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Spare Parts For The Train Come From The 3D Printer

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Spare Parts For The Train Come From The 3D Printer
Spare Parts For The Train Come From The 3D Printer

Video: Spare Parts For The Train Come From The 3D Printer

Video: Spare Parts For The Train Come From The 3D Printer
Video: oorail.com | 3D Printing Spare Parts - Loco Works Wednesday #18 2023, May

It goes on layer by layer: A laser beam melts metal powder together in a 3D printer at Trumpf and thus produces the paddle wheel of a steam locomotive. It is part of a steam generator that generates electricity for the electrical systems on the locomotive. The steam locomotive cannot drive without this wheel

In the past, the repair of a worn paddle wheel required a lot of work because the component had previously consisted of 90 individual blades. Waiting and delivery times for special parts are often up to 24 months. This also applies to spare parts for Deutsche Bahn (DB) trains.

Picture gallery

Over 1000 spare parts available via 3D printing

With 3D printing, DB can produce metal spare parts within a short period of time, thus drastically reducing delivery times. "In this way we can ensure a better supply of spare parts and make the vehicles available to our passengers more quickly," said Stefanie Brickwede, project manager for 3D printing at Deutsche Bahn.

In addition to saving time, 3D printing has another advantage: Even today, spare parts can not only be built, but also improved, as the example of the turbine blade wheel shows. "3D printing makes it possible to manufacture plastic and metal parts in a way that is not possible with conventional manufacturing processes," says Klaus Parey, Managing Director at Trumpf Additive Manufacturing.


When is it worth using 3D printing?

3D printing also saves material and costs. Spare parts are no longer stored in large quantities, but only manufactured when required. This print-on-demand process makes it possible to produce only the parts that are really needed.

The technology also requires less raw material. Production waste can be minimized, inventories reduced and transport routes are eliminated due to the pressure of the parts in the immediate vicinity.

Manufacture components weighing 27 kg in metal 3D printing

The spare parts production started with 3D printing with a simple, light gray plastic coat hook. Today, DB can even use metal printing processes in a 3D printer to produce metal components weighing more than 27 kilograms for ICE trains, such as the so-called “box set”. This component is mounted under the car body and ensures that the car runs safely in tight bends or when passing switches.

The DB also uses 3D printers to produce parts for the interior of the trains in the comfort area. For example, the 3D printers from Trumpf manufacture a cover for the luggage rack in the ICE.

Since 2015, Deutsche Bahn has already produced more than 10,000 spare parts in a 3D printer. Today, it can produce a total of more than 130 different parts: These include, for example, fan wheels, headrests for regional trains, different housings such as a terminal box that protects sensitive cables for the train drive, or spare parts for coffee machines.

In order to print spare parts even faster and in larger quantities in the future, DB has its suppliers certified in 3D printing. Testing and certification is currently carried out by TÜV Süd. DB's goal is to have thousands of different spare parts available on 3D printing by 2021.

Seminar tip

The 3D printing seminar in direct digital production conveys the technology, suitability and requirements of 3D printing and gives the participants an overview of the developments, possibilities and limits.

3D printing in vocational training

DB is also integrating 3D printing into vocational training for the first time. All around 200 young professionals who started their apprenticeship in one of DB's twelve major maintenance plants in September 2019 will in future be producing parts using 3D printing as part of their training. Since commercial and technical training has not yet taken 3D printing into account, DB has developed its own training content for this.

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