A cross-industry group has come collectively not too long ago in an effort to improve trains with 3D printed components. At the moment, parts being fabricated through additive manufacturing expertise–reasonably than extra typical strategies–embrace four-passenger armrests and 7 seize handles. These have already been put in in Chiltern Railways trains within the UK for a trial run, with analysis, improvement, and additional coordination by Angel Trains, a number one prepare leasing firm within the UK, 3D printing chief Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), engineering consultancy DB ESG, and the prepare operators at Chiltern Railways too.
The prepare components being created through 3D printing proper now are of specific curiosity as a result of they not solely show the ‘accelerated’ price at which components could be manufactured—however these are components that had grow to be out of date. With 3D scanning and 3D printing, nonetheless, they are often re-created and put again into manufacturing. That is important for industries like trains the place equipment could also be working for many years however it’s not cost-effective to attempt to monitor down one half that the majority distributors not promote—in contrast to automotive components that are widespread and produced in huge volumes.
As very previous components break down, prepare firms should have the ability to exchange them rapidly it doesn’t matter what although, sustaining in addition to providing the perfect consolation and customer support doable to these using trains.
“In current occasions, we’ve seen rising concern amongst operators that sourcing alternative components for older prepare fleets at an affordable price and in a brief timeframe is proving more and more troublesome,” explains James Brown, Information and Efficiency Engineer, Angel Trains.
“The issue is that conventional manufacturing strategies solely make it cost-effective to supply excessive volumes of spare components, though an operator could solely want just a few out of date prepare components changed. As well as, lead occasions can take months. Because of this we now have teamed up with DB ESG and Stratasys, exhibiting how operators can overcome these hurdles through the use of 3D printing to supply the precise quantity of components they want at a fraction of the time and price of conventional strategies,” mentioned Brown.
Brown additionally defined that components just like the armrest often take round 4 months to make with conventional expertise; nonetheless, they had been created in a single week (exhibiting a lower within the manufacturing time of almost 94 p.c) through Stratasys FDM 3D printing. Brown additionally initiatives a financial savings of as much as 50 p.c on components.
“That is an thrilling time for the UK rail ,” mentioned Brown. “With this expertise, prepare operators could be way more attentive to changing passenger-facing components that get broken or vandalized. A 3D printed alternative half could be produced on-demand and put in instantly. With low-volume manufacturing now achievable, we’re additionally beginning to discover how we will leverage 3D printing to customise interiors which can be higher suited to the passenger commute. For instance, we’ve examined 3D printing seat again tables with braille informing the passenger that the bathroom is ten rows again from that specific seat.
“This degree of customization is unprecedented and might solely be enabled by 3D printing, providing the potential to considerably enhance each the servicing of trains and the passenger expertise sooner or later.”
The components had been comprehensively examined not just for power and reliability but additionally for security and compliance with UK rail normal EN45545-2 for 3D printed components. Afterward, the ultimate model of the parts had been printed on a Fortus 450mc Manufacturing 3D Printer utilizing ULTEM™ 9085 resin, which is made to face as much as fireplace, smoke, and toxicity.
“Reaching certification removes a serious barrier that has prevented extra widespread implementation of 3D printing throughout UK trains,” mentioned Martin Stevens, Mechanical Engineering Supervisor DB ESG. “Our function on this venture has been to research the design, manufacturing and ending of FDM components, verifying whether or not the components adjust to rail requirements and checking whether or not they work within the working environments. We have now additionally optimised the element design of FDM manufacture.”
With this venture, the group has efficiently created a viable and repeatable course of, manufacturing 3D printed components that adjust to requirements and can be utilized in trains. After receiving such an ideal response relating to this preliminary venture, the group will likely be performing one other trial of 3D printed components for the Nice Western Railway.
“Having efficiently confirmed the viability of 3D printed components inside trains within the UK, the impression on the normal rail provide chain could be transformative. Prepare operators can eradicate the problems related to bodily inventories by constructing a library of digital stock that may be 3D printed as and after they want it, wherever they want and within the actual amount required. We’re witnessing a brand new period of true on-demand manufacturing with no waste,” concluded Yann Rageul, Head of Strategic Accounts for EMEA at Stratasys.
In relation to 3D printing right now—and transportation, ‘prepare, planes, and vehicles’ undoubtedly come to thoughts as so many industrial components are being printed. Automotive producers like BMW and aerospace leaders like NASA have been utilizing 3D printing and additive manufacturing of their practices for many years, and this expertise has begun to play an element in creating and changing older and newer parts for trains world wide too.
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