Ultimaker, a desktop 3-D printing company, says Heineken is using its equipment to produce a variety of custom tools and functional machine parts to help manufacturing at the company’s Seville brewery in 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 the work.
Isabelle Haenen, who is responsible for global supply chain procurement at Heineken, said: “We are still in the first stages of 3-D printing, but we have already seen a 70-90% cost reduction in the applications so far undertaken — along with a similar percentage decrease in the delivery time of these applications.
“Moreover, local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output. We use 3-D printing to optimise the manufacturing line, create safety tools and quality-control tools — and create tools that help us to reduce change-over time on our machines.”
At the Seville brewery, which produces several brands of Heineken-owned beers and has a production capacity of up to 500 million litres of beer per year, Heinekin engineers have been using 3-D printing for about 12 months.
The process was first used for safety applications, but the engineers quickly learned that time and cost can be saved by printing customised functional parts for machines on the manufacturing line.
CEO of Ultimaker Jos Burger said (www.ultimaker.com
): “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.
“Heineken is a prime example of a company that is using the Ultimaker S5 as an all purpose manufacturing machine.
“We have enjoyed watching Heineken’s use of these machines evolve over the past year, from safety applications to the creation of fully functional parts for machines.”