Siemens builds Train parts with Stratasys 3D Printer

25 April, 2017

"Before 3D printing, we were forced to produce high quantities of parts in order to make the project cost-effective, and store excess parts until they were needed"

Additive manufacturing gains hold in heavy industries and may change the concept of how to manufacture various industrial parts. The recent example came from Siemens, the German Industrial giant. According to Stratasys from Rehovot (Israel) and Minneapolis (USA), the Mobility Division of Siemens, utilized its Fortus 900mc 3D Printer to produce customized final parts for German transport services provider, Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu Ulm Verkehr.

Low volume – but cost effective

Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer

In this way Siemens Mobility was able to overcome the barriers of traditional low-volume production and printed final tram parts in a matter of days compared to weeks with traditional methods, while diminishing the need for costly tooling. Siemens Mobility develops technology for vehicles and infrastructure for transport machines. But for the rail industry, if a replacement part is not in stock, Siemens would need to purchase the machinery or tools to manufacture it. From a cost-perspective, Siemens was limited to only taking orders above 10 parts, since lower volumes can’t justify the production cost.

Production down from weeks to days

“Our production services become much more flexible and tailored to our customers’ needs since we introduced the Stratasys 3D Printer into our manufacturing process,” said Tina Eufinger from Siemens Mobility Division. “Before 3D printing, we were forced to produce high quantities of parts in order to make the project cost-effective. For small volume part demands from customers, we would store excess parts until they were needed. Now create a design that is 100% customized to the specific requirements. This took our production time down from weeks to days.”

“Availability as the most important asset”

Driver seat armrest printed for the SWU Verkehr tram

This was demonstrated in a production project for SWU Verkehr, which offers transport services across 10 rail networks in thecity of Ulm. SWU recieved 3D printed parts include customized armrests for the driver seat and housing covers for the ‘coupler’ (the cover of the link between two tram carriages).

Andreas Düvel, Siemens Mobility Sales Representative said that customers such as SWU Verkehr see availability as the most important asset to their business. “Trams need to be available and run constantly throughout the day. Through customized additive manufacturing we are achieving maximum customer satisfaction, as the client is actively participating in the creation and optimization of its parts. This would simply not be possible with mass production.”

3D printing Goes online

Beyond offering 3D printed production parts for customers in the transport industry, Siemens Mobility division has expanded its business branch online, with customers able to order customized 3D printed parts. Customers who require replacement parts or who need to make changes to existing ones can go online and request the desired part, which is subsequently 3D printed and delivered to them. This has given birth to an on-demand production business model, whereby customers can have part requirements met how and when they need them.

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Posted in: 3D Printing , News