3D printing – Additive manufacturing specialist Stratasys has announced at Hannover Messe 2017 that Siemens' mobility division is using Stratasys 3D printing technology to print customised parts for a German transport services provider.
With the aid of the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, Siemens prints armrests and coupling protection parts for Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu Ulm (SWU) Verkehr. The advantage of using additive manufacturing instead of traditional methods is that the parts are finished sooner. They can also easily be adjusted without time- and cost-consuming processes and tool purchases.
Prior to its 3D printing production capability, Siemens Mobility faced a challenge in being able to meet increasing customer demands for one-off customized parts. For the rail industry, if a replacement part is not in stock, Siemens would need to purchase the machinery or tools to manufacture it. This is not only a lengthy process, but from a cost-perspective, Siemens was limited to only taking orders above 10 parts, with lower volumes unable to justify the production cost. “Our production services for end-use parts have become much more flexible and tailored to our customers’ needs since we introduced the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer into our manufacturing process,” explains Tina Eufinger, Business Development, Siemens Mobility Division.
3D printed parts include customised armrests for the driver seat and housing covers for the ‘coupler’ (the cover of the link between two tram carriages).
In order to meet the German rail industry’s criteria for production parts, Siemens is using a flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) compliant synthetic thermoplastic 3D printing material from Stratasys to align with necessary fire protection requirements. This enables Siemens to employ the 3D printed parts – which serve as lightweight and durable transport parts – directly into the trams in Ulm.
Andreas Düvel, Siemens Mobility Sales Representative Customer Service, explains: “Customers such as SWU Verkehr see ‘availability’ as the most important asset to their business – trams and services need to be available and run constantly throughout the day in order for the transport company to be profitable."