Additive manufacturing can be quite interesting. Source: Shutterstock

Additive manufacturing can be quite interesting. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s why Heineken is so excited about additive manufacturing

ADDITIVE manufacturing, the professional name for 3D printing inside commercial hubs such as industrial plants and factories, has been up and coming for many months now.

In recent months, organizations experimenting with additive manufacturing have made news with interesting use cases — however, experts believe that the technology is just beginning to take off and has a long way to go in 2020.

Recently, the fifth-annual edition of a report released by an online 3D printing company highlighted that 63 percent of respondents believe that the technology will play a significant role in manufacturing and business.

Another interesting insight that the report found was that companies exploring or using 3D printing often use other exciting technologies in the manufacturing space — such as laser cutting, CNC machining, and waterjets.

Finally, the report identified a special group of 3D printing power users and found that this specific group was sold on the technology and said they would increase spending on tools and products related to the technology by at least 50 percent.

Although large enterprises don’t seem to be included in the report, a large chunk of big businesses seems to be investing heavily in additive manufacturing.

Heineken, for example, is using additive manufacturing.

Engineers at the brewing company, according to a press release, can now design and print safety devices, tools, and parts on-demand rather than outsourcing the job to external vendors, increasing production uptime, and saving around 80 percent in production costs on the parts they 3D print.

“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 percent and also a decrease of delivery time of these applications of 70-90 percent,” said Heineken Global Supply Chain Procurement Manager Isabelle Haenen.

“Local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output. We use 3D printing to optimize 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.”

Overall, the reality is that additive manufacturing brings incredible savings as well as a lot of support for organizations. In the future, more organizations can use the technology to drive innovations and reduce costs.