In France, the new railway center of Wabtec incorporates Nikon SLM Solutions Metal 3D Printing.


Nikon SLM Solutions and Wabtec have joined forces to establish a 3D printing center in Tours, France, representing a significant milestone for both the railway and additive manufacturing industries. This initiative aims to address a longstanding issue in the railroad sector, which revolves around the difficulty of acquiring aging and obsolete parts. By utilizing Nikon SLM Solutions’ metal 3D printing technology, spare parts can now be manufactured within weeks, resulting in substantial cost reductions, reduced idle train times, and minimal delivery delays.

The 3D printing center encompasses the entire process chain, ensuring top-notch quality from the initial printing of metal parts to comprehensive quality checks and post-processing. Noteworthy inclusions at Wabtec’s facility are Nikon’s SLM 500 machine, alongside an SLM 280 and SLM 800 machine, covering almost the entirety of Nikon SLM Solutions’ product range. The technology will be utilized for various applications, including the production of basic spare parts that are hard to find due to obsolescence or supply chain constraints. Moreover, the center will also manufacture new products for applications like brake systems, pantographs, HVAC, and doors.

Henri de Chassey, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Wabtec Transit, explained that Nikon SLM Solutions was chosen due to their excellent technical options for Aluminum, as well as their proven track record with previously validated parts. The technical team at Nikon SLM Solutions has offered exceptional support throughout the implementation of this project, further validating their selection as a partner.

Mobility goes Additive (MGA), led by Stefanie Brickwede, who additionally oversees AM at Deutsche Bahn, has played a crucial role in promoting the use of additive manufacturing within the rail transportation sector. This collaborative network has served to unite companies globally, highlighting long-term safety solutions in the rail industry. French company Alstom is another key player utilizing 3D printing for rail, leveraging bound metal extrusion to manufacture metal parts like the door stopper, made via Repliqe.

Given the longevity of rail fleets and the challenges involved in maintaining them over decades, additive manufacturing offers a sustainable solution for producing parts on demand, thus mitigating problems related to obsolescence or scarcity. Siemens, a notable German industrial giant, serves as an exemplary case study in this regard. With a recent 35-year contract in India, Siemens is actively utilizing AM to manufacture spare parts, ensuring a consistently high level of availability for their fleet.

Wabtec Corporation has emerged as an early adopter of 3D printing technologies for manufacturing rail components, reflecting rail transportation’s vital role in global infrastructure. The corporation initially focused on prototyping in 2015 but shifted its attention towards metal 3D printing for end-use parts by 2017. Wabtec has invested in a range of 3D printing technologies, including metal binder jetting and laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). The components that will be 3D printed range from brake controller adapters and IOT shield covers to customized dispenser tips and sensor holders. The company aims to 3D print a staggering 25,000 parts by 2025, indicative of their ambitious strategy in this space. Wabtec has managed to reduce the weight of certain transit train parts by up to 75 percent, further demonstrating the efficacy and potential of 3D printing in the rail industry.

The opening of the 3D printing center in Tours perfectly aligns with Wabtec’s strategic focus. The location offers an array of post-processing options, including machining and painting with surface treatment, all of which meet the stringent quality standards imposed by the railroad industry. This partnership marks an exciting development for both Wabtec and Nikon SLM Solutions, opening up new opportunities for growth and innovation.

This new venture in Tours follows Nikon SLM Solutions’ recent sale of two NXG XII 600 Additive Manufacturing Systems to GKN Aerospace, firmly establishing themselves as key players in the additive manufacturing space. Their acquisition of SLM Solutions earlier this year, for €622 million, further solidified their commitment and entrance into the additive manufacturing market.

A New Era in 3D Printing: Wabtec and GE Additive’s Revolutionary Collaboration###

The world of 3D printing is advancing at an incredible pace, and companies are constantly seeking ways to expand their technological capabilities in this growing field. One such company making waves in the industry is Wabtec, a global leader in transportation and logistics solutions. Wabtec recently announced a strategic partnership with GE Additive, a renowned additive manufacturing company, to further enhance their additive manufacturing capabilities. This partnership is set to revolutionize various industries and showcase the transformative power of 3D printing.

Wabtec’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technology is evident in their decision to become an early customer of GE Additive’s H1 binder jetting technology. This bold move further solidifies their position as a forward-thinking leader in the transportation industry. It is worth noting that Wabtec’s decision to use GE Additive’s H1 binder jetting technology instead of their Concept Laser line for LPBF is an interesting choice. However, this decision may stem from Wabtec’s merger with GE Transportation in 2019, which might have influenced their preference for GE Additive’s binder jetting technology.

The possibilities that additive manufacturing offers are immense, and Wabtec understands the potential impact it can have on their various industries. By embracing 3D printing, Wabtec can unlock new opportunities for customization, rapid prototyping, and increased efficiency. This strategic partnership with GE Additive will undoubtedly propel Wabtec to new heights and cement their position as an industry leader.

To stay abreast of the latest news and advancements in the 3D printing industry, it’s crucial for companies like Wabtec to stay connected with the latest trends. By keeping their finger on the pulse of the industry, Wabtec can make informed decisions and leverage cutting-edge technologies to their advantage. Moreover, staying up-to-date on the latest developments allows Wabtec to explore potential collaborations with key players in the field and seize unique opportunities for growth.

In conclusion, Wabtec’s commitment to expanding their technological capabilities in the realm of 3D printing is commendable. Their partnership with GE Additive exemplifies their ambition to revolutionize their industries and harness the transformative power of additive manufacturing. By embracing GE Additive’s H1 binder jetting technology, Wabtec is establishing themselves as pioneers and paving the way for a new era in 3D printing. So, let’s keep an eye on the rapid advancements in this exciting industry and discover the endless possibilities that additive manufacturing holds for the future.

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