The Dutch brewing company is utilising the power of 3D print at its manufacturing site in Spain.
Despite still being in the early stages of its use, Heineken has seen increased productivity and a reduction in production costs by using 3D printing technology to create tools and parts on-demand.
Using a set of Ultimaker S5 printers, engineers at the site in Seville can design and print safety devices, tools and parts on-demand, taking away the need to outsource to external vendors.
“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%,” says Isabelle Haenen, global supply chain procurement at Heineken.
Valeria Tirelli highlights evident benefits in optimized hydraulic manifolds
Northern Italy-based Aidro Hydraulics & 3D Printing is part of a Joint Innovation Programs (JIPs) focused on 3D printing of functional production parts for the Oil, Gas and Maritime industries. Participating companies in the project include giants such as Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, TechnipFMC, Vallourec. Members include companies specialized in additive manufacturing such as Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Voestalpine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, Quintus, HIPtec, University of Strathclyde and Siemens.
The adoption of additive manufacturing in the oil and gas segment can generate advantages in areas such as fast delivery of spare parts and stock reduction, fast prototyping, accelerating R&D and introducing new and innovative solutions. SmarTech Analysis just published a new 180-page report on the upcoming business opportunities for AM in the oil and gas segment. The future looks bright.
Aidro contributes to the JIPs with its technical expertise as a valve manufacturer and as a first adopter of metal additive manufacturing. Aidro’s CEO, Valeria Tirelli, established an internal department dedicated to the design and production with laser PBF systems. The technical experience acquired by Aidro in AM, certified AS/EN9100, enables Aidro to be taken as a model to be compared with the requirements of the guidelines. 3D Printing Media Network spoke with Valeria Tirelli to learn how AM is changing the oil and gas segment for the better.
Peacekeeping missions often take place at remote locations, requiring the army to have a large supply of spare parts on site to keep everything running. Dutch researcher Bram Westerweel comes to the conclusion that taking a 3D printer on a mission to print parts can save hundreds of thousands of euros and, at the same time, reduce the downtime of defense equipment. The savings on operational costs sometimes total more than half. The findings of Westerweel, who received his Ph.D. yesterday, can also be applied to industries with remote locations, such as the offshore industry.
Quick return on investment
The army’s systems have many thousands of types of spare parts. Based on his research, Westerweel expects that a total of 10-20 percent of the components of the armed forces can be made by additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. The total savings by 3D printing on relatively large peacekeeping missions like the ones in Mali and Sudan, could then run up to hundreds of thousands. The printer itself costs a one-off €25,000, making for a quick return on investment. The Dutch army is already experimenting with such a printer in Mali.
“Current geo-political trends are very much in sync with AM, most particularly when talking about cross border trade and governments’ efforts to increase local manufacturing.”
Most people have heard about 3D Printing and its industrial application: additive manufacturing (AM). The mainstream media has occasionally highlighted the technology’s more off-the-wall and outlandish applications but in the industrial world AM is impacting the manufacturing of companies in quite a few sectors. This, necessarily, affects those companies’ supply chain as well. Indeed, within the supply chain itself, the efficiency-enhancing benefits of AM can deliver many quantifiable advantages for supply chain managers. Each advantage, from simplifying processes, through reducing bottlenecks to ultimately decreasing costs is a column in and of itself, but here I’ll just give a taste of the technology’s timely relevance for supply chain managers.
Current geo-political trends are very much in sync with AM, most particularly when talking about cross border trade and governments’ efforts to increase local manufacturing. Physical parts held up in transit are a threat for just-in-time production and local manufacturers. Just recently, the CEO of automotive manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, Dr. Ralf Speth, raised this issue in the context of Brexit, the UK’s impending exit from the European Union.
The technology will revolutionize manufacturing, but how? United Technologies, GE and Honeywell are taking different approaches.
Like the cotton gin and the modern assembly line, 3D printing is the kind of breakthrough advancement that holds the promise to revolutionize manufacturing. The technology lets companies input designs into a printer the size of a small garden shed and have it spit out fully formed, usable products or parts – often at a savings of time, manpower and money.
This potential isn’t lost on industrial giants like General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc. and United Technologies Corp.: if you can make a part cheaper, faster or better, that’s worth something. So all three companies are investing in the technology and using it to rethink the way they run their businesses. But they’re doing so in different and interesting ways.
3D printing is touted as one of the most disruptive developments in manufacturing and beyond. UK-based Simon Knowles, Chief Marketing Officer at Maine Pointe, reflects on the impact the innovative technology can have on supply chain management. He outlines potential benefits of the technology and five ways it will impact the supply chain.
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a process which uses a three-dimensional digital model to create a physical object by adding many thin layers of material in succession, subsequently lowering cost by cutting out waste. This is radically different from current, subtractive production methods where up to 90% of the original block of material can be wasted. Although we tend to think of it as a new technology, the first 3D printer was introduced nearly 30 years ago.
So far, issues such as durability, speed and protection of intellectual property rights have prevented 3D printing from entering mainstream manufacturing. However, the industry is making rapid advancements and it’s only a matter of time before we see it significantly impacting global supply chains and operations. According to the Global Supply Chain Institute (GSCI), “some supply chain professionals predict 3D printing will eventually rival the impact of Henry Ford’s assembly line.” This technology has the power to help companies significantly reduce costs, overcome geopolitical risks / tariffs, improve customer service, reduce their carbon footprint and drive innovation for competitive advantage.
Even companies with the best-laid plans for supply chain digitization often struggle to achieve their goals, and recent Capgemini research provides some insight into the various factors holding some businesses back. The study, which suggests that many businesses remain stuck in the planning phase of digital transformation, offers several useful takeaways.
Released in December, “The Digital Supply Chain’s Missing Link: Focus”report surveyed more than 1,000 supply chain executives in the consumer products, manufacturing, and retail fields.
Key Survey Takeaways
The opportunity for cost savings was the primary motivator for the executives interviewed, with 77% saying that this impacted their decision in aiming to digitally transform the supply chain. Increasing revenues (56%) and supporting new business models (53%) were also cited.
Most companies are still only at an early stage on their journey towards a true digital supply chain transformation. That’s partly due to history, because companies have traditionally sold products and services through linear value chains as well as an antiquated IT infrastructure making even relatively simple digital initiatives a big challenge.
However, as digital ecosystems consisting of market networks enable hybrid forms of cooperation and competition with shared data in the cloud, it is no longer an option to not be digital. One important challenge is identifying the right supply chain use cases that will provide a competitive advantage and can be addressed utilizing a digital-based solution. There are three key digital supply chain trends having significant positive impacts on clients: lights-out planning, blockchain and 3D printing.
3-D printing famously endured a “hype cycle” circa 2012-2015, when popular media took note of the technology and ran with it. Common headlines of the time dubbed 3-D printing a technology right out of Star Trek while many consumer publications and tradeshows (including mainstay CES) cried out for placement of a 3-D printer in every home. This straight-out-of-sci-fi solution would let kids make their own Christmas presents! Rockstars became brand ambassadors. 3-D printing was The Next Big Thing.
Until it wasn’t.
The crash followed and it hit hard, with the resulting whiplash changing the headlines: suddenly 3-D printing wasn’t a savior, it was “dead.” Kids didn’t know how to design their own toys to make, parents had problems calibrating print beds and cleaning material jams and the consumer craze fizzled. With many a token Yoda head landing in trash cans, 3-D printing was laid to (popular) rest.
Supply chain management and the production and storage of spare parts represent something of a sticking point for the global manufacturing industry. Spare and replacement parts have traditionally been stored on shelves in warehouses after having been produced alongside the components used in original production assemblies. Many of these parts will take up space for years, with some going unused but staying put just in case. Out-of-production original assemblies may become fully obsolete once parts are no longer in stock, leaving owners at a loss and needing to reinvest in wholly new products to replace something that may have only been impacted by one broken component that couldn’t be replaced.
Many industries rely on physical inventory to meet aftermarket needs and have accordingly built up global supply and distribution networks.