IMC Newsdesk

Siemens Expands 3D Printing for Rail Maintenance

  • April 22, 2020
  • William Payne

Siemens Mobility, the rail and transportation arm of Siemens AG, is expanding its use of 3D printing. The company uses Stratasys 3D printing systems to support rail maintenance in Germany and the UK. It is now acquiring two new industrial 3D printers from the Israeli firm to produce parts for its rail maintenance operations in Russia.

The move follows a recent business win for Siemens Mobility to build 13 additional high-speed Velaro trains for Russian train company, RZD, including an agreement to maintain and service the trains for the next 30 years. This is the third Velaro order from RZD for Sapsan fleet due to the availability levels of Sapsan trains in daily operation, supplementing an existing fleet of 16 trains.

Two Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D Printers have been installed in St. Petersburg and Moscow, enabling Siemens Mobility Russia to transform its maintenance operations. The Siemens team can now rapidly 3D print rail replacement parts on-demand. The investment marks the start of Siemens Mobility’s ‘Easy Sparovation Part’ network in Russia, which aims to optimise services using 3D printing and a digital inventory of original train parts, facilitating the in-house replacement and production of spare vehicle components.

“These availability figures would be physically impossible to achieve through external part sourcing and traditional manufacturing techniques alone, but Stratasys’ FDM 3D printers gives us the capability to cost-effectively produce the parts in-house, partially eliminating the need for warehousing or tools for a selected range of items,” said Alexey Fedoseev, Head of Customer Services, Siemens Mobility Russia. “We have already seen the success of the Siemens Mobility ‘Easy Sparovation Part’ business in Germany, where this technology has provided us time-per-part savings of up to 95% compared to traditional manufacturing methods.”

By storing all part data online, Siemens Mobility can access and replace older or newer train parts ad-hoc to meet tight time limits.

“The manufacture and delivery of an additional 13 new Velaro trains will see us work on multiple vehicles over a long period of time, and within very strict time constraints. As a result, 3D printing makes for a perfect add-on to aid our production and provides us with the flexibility to replace and create parts ourselves, anytime they are needed,” adds Fedoseev.

The Fortus 450mc 3D Printers allow Siemens Mobility to print rail parts in industrial-grade materials, with highly durable properties that can survive Russia’s extreme temperatures. In particular, Stratasys provides materials which are the key to achieving the material certification of interior train cabin parts from the industry’s regulatory bodies.

Bjoern Richter, Strategic Account Manager Siemens, Stratasys, said, “Thanks to the efficiency-driving capabilities of 3D printing, it’s no surprise that rail maintenance and service providers are continuing to adopt the technology to boost customer service, maintenance, and part-manufacturing. Siemens Mobility is certainly a pioneer in this regard, driving the uptake of this technology within the rail and mobility sector. We continue to collaborate closely to ensure our solution best addresses the specific needs of this sector and explore entirely new application uses for 3D printing within transportation.”