Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printing For Trains


Tessa Blokland  

Siemens Mobility Additive Manufacturing

At least 3 times a week I take the train. I love it: sit back, relax, with some reading or working. I think you can say I am an overall satisfied customer, even when certain train services are canceled at the last moment and my whole planning hits the fan! But what actually happens behind the scene of the announcement ‘Dear travelers, the 6 pm service is canceled due to a broken train. The expected delay will be 60 minutes.‘? Apart from the regular wearing of material and equipment you never know which part will break, right? The additive manufacturing opportunities for trains are enormous, as you can read in the post below. Today is also the final day of InnoTrans, the bi-annual trade fair for transport technology of which I am sure that additive manufacturing is part of.

One of the first 3D printed parts that could be found in a Deutsche Bahn (DB) train was a coat hook. That was in 2015. It opened the possibility to 3D print spare parts for older vehicles or systems, which are no longer available or only deliverable with difficulty and long waiting times. The 3D printed headset is such an example; it takes about 20 hours to 3D print. This might seem a long manufacturing time, but according to DB, it is an inexpensive alternative for the traditional way.

Also, NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, meaning Dutch Railways) realized the advantages of AM. Costly physical inventory and warehouses, minimum order quantities and long lead times, can all be decreased with the use of additive manufacturing. The component in the Pick below contains additively manufactured spare parts for Dutch Railways’ coaches.

DB also explores the use of 3D printing in other aspects of the world of trains. For example, DB created 3D printed metal parts with braille for individualized handicapped signs in order to help the visually impaired navigate the Berlin’s Central railway station.

Siemens, a German manufacturer of train and locomotive parts and other rail solutions, recently opened a service center in Germany. The Siemens Mobility RRX Rail Service Center focuses on using additive manufacturing for customized repair, spare parts and tooling (see the customized 3D printed tool for a bogie, also on top). According to Siemens Mobility, the manufacturing time of parts has been reduced by about 95 percent.

LEO Lane Weekly Pick 3D Printed  Train Parts

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your own 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.

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