Czech Railways will use 3D printing for vehicle maintenance

Reducing costs and shortening the delivery time are the two main advantages of the introduction of 3D printing within Czech Railways in the maintenance of railway vehicles. Modern technology is being tested in Prague and Karlovy Vary, and will be extended to other locations in the future. In the initial phase, ČD selected 55 different parts, which they can produce themselves through 3D printing. These are various smaller plastic parts, nuts, sleeves, hinges, grilles and the like.

These are often only supplied as part of a larger and more expensive unit. They evaluated that in these cases, the delivery of the spare part for repair will be shortened by up to 52 days and the annual savings for only 13 selected components amount to approximately 800,000 crowns per year.
Czech Railways focused on 3D printing mainly for parts with a long delivery time, parts delivered only as part of a larger unit, where it is necessary but unnecessary to replace a large and expensive unit and adequate repair can be provided by a small part at a “crown” price, or parts , which are no longer available on the market and had to be replaced by other parts.
For the effective use of 3D printing, the project is grasped in groups (involvement of subsidiaries – ČD Cargo, DPOV) and a platform was created within the company for experts who deal with this technology and a central digital data warehouse of individual components intended for own production. All such parts must be approved by the design office and other specialists, and some of them are also subject to assessment, resp. approval by the relevant accredited persons.
In the next stage of the use of 3D printing within Czech Railways, investments in 3D printers in 9 main maintenance centers, acquisition of additional SW licenses for 3D model creation, training of relevant experts and development of existing cooperation with external partners in the field of 3D printing are planned. in the Czech Republic (eg universities) or abroad. There, they have experience with 3D printing of spare parts, for example the German DB railway or the Austrian ÖBB railway.
The 3D printing implementation project is part of the Czech Railways 2030 Strategy.

Source: Aktuality – 2D a 3D CAD Design Software by

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