In fact, replacement parts printed by Stratasys industrial 3-D printers can be found on 60-year-old trains. "The rail industry is a lot like aerospace in terms of requirements," says Scott Sevcik, vice president of manufacturing solutions at Stratasys, which serves industries from aerospace to automotive. "Solutions that aerospace drove are now spilling over."
Once company taking advantage of 3-D printing is Siemens Mobility, which has been using Stratasys printers like the Fortus 900mc since 2015 to provide solutions for its rail customers.
Trains can go a lifetime needing only two or three replacements of specific parts. Traditional manufacturing requires bulk orders, and replacement parts that are paid for, but never used, get scrapped. With additive manufacturing, Siemens can instead make a single part to order, saving time and money.
One such railroad customer is SWU Verkehr GmbH, which provides rail transport in Germany. Siemens employed Stratasys' printers for this customer to create customized armrests for drivers and housing covers for the trains' couplers.
But in addition to simply creating replacement parts, Michael Kuczmik, Head of Siemens Mobility customer service, tells me that additive manufacturing allows the company to go further: improving those parts for existing applications.
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