3D printing keeps trains running

Stratasys announced its Rail Industry Solution to help passenger trains – from long-haul to urban metros – run on time more frequently and potentially save thousands of euros a day. By using its ULTEM 9085 resin and Antero 800NA material with Stratasys Fortus 3D printers for production, rail operators will be best positioned to leverage additive manufacturing for the production of spare parts on demand that meet strict government certification requirements for smoke, fire, and toxicity. Both materials have passed the European Union’s Rail Standard, EN45545-2. Customers and partners benefiting from the Rail Industry Solution currently includes Angel Trains, Bombardier Transportation, Chiltern Railways, DB ESG, and Siemens Mobility. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Materials 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis

Stratasys’ additive manufacturing consultancy, Blueprint, has estimated that for one major U.S. commuter rail service, every day a train set is out of service costs €18,000, and often a single part that would ordinarily cost less than €100 is all that keeps the train from running. Compounding the challenge, the service life of trains is typically 35-45 years making sourcing spare parts a challenge. By turning to additive manufacturing, train operators can get the parts they need within a day or two regardless of the uniqueness of the part or the age of the train car, minimizing time spent in a maintenance yard and dramatically reducing costs.

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