this kind of situation we typically recommend design companies with whom we have full confidence.
Vodka Xau Bottle

Sander Van Den Dries, Director of Comate, added: “Protolabs is a parts manufacturer that requires optimised files for its machines. We know exactly what Protolabs needs to have the best chance of producing perfect parts.”

“We reviewed the design to be suitably aesthetic, functional and feasible for injection moulding. We reworked the thickness of the insert and the positioning of the magnet; we also added gutters for depositing glue to secure the whole thing together. The new design was finalised in just 3 days.”

“There are a lot of skills required for good design for manufacture and many product designers do not posses all these skills. By using a design company they can focus on making decisions and reduce the time to market.”

From concept to finished item in 3 weeks

Thanks to Comate's efficiency and responsiveness in fine-tuning the design and Protolabs' rapid digital manufacturing capability, Protolabs was able to create the mould tools and deliver the first 15-piece production run in just 3 weeks.

The very first bottles of XAU vodka arrived in time for initial sales in a pilot area.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the care shown by Protolabs and Comate towards our project. The rates are competitive and the lead times surprisingly short. As for the received items, we have checked them all around and they are perfect”

Sergio Diovisalvi summarised: “We were pleasantly surprised by the care shown by Protolabs and Comate towards our project. The rates are competitive and the lead times surprisingly short. As for the received items, we have checked them all around and they are perfect.

“We particularly appreciated dealing directly with our contact people and the technical assistance we received. We just explained our problem and Comate and Protolabs delivered the solution. We will not hesitate to call on them again if we have changes to make.”



About XAU®

XAU vodka is an artisanal spirit produced in Burgundy from the pure waters of the Vosges and a selection of the highest quality French wheat.

It has intense character due to quintuple distillation in two centuries old stills, followed by maturing time in oak barrels. This gives XAU a beautiful golden colour and exquisite taste of citrus mingling with roasted notes.

An exceptional vodka presented in a handmade bottle coated in pure gold, XAU is a perfect embodiment of what France does best in terms of luxury and refinement.