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December 12, 2018

Angel Trains enters partnership for 3D-printed rail components

UK-based train leasing company Angel Trains has partnered with 3D printing technology provider Stratasys and engineering consultancy ESG Rail to manufacture 3D-printed interior rail components.

UK-based train leasing company Angel Trains has partnered with 3D printing technology provider Stratasys and engineering consultancy ESG Rail to manufacture 3D-printed interior rail components.

The additive manufacturing process will manufacture four approved components, including an armrest, grab handle and seat back table.

These 3D-printed rail components are expected to be trialled on passenger trains next year.

The collaboration aims to utilise additive manufacturing technology to address the issue of outdated components in the vehicles.

It will enable train operators to manufacture low run parts based on requirements instead of mass production, helping to reduce rehabilitation costs.

Additionally, the technology aims to increase the operating life of rolling stock by replacing the obsolete parts.

Angel Trains technical director Mark Hicks said: “This exciting industry-first collaboration has the potential to transform manufacturing within the rail industry.

“We believe our FDM additive manufacturing solutions offer huge potential to replace traditional manufacturing for a diverse range of applications within the rail industry.”

“We are proud to be driving this innovation with ESG Rail and Stratasys and hope that this solution will help to free the industry from technological constraints, and allow our trains to continue to meet passengers’ needs now and in the future.”

The collaboration will utilise high-performance materials such as Stratasys Antero 800 NA, a PEKK-based thermoplastic, to develop the products.

All the components will be designed for additive manufacturing and 3D printing using Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology. Subsequently, the parts will be structurally assessed by ESG Rail to ensure their suitability.

Stratasys strategic account team EMEA manager Yann Rageul said: “With the highest level of repeatability in the industry and advanced, rail-certified, materials, we believe our FDM additive manufacturing solutions offer huge potential to replace traditional manufacturing for a diverse range of applications within the rail industry.

“This collaboration will help us to explore how we can support rail companies such as Angel Trains to produce parts on-demand, both cost-effectively and efficiently, eradicating the need for obsolete inventory and improving their ability to service customers.”

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