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German Rail Company DB to Expand 3D Printed Parts

Global Rail News reports on a planned expansion into the 3D printed sphere by German rail company DB.  “From headrests to ventilation grilles, DB has already produced 1,000 spare parts using 3D printers.  By the end of this year that number will have increased to around 2,000” spare parts.

Though DB doesn’t even plan to stop there.  In fact, the company “has ambitions to expand its use of 3D printers further, with as many as 15,000 components expected to be produced using the technology by the end of 2018.”

DB first 3D printed spare parts back in 2015, when they utilized the technology in order to create a coat hook.  These days DB is 3D printing damper components and braille station signs.  “The first spare parts were made of plastic but metal items are now also being produced using a powder bed printing process.  Using this technology, DB has been able to fabricate terminal boxes for Germany’s high-speed ICE trains.”

As Chief Executive of DB Vehicle Maintenance Uwe Fresenborg explains: “for the maintenance of our vehicles we need immediately available spare parts.  Our trains are expected to roll.  3D printing helps us in doing so.  3D printing is faster, more flexible, and cheaper than conventional manufacturing processes, and the vehicles are available again in a very short time and are used for our customers.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Global Rail News

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