Stratasys trials first 3D printed components put in on UK passenger trains with Angel Trains and DB ESG 1
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Stratasys trials first 3D printed components put in on UK passenger trains with Angel Trains and DB ESG

Stratasys trials first 3D printed components put in on UK passenger trains with Angel Trains and DB ESG 2

Main 3D printer OEM Stratasys, along with British rolling inventory working firm (ROSCO) Angel Trains, Derby-based engineering consultancy DB ESG, and prepare operator Chiltern Railways are trialling 3D printed components onboard a prepare within the UK.

Reportedly the primary ever 3D printed parts deployed inside an in-service passenger prepare within the nation, the components embody 4 armrests and 7 seize handles. They’ve been efficiently put in and trialled on Chiltern Railways trains, with the goal of demonstrating the advantages enabled by 3D printing for the railway , particularly rushing up the method of sourcing substitute components.  

“That is an thrilling time for the UK rail ,” feedback James Brown, Knowledge and Efficiency Engineer, Angel Trains. “With this know-how, prepare operators could be far more conscious of changing passenger-facing components that get broken or vandalized.” 

“A 3D printed substitute half could be produced on-demand and put in instantly.”

3D printed components on Chiltern Railways prepare. Photograph through Stratasys.

A consortium tackling the railway utilizing 3D printing

The cross-industry collaboration between Angel Trains, DB ESG and Stratasys was first introduced in December 2018, the place it was revealed that the corporations have been partnering to 3D print substitute components for trains

As a ROSCO agency, Angel Trains, owns and maintains railway carriages and engines, and leases them to coach working corporations, like Chiltern Railways, the Nice Western Railway (GWR) East Midland Trains, and Arriva Rail London.

DB ESG alternatively is a consultancy enterprise owned by the main European railway firm Deutsche Bahn, the corporate behind the mobility goes additive community. Deutsche Bahn can be utilizing 3D printing for the on demand substitute of components on trains, partnering with the likes of GEFERTEC and 3YOURMIND to 3D print spare components

The goal of the three-way consortium is to leverage 3D printing to beat the issues surrounding the substitute of out of date components throughout the UK rail . These points embody the small variety of prepare fleets throughout the rail and their ageing situation, with some mentioned to be over 30 years previous. Prepare operators are subsequently introduced with a number of challenges in relation to car upkeep and half substitute. 

“In current occasions, we’ve seen rising concern amongst operators that sourcing substitute components for older prepare fleets at an affordable price and in a short while body is proving more and more troublesome,” explains Brown. “The issue is that conventional manufacturing strategies solely make it cost-effective to provide excessive volumes of spare components, despite the fact that an operator might solely want a couple of out of date prepare components changed. As well as, lead occasions can take months.” 

3D printed armrests on Chiltern Railways trains. Photo via Stratasys.3D printed armrests on Chiltern Railways trains. Photograph through Stratasys.

Stratasys FDM saves money and time for prepare operators

3D printing can permit prepare operators to supply replacements components faster, subsequently reducing the time it takes to get trains again into service. This in flip improves each the upkeep of the trains and the standard of service for passengers, which Angel Trains, DB ESG and Stratasys hope to display. “For this reason we have now teamed up with DB ESG and Stratasys, displaying how operators can overcome these hurdles through the use of 3D printing to provide the precise quantity of components they want at a fraction of the time and value of conventional strategies,” Brown provides.

For instance, the lead time for armrests at present in-service with Chiltern Railways utilizing standard manufacturing strategies is roughly 4 months, based on Brown. Utilizing Stratasys FDM 3D printing, the identical armrest could be manufactured inside every week, reducing the lead time by 94 %, with doable financial savings of as much as 50 %, per half. 

Moreover, sourcing seize handles proves troublesome as Angel Prepare’s authentic provider is now not in operation. To make the components themselves, it will price the agency as much as £15,000 ($18,587), as it will require an funding into a brand new manufacturing device. The manufacturing lead time of the half would even be two and a half months. Nonetheless, all seven seize handles have been produced in three weeks, with a decrease price per half, utilizing 3D printing. 

3D printed armrests on Chiltern Railways trains. Photo via Stratasys.3D printed armrests on Chiltern Railways trains. Photograph through Stratasys.

DB ESG was accountable for testing a variety of industrial-grade 3D printing supplies, guaranteeing that they have been compliant to the UK rail commonplace EN45545-2. The ultimate iteration of the components have been 3D printed utilizing the Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer in ULTEM 9085 resin. The fabric was licensed to the rail ’s hearth, smoke and toxicity requirements. Martin Stevens, Mechanical Engineering Supervisor DB ESG feedback: “Attaining certification removes a significant barrier that has prevented extra widespread implementation of 3D printing throughout UK trains.” 

“Our position 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.”

The trial’s success implies that the group have created a repeatable manufacturing course of for 3D printed components which can be compliant with rail requirements and appropriate to be used in passenger automobiles. Stratasys, DB ESG and Angel Trains now plan to start its subsequent trial with Nice Western Railway. 3D printed components will likely be built-in inside a collection of the operator’s trains over the following few months.

The three corporations are additionally exploring how 3D printing can allow personalized interiors which can be higher suited to the passenger commute. For instance, the businesses have examined seat again tables 3D printed with essential info in braille, like the placement of the bathroom. Brown explains that such customization is “unprecedented and may solely be enabled by 3D printing, providing the potential to considerably enhance each the servicing of trains and the passenger expertise sooner or later.”

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Featured picture exhibits 3D printed seize handles put in on Chiltern Railways prepare. Photograph through Stratasys.

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