Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker has announced that compatriot brewing company Heineken has been using its printers to produce custom tools and machine parts for its brewery in Sevilla, Spain.
The brewery produces around 400mn litres of beer for Heineken-owned brands per year, proof if it was needed that 3D printed parts can hold their own even in high volume manufacturing arenas. Heineken’s engineers have been using Ultimaker’s machines for about a year, starting with the Ultimaker 2+ and later upgrading to a set of larger, enterprise-ready S5 machines.
Isabelle Haenen, of Global Supply Chain Procurement at Heineken, said: “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%. Local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output. We use 3D printing to optimise the manufacturing line, create maintenance and quality control tools, and create tools for our machines which help us increase safety for our people. I think there will be even more purposes in the future.”
In their press release, Ultimaker detailed a number of use cases where Heineken benefited from the technology. These included the optimisation of existing parts as well as the creation of entirely new, specialised tools for the performance of maintenance and quality control. Ultimaker also detailed how its printers were used to promote safety, giving the example of printed locks for Heineken’s machines.
“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 Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker. “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.”