Alstom’s Achievement: Reaching the 150,000 3D Printed Parts Milestone


Alstom, a mobility company based in Mannheim, has announced a significant achievement in the production of 150,000 parts using additive manufacturing. This development underscores the increasing influence of 3D printing technology in the manufacturing sector.

The company’s Head of Additive Manufacturing Program, Aurelian Fussel, revealed that Alstom has been producing approximately 40,000 parts annually for the past two years. These parts are created from a wide range of materials, including ceramics, polymers, and metals such as aluminium, stainless steel, high-performance steel, and titanium. The applications of these parts are as varied as their materials, being used in everything from machine tools and jigs to replacement parts and new designs.

Highlighting the impressive range of manufactured parts, Fussel cited examples like a headlamp case for a high-speed train in France, a jig for car body shells in Germany, a soft material part for an air conditioning evacuation tube in Spain, and a steel cover for a bogie in the Nordics.

Alstom’s extensive involvement in 3D printing worldwide, which includes numerous hubs and a total of 150 machines, is remarkable. Additionally, there is anticipation for future advancements as the possibility of using robots for extra-large prints in the forthcoming months has been suggested.

According to Fussel, one of the crucial benefits of additive manufacturing is its ability to significantly diminish lead time. There are no minimum order quantities, making it an affordable option, particularly for smaller orders. Moreover, the technology aids in reducing hard inventory, encouraging the building of ‘digital warehouses’ and the availability of ‘on-demand spares.’

The company foresees a shift in the 3D printing market towards a data-driven industry in the future. Digital warehousing is emerging as an innovative business model, with a substantial 20% of train parts now capable of being printed. This transformation allows for the seamless global transmission of digital files, enables localized manufacturing, and drastically cuts lead times. Alstom’s accomplishments demonstrate a significant leap in additive manufacturing, highlighting its adaptability, effectiveness, and potential to reimagine traditional manufacturing paradigms.

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