3D printer Stratasys, engineering consultancy DB ESG, Angel Trains, a British train leasing company, and train operator Chiltern Railways will partner to trial 3D printed components to be employed in in-service passenger trains, marking a first in the UK.
The cross-industry collaboration designed and produced four armrests and seven grab handles, printed using Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc Production 3D printer in ULTEM 9085™ resin. The finals parts are compliant to the rail industry’s fire, smoke and toxicity standards.
Using 3D printing will contribute to the acceleration of the replacement of obsolete parts across the UK rail industry, resulting in both cost and time efficiencies (up to 94%) when compared to using conventional manufacturing methods.
James Brown, Data and Performance Engineer at Angel Trains, states, “A 3D printed replacement part can be produced on-demand and installed immediately. With low-volume production now achievable, we’re also starting to explore how we can leverage 3D printing to customize interiors that are better suited to the passenger commute.” This would improve the passenger experience too.
The consortium will start a new trial with Great Western Railway in the following months.