Deutsche Bahn (DB) has certified the 3D printing technology of US company Essentium for the production of spare parts and tools. In the future, components for trains will be printed on demand at a plant in Neumünster.
DB says 3D printing will help overcome supply bottlenecks and material shortages for obsolete parts. In the long term, the company plans to hold digital models for up to 10,000 components, which can then be produced on demand.
Essentium’s high-temperature plastics meet the stringent heat resistance and flame retardancy requirements of rail applications, according to the manufacturer. Compared to conventional plastics, the materials would also have improved mechanical properties.
With flexible manufacturing via 3D printing, DB aims to deliver spare parts faster and reduce costs. According to Essentium CEO Blake Teipel, Deutsche Bahn is proving that additive manufacturing works on a large scale in the rail sector.