Reporting from AM Discussion board Berlin 2023, we noticed how 3D printing is used within the provide chain within the automotive, mobility, and protection sectors.
This text gives insights into the railway business provide chain from Siemens Mobility and SNCF. Plus, the query of the effectiveness of utilizing 3D printing to resolve provide chain challenges is addressed by Stratasys and CTC, an Airbus firm.
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How the railway business is utilizing 3D printing within the provide chain
Christian Ochs, the Head of Additive Manufacturing at Siemens Mobility GmbH, describes the weather that make the railway business an fascinating case research for 3D printing, “You even have very refined requirements and norms. And you’ve got numerous regional variations between international locations.”
Ochs additionally underscores the significance of supplying spare components with reliability and on time. He raises a noteworthy level: the ever-present high-cost strain within the railway enterprise. The necessity for high-quality and cost-efficient components in a sector with various regional norms presents a singular set of challenges for additive manufacturing. He suggests a doable resolution is collaborating with prospects and authorities to fast-track the method of reaching extra economical use circumstances.
Ochs additionally highlighted how additive manufacturing is already modernizing railway fleets. Trains endure a complete overhaul after 16 or 18 years, usually together with the introduction of latest screens and air con techniques which might be heavier than their predecessors. 3D printed components, he famous, could be as much as 50% lighter attributable to clever design, enabling upgrades with out vital weight will increase. This not solely saves prices but additionally avoids the time-consuming and costly strategy of acquiring new approvals.
Future fleets of autos could rely closely on the promise of lifetime availability for components that 3D printing might provide. Nonetheless, Ochs confused that additive manufacturing isn’t only a contingency plan for when conventional manufacturing strategies fail. “When creating our subsequent technology of trains, we (ask) the place can we (introduce) additive components? Proper from the start to actually use the design freedom,” Ochs stated.
The Siemens Mobility Head of Additive Manufacturing additionally revealed how his agency was altering the panorama of auto repairs with additive manufacturing.
Ochs defined, “We did an additive redesign; we segmented (the automobile) into components, which has the profit that only one half could be exchanged.” This methodology, he famous, was notably helpful in case of accidents, which might occur between tramcars and autos. “We modernized it, and we did this in a co-creation along with a buyer,” he elaborated. “And the profit is inventory ranges are diminished.”
The method additionally had optimistic implications for inner operations. Siemens created a small restore unit by way of Selective Laser Melting (a sort of 3D printing that makes use of a high-powered laser to soften and fuse fantastic metallic powders), saving supplies and power. “We created a brand new smallest restore unit by way of selective laser melting, which now can face up to 2.5 occasions the load and introduced into the automobile advantages 95% much less materials consumption and naturally much less power consumption as properly,” Ochs acknowledged.
Not restricted to bespoke components, Siemens has additionally launched into serial manufacturing of 3D printed elements. “The instance here’s a nozzle which has 5 occasions the efficiency a traditional half might attain and is 70% lighter,” stated Ochs. So far, Siemens has used laser powder mattress fusion to provide over 100,000 items.
Regardless of these advances, the journey to additive manufacturing of spare components has not been with out challenges. “In fact, we scan our inventories to see if there are components that match higher to be produced additively…all these components up to now had been designed for standard manufacturing,” Ochs famous. The prices of 3D printing can usually be increased, he warned, therefore the necessity to think about extra advantages similar to stock discount and avoidance of penalties attributable to automobile downtime.
Christian Ochs, Siemens Mobility at AM Discussion board Berlin 2023. Photograph by Michael Petch.
Industrialisation of additive manufacturing at SNCF
France’s nationwide state-owned railway firm, SNCF, can be taking a look at an progressive strategy to enhancing efficiency and effectivity. Hélène Sapardanis, venture supervisor of progressive supplies and processes at SNCF, gave an summary of the continuing tasks that goal to combine 3D printing into railway operations. “We’re actually pushing for the industrialization of additive processes within the railway sector,” she defined.
The venture Sapardanis works on is entitled ‘Additive4Rail’, largely geared toward remodeling upkeep processes within the railway business. SNCF’s dedication to upkeep is demonstrated by the truth that it accounts for 30% of manufacturing value for rail service. Primarily, the main focus is on the rolling inventory (locomotives, carriages, wagons, and so forth.). From repairing key elements, remodeling trains, upgrading and overhauling to modifying trains, the scope is immense.
With a substantial 200,000 spare components references for infrastructure and rolling inventory, the potential for additive manufacturing is substantial. “About 10% of this may be remodeled via additive manufacturing,” Sapardanis reveals. She highlights how 3D printing may also help scale back operational downtime by expediting the manufacturing of obligatory components, even recalling a time when a lacking cap for a bathroom held up a high-speed practice.
The expertise additionally affords options to obsolescence points. For older trains the place the unique provider could now not be in operation, creating the required elements turns into a problem. Right here, additive manufacturing might step in to fill the void, retaining these machines in operation.
There are hurdles to be overcome for the complete integration of additive manufacturing within the railway sector. For example, most of SNCF’s spare components designs are in 2D, a format in a roundabout way suitable with 3D printers. Moreover, from a regulatory perspective, there’s a shortage of fabric and course of information from a consumer perspective, coupled with stringent flame retardant necessities. Additive manufacturing prices additionally stay prohibitive, notably for bigger components. And maybe most crucially, adopting additive manufacturing means a whole rethink of the availability chain, from engineering to buying.
SNCF and its companions goal to develop new supplies, enhance using current supplies, and scale back the price of elements. Particularly, the venture has set a aim to develop the flame-retardant materials portfolio within the railway sector. At present, just one appropriate materials exists in the marketplace, which is dear, prompting the necessity for options, in line with the venture supervisor.
As Sapardanis notes, the initiative features a plan for certification proper from the venture’s inception. It’s not an afterthought, for as she says, it’s necessary to not get to the top of a venture and marvel, “what are we going to do with this half?”
The venture has already seen tangible outcomes, with an additive manufacturing cell at a upkeep heart in Saintes, close to Bordeaux. They’ve managed to provide components in-house, providing a glimpse of the longer term path of railway upkeep. One specific achievement is the manufacturing of two shafts, every weighing round 60kg. Whereas the precise software remains to be to be decided, the success of this manufacturing hints on the promising potential of additive manufacturing within the railway business.
Hélène Sapardanis from SNCF at AM Discussion board Berlin 2023. Photograph by Michael Petch
Will 3D printing resolve all provide chain points?
Does utilizing 3D printing to resolve provide chain challenges make sense for everybody? Andreas Langfeld, President EMEA at Stratasys, sees a necessity for much less hype round additive manufacturing and extra concentrate on present doable use circumstances somewhat than fantasizing about printing thousands and thousands of components in a day. “We have to present a full workflow resolution,” Langfeld stated, underscoring the significance of providing not only a 3D printer but additionally software program, obligatory supplies, and certification proofs. He argued in opposition to corporations aiming to provide a big share of components via additive manufacturing as a place to begin. As a substitute, a single half with a fast return on funding might yield vital financial savings and open the best way for additional additive manufacturing.
Equally, Marc Fette, CEO of Composite Know-how Middle (CTC), an Airbus firm, pointed to the complexity of integrating additive manufacturing into the aerospace sector. Regardless of having “100 components that are thermoplastic now,” Fette stated, “It’s somewhat quantity in the mean time. It’s a distinct segment, and it’s not wired into manufacturing.” An important problem lies within the certification and qualification processes obligatory for supplies, strategies, and designs in industries like aerospace, just like railway and shipbuilding.
So, learn how to advance? Sascha Hartig, Coordinator of Additive Manufacturing for the German Navy, revealed that there’s certainly a plan to introduce 3D printers to each navy ship. He emphasised that this wouldn’t be a one-time implementation of a number of machines however somewhat a fastidiously executed, iterative course of involving coaching crew members on utilizing these printers.
The discussions on the AM Discussion board Berlin 2023 mirror the burgeoning curiosity and potential of 3D printing throughout industries, together with the mobility sector. Whereas the expertise affords transformative options, particularly in sectors with intricate requirements and desires, its integration is difficult. Trade leaders name for a realistic strategy, prioritizing real-world functions, workflow options, and addressing regulatory hurdles. The journey to harness the complete potential of additive manufacturing is ongoing, with stakeholders repeatedly exploring avenues to optimize its advantages.
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