Within the transport industry, German railway leader Deutsche Bahn was an early adopter of 3D printing technologies—five years ago, it even founded its own 3D printing division. As of 2018, the company reported having 3D printed nearly 15,000 spare parts and other products for its trains, including coat hooks, headrests, cable boxes and more. Now, the company is aiming to ramp up its additive efforts by extending its partnership with software provider 3YOURMIND.
Based in Berlin, 3YOURMIND’s software platform enables users to optimize industrial AM processes, from digital workflows to machine utilization. Within Deutsche Bahn, 3YOURMIND’s software is being used to collect new and innovative 3D printing ideas from across the country, and to standardize the AM process within the company.
By extending their partnership, Deutsche Bahn will further enable its employees to propose and share 3D printing applications through an easy-to-use digital interface. The software then analyzes the submitted ideas and identifies the use cases with the most potential. Deutsche Bahn experts can then consult the list to determine which products or parts would benefit most from 3D printing.
Ultimately, the railway company hopes to leverage 3YOURMIND’s AM Part Identifier tools to educate its employees about additive manufacturing in an engaging and productive way. In fact, the software it actually part of the company’s 3D Printing Employee Challenge, which seeks to actively get workers from across Germany involved in the AM effort.
At Deutsche Bahn, 3D printing is being used to cut down costs for replacement parts as well as to reduce train downtime. For older train models, especially, it can often be difficult to replace certain components which are no longer in production, which means that trains are often left unused while the part is sourced. AM, however, enables these rarer and harder to find parts to be produced on the fly, drastically reducing down times.
3YOURMIND’s software platform is playing an important role in Deutsche Bahn’s goal of establishing a full digital spare parts warehouse.