MAN Truck & Bus Steers Towards Evolution with 3D Printed Spare Parts


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Global transport company MAN Truck & Bus (MAN) has integrated Replique’s 3D printing technology into its spare parts production strategy.

Partnering with Replique’s production platform, the company is engaging in collaborative efforts to produce spare parts locally and on demand, thereby eradicating the necessity for maintaining physical inventory. The immediacy became apparent when MAN urgently required a quantity of 10 bronze manifolds, compounded by the unavailability of the conventional casting mold for this essential component. Recognizing the time and cost intensity of traditional procurement methods involving model creation, casting, and machining, MAN sought a more efficient solution, leading to a partnership with Replique.

“The collaboration with Replique was seamless from our initial contact to the moment we received the finished parts. It allowed us to promptly assist our spare parts customers, and we are already in the process of realizing another 3D printing project with Replique,” says Thomas Hauck, Spare Parts Logistics MAN.

In a recent case, MAN was faced with the challenge of urgently procuring 10 bronze distributors for the cooling water supply of a marine engine, which were no longer in stock.

3D printing revamps spare parts production

Employing additive manufacturing technology, namely Selective Laser Melting (SLM), MAN and Replique managed to recreate the 10 manifolds in original quality using just a 3D blueprint and a production drawing. Together with its material partners, Replique chose a material (m4p Brz10) similar to the original. The whole production process, from MAN’s request to the delivery of ready-for-installation parts, spanned about 7 weeks. Successive tests carried out at MAN’s main Material Technology department showed that the chosen material performed with higher technical properties than the original, prompting an extra order for 10 parts.

The standout benefit of the 3D printed bronze manifolds is their capacity to exceed the demands of the original component. The online presence of a certified print file for this specific part means that the manifolds can be reordered at any point with uniform quality. MAN avoids fixed expenses for moulds and models or storage fees, offering a financially viable option for small sums. MAN’s adoption of 3D printing meets the obstacle of spare parts supply in special machine manufacturing, with the aim to decrease costs and advance overall service efficiency.

“The integration of additive manufacturing allows businesses to bypass conventional production hurdles. We are thrilled to collaborate with MAN to assure a steadfast and effective supply of spare parts in the transport and marine sectors,” remarks Dr. Max Siebert, CEO and Co-Founder of Replique.

The 3D printed bronze manifolds exceed the requirements of the original part. Thanks to the digital availability of production information, they can be reordered at any time with consistent quality. Photo via Replique.

Accelerating innovation in the transport sector

Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Essentium received certification from Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany’s national railway, for its High-Speed Extrusion (HSE) 3D printing platform and materials. Essentium’s technology will be used for 3D printing train parts and tools, allowing DB to enhance fleet availability by quickly replacing key components. Blake Teipel, Essentium’s CEO, emphasized the readiness of additive manufacturing, highlighting DB’s 3D printing of tens of thousands of train parts. DB plans to leverage Essentium’s technology to address supply chain challenges and produce low-run parts on demand, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Last year, Wibu-Systems, Daimler Buses, and Farsoon Technologies introduced OMNIplus, an online 3D printable parts store for Daimler and Setra buses. Developed with CodeMeter for digital object protection, this collaboration aligns with Industry 4.0’s promise of Manufacturing-as-a-Service. The store offers about 40,000 potentially 3D printable parts, with a selection of 100 initially available. OMNIplus relies on Farsoon Technologies 3D printers or service partners for production, marking a significant step in digital 3D printing.

Read all the 3D Printing Industry coverage from Formnext 2023.

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