German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) has extended its collaboration with Berlin-based 3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND. Sourcing 3D printing ideas from its employees, in this partnership DB plans to build a ‘digital spare parts warehouse’ using the 3YOURMIND digital workflow.
DB has already been implementing additive manufacturing as part of its vision to improve vehicle maintenance. Encouraging the integration of 3D printing technology into the company’s existing processes Uwe Fresenborg, CEO of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung (Vehicle Maintenance), previously stated, “For the maintenance of our vehicles we need immediately available spare parts.
“Our trains are expected to roll, 3D printing helps us in doing so. Printing is faster, more flexible and cheaper than conventional manufacturing processes.”
Identifying the best employee ideas
Currently, DB encourages its employees to make project suggestions through its “3D printing employee challenge,” which also aims to educate about the technology. Using 3YOURMIND’s Additive Manufacturing Part Identifier software tool (AMPI), the railway giant aims to standardize this process.
Launched in 2017, AMPI was developed by 3YOURMIND to save time and costs for companies, and comes equipped in its Enterprise and eCommerce software platforms. Screening the data in a company’s current inventory, or in DB’s case employee suggestions, AMPI automatically suggests suitable parts for 3D printing. Using the outcome of this process, experts at DB will then decide on the most effective 3D printing applications to then move into production, giving credit to the employee.
Deutsche Bahn’s ongoing use of additive manufacturing
Deutsche Bahn’s use of 3YOURMIND’s AMPI software expands upon the pair’s ongoing partnership. Previously, Deutsche Bahn employed 3YOURMINDS’s technology as part of the Mobility Goes Additive project, in order to reduce the costs of maintaining inventory by using 3D printing to produce on demand replacements.
Furthermore, the development of the digital spare parts warehouse proceeds previous news that DB planned to 3D print its spare parts. Since then, DB have been able to 3D print almost 15,000 spare parts and other products, helping to achieve significant savings and reduce vehicle downtime. The railway company has also used 3D printing to ‘revolutionize’ the maintenance of its vehicles.
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Featured image shows different types of Deutsche Bahn trains. Photo via Deutsche Bahn.