3D printing craftNews

Deutsche Bahn has already printed 100,000 spare parts on 3D printers

Getriebegehäuse BR29x im Fahrzeuginstandhaltungswerk (FZI) Dessau, gefertigt im indirekten 3D-Druck mittels Rapid Casting

Rapid Casting ist die ökonomische 3D-Druck Antwort für große Metallbauteile und behebt Obsoleszenzen. Eine Negativform wurde im Sanddruck erstellt, in die das fast 1m3 große, über eine halbe Tonne schwere Bauteil abgegossen wurde. Lieferzeiten für Ersatzteile können so deutlich reduziert werden.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has reached the number of 100,000 spare parts produced using 3D printing technology. The 100,000th part is a gearbox housing for shunting locomotives. With a volume of almost one cubic meter and a weight of 570 kilograms, it is the largest and at the same time the heaviest 3D printed part used by the group. The spare part is necessary for the operation of the shunting locomotive – without it the vehicle is stationary and cannot be operated. Ultimately, thanks to the higher speed and efficiency offered by 3D printing technology, approximately 370 locomotives will benefit from this, as they will be able to be repaired faster and reused in shunting operations.

Using conventional manufacturing methods, the part would only be available from a locomotive manufacturer with a long delivery time of ten months on average. By choosing a replica in 3D printing technology, DB reduced the delivery time to two months. The new gearbox casing is manufactured using the Binder Jetting process, where sand is bonded with a liquid binder, the same as used in foundry, to create molds and cores for later casting of parts.

The gearbox housing is part of a digital warehouse that DB is constantly developing. 3D models of spare parts are stored in a database and can be produced quickly and easily using 3D printers if required. This saves logistics space, storage costs, shortens delivery times and logistics chains – and thus creates complete independence from third parties. In recent years, global crises such as the C19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine have exposed the vulnerability of complex supply chains to crises.

DB also ensures increased sustainability. Shorter distances and smaller physical warehouses avoid CO2 emissions and waste of resources due to stockpiling. In addition, 3D printing itself saves resources, as only the raw material that is actually needed is used for production. This is more economical than machining, where parts are milled from a block of material. In addition, 3D printing extends the life cycles of vehicles, as components that are no longer available from the manufacturer can also be produced with 3D printers.

This is how Daniela Gerd Tom Markotten, Member of the Management Board of DB for Digitization and Technology, comments: “3D printing changes service and maintenance. It saves time, money and resources because we can produce spare parts at the touch of a button thanks to the “digital warehouse” and we do not need large inventories. In times of global supply bottlenecks and raw material shortages, 3D printing is more important than ever.”

DB is a world leader in 3D printing for the railway industry. What started in 2015 with simpler spare parts, such as a plastic clothes hanger, has grown to 100,000 parts for over 500 different applications. More and more of them are of operational importance. This also includes steel parts such as wheel set bearing caps for shunting locomotives, box joint for ICE trains or gearbox housings for shunting locomotives. Currently, around 1,000 virtual models are stored in the digital warehouse. By 2030, around 10,000 different components are to be stored in the warehouse in this way.

DB uses its own 3D printers and a partner network for production. At the end of 2016, the Group launched the “Mobility goes Additive” network. More than 140 companies – from 3D printer manufacturers and 3D printing service providers, to universities and start-ups – work together to promote innovation together. Various 3D printing processes are used, including FDM/FFF, SLM and Binder Jetting.

Source: www.deutschebahn.com
Photo: www.mediathek.deutschebahn.com (press materials / all rights reserved)

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