Heineken: Ensuring production continuity with 3D printing

Heineken: Ensuring production continuity with 3D printing

The world-renowned Heineken Brewing Company (Heineken) has more than 150 production plants around the world. It produces a number of well-known beers in the Seville plant in Spain. It is brewed, packaged and re-delivered to you and me. The Seville plant has a capacity of up to 500 million liters of beer a year, but Heineken is still pursuing higher efficiency and opening the path of 3D printing .

Optimizing the manufacturing line

The Seville plant is able to produce up to 500 million liters of beer per year. Heineken didn’t stop there. They always look into new possibilities to improve their already impressive efficiency. That’s why they started to investigate the possibilities of 3D printing.

Heineken plant

“We’re still in the first stages of 3D printing but have already seen a reduction of costs in the applications that we found by 70 - 90%, and also a decrease of delivery time of 70 - 90%"

Safety first

The Seville plant is able to produce up to 500 million liters of beer per year. Heineken didn’t stop there. They always look into new possibilities to improve their already impressive efficiency. That’s why they started to investigate the possibilities of 3D printing.

These 3D printed security locks are suitable for almost all machines in the factory. When the machines are stopped, these latches will be locked, preventing anyone from accidentally starting a machine while someone is doing maintenance.

Heineken 3d printed part

Having a custom 3D printed key depository box is an extreme convenience because the factory environment is usually very busy, it is easy to lose small objects such as keys and wrenches in the chaos; and the storage device that can be combined with the machine by using 3D printing is Staff transfer and small tools are integrated into systemized accessories.

Heineken 3d printed part

Functional parts for the manufacturing line

Producing functional parts, tools, jigs, and fixtures on your own is a step up compared to the traditional method of ordering spare parts abroad then you have to wait countless time and large amount of money. Just print them in-house!

Optimizing part designs

The great thing about 3D printing is that it’s easy to iterate designs to perfection. An engineer can rapidly create alternative designs and test parts on-site, all while keeping cost and production times relatively low.

3D printed part

Tools for quality control and maintenance

Companies commonly 3D print custom tools, jigs, and fixtures. Heineken has made various tools to make maintenance easier and faster on their machines. These tools are usually printed from Tough PLA, which is easy to print, with similar strength and flexibility to ABS. One of these tools is the stopper tool, which loosens and tightens the columns of guiding wheels that apply bottle labels. Before adopting 3D printing, this tool had to be custom made using CNC machining.

Choosing the right material

The collaboration of Ultimaker with the Global Material Companies strengthens the company to provide useful materials for Heineken Spain. Many of the printed parts will endure stress, high temperatures, moisture, or numerous impacts over a long period of time. That’s why having the right materials for applications is so important.

Heineken Spain makes use of a variety of Ultimaker materials such as Tough PLANylon, and semi-flexible material TPU 95A. These materials have excellent mechanical properties to withstand the wear and tear of the manufacturing line. Tough PLA is often used for pushers and tools, while Nylon is used for parts that need to function with metal parts. TPU 95A’s flexibility is ideal for bumpers and protective parts.

Heineken Spain office

Initial pilot plant results

After a year of 3D printing using Ultimaker S5, Heineken considers the pilot project a success. The results of increased employee safety, lead time, and cost reduction of all printed parts have added to that.

By 3D printing functional end-use parts for the manufacturing line on-demand, Heineken was able to optimize the functionality and on time availability. By adjusting the design of functional machine parts, Heineken has increased line efficiency. The custom tools have made performing maintenance and production changeovers considerably easier and faster for employees.

Heineken Spain office
Learn more about the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle for manufacturing continuity

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