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Bendita Llave, the 21st Century locksmith’s using 3D printing

Between €100 and €400. This is what it might cost you if you absent-mindedly leave your keys inside your house, can’t remember where you left them, or lose them completely. To that is added the anxious wait on the landing or outside the front door for who knows how long. It was clear to the Bendita Llave founders that technology could improve this situation. How? With 3D printing.

The idea occurred to them at a course on digital product design. The CEO Agustín Casado, the CPO Claudia Cuevas and the CMO Nahún Retamal had to work on everyday problems and, talking about the never-ending ‘drama’ of losing your keys, Retamal said, “how about we print them?” What seemed like a ‘light bulb moment’ has turned into a project that is now part of the insur_space by MAPFRE acceleration programme.

At Bendita Llave they have designed an algorithm that, using photographs, can generate a 3D model that is identical to a key. “When you register on our website, you can create a new keyring with three individually named keys. Using the photographs that you’ve uploaded, we identify the model and create a digital copy. When a customer needs it, we print it and deliver it to a designated place in under 45 minutes”, explains Casado.

Bendita Llave 2 - insur_space by MAPFRE

To do this they 3D print it with a recyclable polymer from a renewable source that lasts a few uses, which makes the process faster, cheaper and more sustainable. “We say that the plastic keys we supply are like the spare wheels of a car: they last for 80 kilometres and get you to the body shop. Our key is for an emergency, giving you time to pick up the keys that you had left inside or to get a copy made”, says Cuevas. Their long-term goal is to be able to print metal and send permanent keys, and as such they have started to collaborate with the IMDEA institute.

At the moment, they are getting ready to provide a service, and along the way they are picking up improvements. “There are parts of the process that are manual, but we are clear on how to automate them – these are the next steps to make it faster and more agile”, indicates Casado. To get started they will have the support of MAPFRE, with whom they are already considering how to implement their service. “We could incorporate it as an add-on to home insurance, cheaper than a locksmith’s and with a better response time,” explains the CEO.

On the subject of security, it is normal to wonder whether information such as this is secure or whether someone could use it to gain access to your home. That’s why at Bendita Llave they have a clear line on this matter: “We externalise the personal information, in such a way that the data are disconnected and we don’t know where the person lives, only where they want us to go to hand over the key,” indicates Cuevas.

In addition, they don’t save the digital model, but “a thread of encoded numbers and letters that make no apparent sense, and that can only be decrypted using our algorithm, which is extremely well protected”. Cuevas sums it up; “nothing is 100% secure, but it is much more likely that someone would steal your house keys or force the lock”.

At Bendita Llave they are not only concerned that the material they use is sustainable, they also only work with environmentally responsible companies and they strive to ensure that their own company is eco-friendly. The CEO explains: “A company is not only an entity that generates wealth, it also has a social impact that affects its surroundings. That is why we have a HR manager, most of our staff are women, we offer flexible working, etc. From the outset, we want to create the company that we want for the world we want”.

To watch the full interview, click here.