3D ModelingCase StudiesConsumer Products

Olympia Express using 3D technologies to design world-class coffee machines

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Swiss company Olympia Express has honed the craft of coffee-making for nearly a century. Founded in 1928, the company has a long history of designing and making espresso machines, first with a focus on serving cafes and restaurants and in the 1960s expanding into the production of home-use espresso machines. Over the years, the company has relied on a combination of tradition and innovation in its design and production processes, and this remains true today as it increasingly turns to 3D technologies, such as 3D modeling software and 3D printing, to accelerate product design and development.

This 3D-driven product development process has proven to be valuable to the company which had traditionally relied on 2D design drawings. Not only does 3D modeling enable the espresso machine manufacturer to better visualize new designs, it has also enabled the 3D printing of prototypes and rapid iteration cycles. According to the company, since it started using Siemens Digital Industries Software‘s Solid Edge 3D modeling software, it has reduced development efforts by 50% and has  benefited from being able to feel and test 3D printed prototypes in various materials.

The establishment of Olympia Express’ more advanced product development process was in part the result of its acquisition by Schätti AG in 2011. Since then, the design and production of Olympia Express coffeemakers has been based in Glarus, Switzerland and has relied on Siemens’ Solid Edge software and other innovative technologies like 3D printing.

Olympia Express Siemens
(Photo: Olympia Express)

“When we took over the company, the previous owners had designed in 2D, so the data was very useful to us,” explained Thomas Schätti, CEO of Olympia Express. “The decision to switch to the Siemens Xcelerator software portfolio was driven by our need for precision and efficiency. Solid Edge allows us to create highly accurate 3D models which streamline our production process from design to manufacturing, saving time and resources to be on the top of our game. We remodeled all the parts of the machine in Solid Edge and made new models as well as spare parts. We started afresh and built a complete data engineering set. And since then, we have made various design iterations and improvements to the machines.”

Siemens’ 3D modeling software program was central to the development of Olympia Express’ Mina portable espresso machine. The new model, which was released last month, is a compact and minimalist espresso maker that only requires boiling water and coffee grounds to make a smooth cup of espresso—ideal for traveling. According to Olympia Express, Solid Edge enabled the design team to leverage existing 3D data from previous models to create a whole new product.

The 3D modeling software has also proven valuable for maintenance and servicing operations. Because Olympia Express services machines that could have been made as many as 50 years ago, the ability for engineers to visualize a digital “exploded view” of the system makes it much simpler to identify where spare parts are needed and how to proceed with maintenance as well as to provide accurate documentation for assembly and service.

“Our products make coffee to the quality of an Italian coffee bar with a machine that is just a fraction of the size and cost of a professional machine—the key is that they are built like a professional machine, with the same care, quality materials and careful design,” added Schätti. “We build our machines for a small eternity: they are designed and built to last multiple lifetimes and their use should be a celebration of making an outstanding coffee.”

Consumer Products AM 2024

1,346 polymer and metal AM companies and 143 end-users. Consumer products AM generated $2.6 billion in 2023. Segment expected to grow to $28 billion by 2033 at 26.8% CAGR. This new market study fro...

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