Home Applications & Case Studies Deutsche Bahn has 3D printed 100,000 spare parts

Deutsche Bahn has 3D printed 100,000 spare parts

Deutsche Bahn (DB), a leading name in the railway industry, has recently made a significant leap in the maintenance of its trains with the aid of 3D printing technology. The company has successfully produced its 100,000th 3D printed spare part, a remarkable achievement that underlines the transformational impact of this innovative technology in the realm of maintenance and manufacturing.

The milestone was marked with the production of a gear housing for shunting locomotives, the largest and heaviest 3D printed part used by the company to date. This indispensable component ensures the efficient operation of the locomotives, and its 3D printed version promises quicker repair times and improved readiness for around 370 locomotives.

Digital Warehouse: Towards a Sustainable Future

One of the most noteworthy aspects of DB’s success with 3D printing lies in its implementation of a ‘digital warehouse’. This continuously expanding database stores virtual technical drawings of spare parts, ready to be printed swiftly and easily as and when needed. This revolutionary approach minimizes logistics and storage costs, shortens delivery times, simplifies logistics chains, and offers a significant degree of independence.

In addition to economic advantages, the digital warehouse approach also contributes to sustainability. It minimizes CO2 emissions and avoids wastage of resources by circumventing the need for large physical storage spaces and unnecessary stockpiling. Furthermore, 3D printing technology itself conserves resources by utilizing only the exact amount of raw material needed for the production of each part.

DB’s journey with 3D printing, which started in 2015 with the creation of simple plastic coat hooks, has now resulted in the production of 100,000 parts for over 500 different applications. From gear housing to wheelset bearing covers, an increasing number of these parts are operationally relevant. DB aims to have around 10,000 different components available in this way by 2030, truly transforming the face of railway maintenance with 3D printing technology.

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