Stratasys Blog

Angel Trains, DB ESG, Stratasys and Printing Portal recognized for application of 3D printing solutions in UK rail industry

Angel Trains, DB ESG, Stratasys and Printing Portal have just received “Highly Commended” recognition for a third-place finish out of 20 entries at the annual Railway Industry Innovation Awards, held in London on 28 June.

The collaboration builds on additive manufacturing to address the issue of obsolete parts, reduce whole life rolling stock costs and enable vehicles to remain in passenger service longer. This innovation also has the added potential to lower costs for train operating companies, as smaller volumes of parts can now be produced cost-effectively, rather than in mass quantities.

The group has established a process enabling production of components that comply with rail industry standards and are suitable for use in passenger vehicles. The group leverages Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) additive manufacturing technology and have several successes since the collaboration began less than a year ago. These include:

  • 3D scanning and digitising 80 legacy railway components
  • Successfully fire testing two 3D printed FDM materials, ensuring compliance to Rail Standard EN45545-2
  • Re-designing and 3D printing five railway components, all fully certified for in-service use. 
  • Agreeing to trial 30, 3D printed parts with two operators beginning this summer. This is the first in-service trial of production-ready 3D printed parts in the UK rail industry.

The partners have also agreed to a range of R&D work to further push technology boundaries and speed adoption by the wider industry.

Some comments from our partners:

“This is the beginning of an exciting future in the 3D printing area. AM offers far greater control of the supply chain and has the potential to radically transform the rail manufacturing industry. As one of the largest investors in UK rail, we continue to work hard to ensure that our innovative technology drives industry advances and revolutionises passenger experience. We are collaborating with transport companies from across Europe to help drive this technology and strongly support operators and suppliers in adopting this technology on Angel Trains’ assets.” –Euan Smith, Head of Product Management, Angel Trains

“This has been an exciting project to work on to date. Our role has been in investigating the design, production and finishing of FDM parts, verifying whether the parts comply with rail standards and checking whether they work in the operating environments. We have also optimised the component design of FDM manufacture.” –Martin Stevens, Head of Mechanical Engineering, DB ESG

Founded in 1998, the Railway Industry Innovation Awards is the longest-standing awards scheme in the industry. Organised by the 4th Friday Club, these annual awards celebrate the brightest ideas in the market.

We truly believe this is just the beginning – and together with our partners – we will drive the widespread adoption of 3D printed parts across the rail landscape.

To fully explore the impact of 3D printing on the rail industry, visit our Manufacturing Page for more details.

Eric Bredin

Eric Bredin

Eric Bredin currently serves as Vice President of Marketing for the EMEA region at Stratasys.

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