3D Printing Processes

Russian Railways testing 3D printed door handles on trains to improve hygiene

3D printed parts could reduce spread of COVID-19 and other viruses

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Earlier this year, Siemens Mobility announced it had acquired additional Stratasys 3D printing systems to support the production of parts for Russian Railways (RZD). Now, Siemens Mobility has delivered a series of 3D printed parts to RZD, which are being evaluated for use onboard trains to improve hygiene in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RZD is reportedly testing 36 attachments for toilet and driver cab doors that have been 3D printed by Siemens Mobility. The handles enables train doors to be opened using an elbow or lower arm, which can help to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus in public places, as well as other types of germs. The prototype parts are currently installed aboard several Desiro trains operated by RZD in the Moscow area.

Russian Railways door handles

Door handle adapters are among some of the most common parts being 3D printed today to fight the spread of COVID-19. Early on, Belgian company Materialise released an open source design for a 3D printed door handle, which has been implemented across the world to help mitigate the spread of the virus. 3D printing is also being used to produce a broad range of PPE, including face shields and masks, as well as ventilator components and even nasal test swabs.

In the case of Russian Railways, the door handles were 3D printed by Siemens Mobility using Fortus 450mc 3D printers from Stratasys. Siemens Mobility was recently contracted by the Russian rail operator to provide servicing and maintenance for its Velaro trains for the next 30 years. Siemens has installed 3D printers at facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg which will be used to produce spare parts on demand (the company called it the “Easy Sparovation Part” network). In general, AM can help to reduce costs and drastically speed up turnaround times for replacement parts, reducing downtime for trains.

“3D printing gives us the flexibility to manufacture and replace spare parts ourselves any time in daily business,” said Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility. “We’re using this technology now to quickly produce attachments for door handles on demand so we can meet our customers’ growing need for special health and protection measures.”
While the door handles are critical now at the worst of times, it is likely that more hygienic practices will remain implemented once COVID-19 has subsided in an effort to mitigate the risk for future pandemics.
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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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