The first time we heard a beer company use 3D Printing, it was to 3D print a faucet, for customers who run draught systems. Famous beer producer Heineken shares today other applications of the use of the technology.
It’s been a year already that the Seville-based subsidiary of Heineken Group takes advantage of 3D Printing. They started with Ultimaker S2+, then gradually moved to Ultimaker S5 3D printers that offers a better rendering in terms of production.
The Sevilla brewery produces several brands of Heineken-owned beers, with production capacity of up to 500 million liters of beer per year.
3D Printing was first used for safety applications; over time, functional parts for the manufacturing line have started being produced to save time and money.
For instance, a metal part used with the quality sensor on the conveyor belt would often knock bottles over, creating a blockage, or eject good bottles onto the ground. By redesigning the 3D printed part, they have been able to prevent it, saving bottles, cost and time. The company also created new tools to achieve maintenance or check the quality of products or machines. As far as working conditions are concerned, they designed and 3D Printed parts that will enable to prevent accidents at work.
“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 optimize the manufacturing line, create safety and quality control tools, and create tools for our machines which that help us to reduce change over time. I think there will be even more purposes in the future.”
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