Print so that the trains faster on the track.(Deutsche Bahn)

Parts of the 3D printer: The axle-box that protects the Lok inter alia aufwirbelndem gravel. (Photo: German Railroad, Inc.)

  • German train for the first time also produces heavy and operationally relevant parts of metal 3D printer
  • Shorter waiting times for vehicle maintenance for a strong rail

(Berlin, July 10, 2019) sparks welded the dark blue arc in the 3D printer, layer by layer, the individual wires of stainless steel, to the wheel set bearing for the switch engine takes shape. Protects the Lok inter alia swirling ballast stones. Without this wheel set bearing the vehicle is stationary. Not uncommon, since the spare parts are difficult to obtain in the conventional way in foundries. Waiting and delivery times are in these special parts frequently up to 24 months.

Thanks to the innovative method of the Berlin company GEFERTEC the German Railways can now for the first time Print heavy metal parts and shorten delivery times dramatically. In order for a replacement part can be produced by pressing a button, the DB created from existing drawings or scanned objects design templates for 3D printing.

Prof. Dr. Sabina Jeschke, DB Chairman digitization and technology, said:

“With the breakthrough in metal printing, we can now gradually ensure a faster supply of spare parts and the vehicles go quickly back on track. The aim is to make available approximately 10,000 different spare parts from 3D printing to 2021”.

The first in 3D printing made the end of 2015, a simple, light gray coat hooks made of plastic, as it is a thousand times installed in the ICE trains. Today, the DB can over the metal printing process in the 3D printer even more than 17 kg produced severe, operationally relevant components for ICE trains, such as the so-called “box setting”. This component is mounted under the vehicle body and ensures the safe running of the car in tight corners or when passing points.

To print more quickly and in larger amounts spare parts in the future, the DB can certify their suppliers in 3D printing as the first mobility company. Testing and certification takes on the TÜV SÜD.

But 3D printing saves time. He also saves valuable raw materials. Spare parts are no longer stored in large quantities, but made if necessary. Through this print-on-demand process only the raw material actually needed is used. Production waste is minimized inventories reduced and eliminated transport routes. In order for the additive manufacturing is an important contribution to environmental protection.

DB integrated 3D printing first time this year in vocational training. All 200 entrants starting in September 2019 their education in one of the twelve major maintenance facilities of DB will in future produce parts in the 3D printing process. Since the commercial and technical training has not yet considered the 3D printing, DB has developed its own training content.

Since 2015, more than 7,000 spare parts were manufactured in the 3D printer at Deutsche Bahn already. In total, more than 120 different parts can be made: Among these are, for example, impellers, protects headrests for regional trains, different housing as a terminal box, the sensitive cables for traction drive, or even small parts with great customer action, such as spare parts for coffee machines.