SPAIN – The Danish beer maker, Heineken has tapped 3D printing solutions from Ultimaker, the global leader in desktop 3D printing to support manufacturing operations at its brewery in Seville, Spain.

Using a set of Ultimaker S5 printers, engineers at Heineken now design and print safety devices, tools and parts on-demand rather than outsourcing to external vendors.

Previously, Heineken would outsource those parts to third party vendors and with the new technology, it is expected to achieve about 80% savings from production costs.

The Seville brewery produces several Heineken-owned beer brands, with a production capacity of up to 500 million litres of beer per year.

Using Ultimaker technology, Heineken has created new tools that make it easier to perform maintenance or check the quality of products or machines.

To increase worker safety, the brewer has also developed improved locking mechanisms for machines, so they don’t start operating during maintenance.

“We’re still in the first stages of 3D printing, but we’ve already seen a reduction of costs in the applications that we found by 70-90% and also a decrease of delivery time of these applications of 70-90%,” said Isabelle Haenen, global supply chain procurement at Heineken.

“Local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output.

“We use 3D printing to optimise the manufacturing line, create safety and quality control tools, and create tools for our machines… I think there will be even more purposes in the future.”

What Ultimaker technology can achieve:

  • Printing parts for the production line to avoid downtime and create parts on demand.
  • Tweaking and optimizing part designs. Heineken has retooled designs as it replaces parts.
  • Creating quality control and maintenance teams.
  • Bolstering safety by printing parts that prevent accidents.

“Every company has its own unique challenges in the production process, which is why the ability to create custom solutions straight from the factory floor is such a game-changer for the manufacturing industry,” said Ultimaker CEO Jos Burger.

“Heineken is a prime example of a company that’s utilising the Ultimaker S5 as an all-purpose manufacturing machine.

“We have enjoyed watching the use case evolve over the past year, from safety applications to the creation of fully functional parts for machines that lead to significant savings, and we cannot wait to see what they come up with next.”