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Heineken: 3D Printing to the MAX

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Heineken: Ensuring production continuity with 3D printing


With over 150 breweries around the world, Heineken is one of the largest global producers of beer. One brewery in Seville, Spain, produces famous brands such as Cruzcampo, Desperados, Heineken, and Amstel. The beer is brewed, packed, and then shipped throughout Spain and beyond. Packaging Manager, Juan Padilla González has implemented 3D printing to increase uptime and efficiency at the Seville brewery.

Ultimaker 3D Printing in Seville, Spain brewery

"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

Employee safety is the top priority within Heineken, and they first designed improved safety latches, which are used during machine maintenance. These are applied to almost all the machines in the brewery. When the machines are stopped, these latches will be locked, preventing anyone from accidentally starting a machine while someone is doing maintenance.

The latches are printed in bright red to ensure their visibility. This application was not only useful, but the extra safety feature created awareness and appreciation of 3D printing among employees.  

The latches are printed in bright red to ensure their visibility.

After the initial success of the safety latches, other 3D printed application opportunities were identified.  

Ideas were investigated, and new parts designed. The first of these was to print spare parts that had proven difficult to replace. Outsourcing discontinued parts or importing them is expensive and time-consuming. The team immediately saw that 3D printing these not only saved time and money, but was also able to print plastic parts which could function as structural replacements for metal parts.

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. Plastics are lighter than most metals, and are relatively strong when the right design principles and materials are applied. It’s also very easy to redesign parts to work even better, without the constraints of outsourcing.

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.

Ultimaker’s range of materials has proven useful to 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.

After using Ultimaker S5 printers in Seville for a year, 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.  

Steven van de Staak

-May 21, 2019

The Ultimaker S5



Leading the Future of Performance Products With Customized Manufacturing

Learn how Formlabs armed New Balance with the completely new 3D printing material and production system they needed to launch TripleCell, a new platform that’s poised to deliver the true on-demand performance customization that today’s consumers crave.

Formlabs armed New Balance with the completely new 3D printing material

Consumers Have Changed, Manufacturing Hasn’t

The modern consumer demands custom products that can be ordered from anywhere, from a variety of devices, and quickly delivered. On digital platforms, customization is everywhere. Physical products, constrained by the rigidity of traditional manufacturing, haven’t caught up.

A Material Made for the Future

New Balance needed a 3D printing material that would withstand the necessary manufacturing and end-use applications, plus offer performance beyond what’s possible with foam—but it didn’t exist.

The Formlabs materials team collaborated with the company to develop a completely new material from the ground up. The result is Rebound Resin. Designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures, Rebound Resin has a much higher energy return, tear strength, and elongation than any other Formlabs stereolithography (SLA) resin.

“The world is changing. People want custom things made just for them that have higher performance and that can ship overnight.”

- Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer, Formlabs

A New Production System for a New Kind of Product

Following a robust R&D program iterating through hundreds of exploratory material formulations to create Rebound Resin, Formlabs worked closely with New Balance to develop a production system to bring TripleCell to life and fully realize the benefits of the new 3D printing material.

Formlabs worked closely with New Balance to develop a production system to bring TripleCell to life

The Formlabs consulting team collaborated closely with New Balance from beginning to end to create a seamless production workflow, from custom software features to on-site support, dedicated supply chain, and more:

Material development

Production workflow


On-site support

“TripleCell is really on the leading edge of bringing New Balance domestic manufacturing into the digital age.”

- Katy O’Brien, Engineering Manager, New Balance Manufacturing Innovation

Get to know the SLA 3D printers that power New Balance’s TripleCell platform. Order the Form 3 or Form 3L and start exploring your own 3D printing applications today.

The information above was provided by articles posted by Ultimaker and Formlabs. We hope you enjoyed these interesting two articles about two outstanding 3D Printers. If you have any queries or would like to order one of these babies, we are just a phone call away!

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