Heineken’s Successful Integration of 3D Printing for Enhanced Brewery Efficiency

With a global presence boasting over 150 breweries, Heineken stands as one of the world’s largest beer producers. Notably, their brewery in Seville, Spain, known for producing renowned brands like Cruzcampo, Desperados, Heineken, and Amstel, has embraced 3D printing under the guidance of Packaging Manager Juan Padilla González to boost uptime and overall efficiency.

Juan Padilla González (right) is responsible for Sevilla's
hugely successful 3D printing pilot

Juan Padilla González (right) is responsible for Sevilla’s hugely successful 3D printing pilot

Optimizing the manufacturing line.

The Seville plant, capable of producing up to 500 million liters of beer annually, consistently seeks innovative ways to enhance efficiency. The exploration of 3D printing possibilities began with the establishment of a dedicated 3D printing lab. The team set clear goals to elevate output, uptime, and safety, recognizing 3D printing’s affordability, flexibility, and rapid implementation capabilities.

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%.

Failure is cheaper and faster

Safety first

Prioritizing employee safety, Heineken designed and implemented improved safety latches for machine maintenance, enhancing safety across the brewery. These bright red 3D-printed latches, visible when machines are stopped, prevent accidental starts during maintenance, fostering awareness and appreciation of 3D printing among employees.

LOTO Safety Equipment

Functional parts for the manufacturing line

Following the success of safety latches, the team identified additional 3D-printing applications, starting with the production of spare parts that were challenging to replace. 3D printing not only saved time and money but also enabled the creation of plastic parts serving as cost-effective structural replacements for metal components.

Functional Part

3D printed functional replacement parts can be created without stock

Optimizing part designs

The iterative nature of 3D printing allowed the team to replace various machine parts with optimized designs, addressing specific issues like bottle blockages on conveyor belts. Redesigned 3D-printed parts proved effective in saving bottles, money, and time.

Heineken optimized the conveyor belt bottle guide with 3D printed parts so that blockages are prevented

Heineken optimized the conveyor belt bottle guide with 3D printed parts so that blockages are prevented

Tools for quality control and maintenance

Custom tools, jigs, and fixtures were 3D printed to streamline maintenance processes. Tools printed from Tough PLA, such as the stopper tool, reduced production costs by 70% and delivery time from three days to one day.

3D printed tools make maintenance easier and less time consuming

3D printed tools make maintenance easier and less time consuming

3D printing enables Heineken to create custom quality check tools

3D printing enables Heineken to create custom quality check tools

Choosing the right material

Heineken Spain utilizes 3d printer’s range of materials, including Tough PLA, Nylon, and TPU 95A, chosen for their mechanical properties suitable for enduring the challenges of the manufacturing line.

Initial pilot plant results

After a successful year-long pilot project with Ultimaker S5 printers, Heineken reflects on increased employee safety, lead time reduction, and an average cost reduction of 80% for all printed parts compared to historically sourced components.

3D printing has proven to be a technology that helps us, brings value to us, and enables our people to work more efficiently

Global adoption of 3D printing

The success in Seville has prompted Heineken to explore scaling the benefits of 3D printing globally. Additive manufacturing facilitates collaborative problem-solving and solution-sharing, accelerating the deployment of new applications and reducing environmental costs associated with international freight and transportation.

In summary, Heineken’s strategic incorporation of 3D printing has proven transformative, enhancing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and setting the stage for broader global adoption.


After a year of implementing 3D printers in Seville, Heineken deems the pilot project a triumph. The outcomes, including heightened employee safety, reduced lead time, and an overall cost reduction for all printed parts, reinforce the success of the initiative.

The strategic use of 3D printing for manufacturing line components on-demand has allowed Heineken to optimize functionality and on-time availability. Adjustments to the design of functional machine parts have contributed to increased line efficiency, while custom tools have significantly eased and expedited maintenance and production changeovers for employees.

On average, Heineken reports that the delivery of all required parts is 80% faster than external sourcing. Furthermore, the costs of 3D-printed parts are, on average, 80% lower than traditionally sourced components. The success of Seville’s 3D printing initiative continues to capture attention, prompting Heineken to further explore the potential for widespread benefits in the realm of additive manufacturing.