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3D printing deployed for low-volume replacement parts in trains and trams

3D printing deployed for low-volume replacement parts in trains and trams

05 May 2017

The Mobility Division of Siemens is pioneering the use of Stratasys FDM (fused deposition modelling) 3D printing technology by producing customised final production parts for German transport services provider, Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu Ulm Verkehr. In order to meet the German rail industry's criteria for production parts, Siemens is using a flame, smoke and toxicity compliant thermoplastic resin 3D printing material from Stratasys to align with necessary fire protection requirements. This enables Siemens to employ the 3D printed parts – which serve as lightweight and durable transport parts – directly into the trams. Using a Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, Siemens is able to overcome the barriers of traditional low-volume production by 3D printing final tram parts in a matter of days compared to weeks with traditional methods, while also eradicating the need for costly tooling. Siemens Mobility develops technology for vehicles and infrastructure for transport machines. Prior to its 3D printing production capability, it faced a challenge in being able to meet increasing customer demands for one-off customised parts. For the rail industry, if a replacement part is not in stock, Siemens would need to purchase the machinery or tools to manufacture it. This is not only a lengthy process, but from a cost-perspective, Siemens was limited to only taking orders above 10 parts, with lower volumes unable to justify the cost.