DB starts printing 3D metal spare parts

Last week, DB informed that they are taking 3D printing into the syllabus of its vocational training and have started to print 3D spare parts for its ICE series of trains. The objective is to make around 10,000 different spare parts available via 3D printing by 2021.

Why it matters: Looking at classic obsolescence topics of mechanical equipment, 3D printing is an essential solution to provide custom spare in small quantities. With the inclusion into the training program, a next generation will already come with useful skills into the job and will help to transform the classic maintenance philosophies into a more “on demand” approach.

The bigger picture: With the re-integrated capabilities of ECMs being able to manufacture parts themselves, the ownership of the IPR to be handed over to the purchaser becomes more important. If all modern tenders include clauses that require a hand over of all relevant production documents, a currently supplier monopoly market on the spare parts side can turn into a vivid and competitive market.




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