3D printing for mobility

In the continuous service of rail and railroad transport, robustness and reliability are important categories. However, the supply of spare parts required for maintenance becomes increasingly problematic with increasing operating age.

Even the smallest parts can be a showstopper when the train is no longer permitted to run. The advantages of additive manufacturing are obvious, ranging from lean spare parts supply on demand to the rapid procurement of wear parts without warehousing, including reverse engineering and a thorough re-engineering that pushes development further. Additive manufacturing also enables new robust designs for weight reduction, which also counts in train operations.

Illustrative examples of products successfully completed at FIT in the mobility sector are:


Vibration absorber


3D-printed spare parts are very promising. 100% availability, short delivery times, no stock, low costs. These are just a few of the advantages that Österreichische Bundesbahn AG (ÖBB) would also like to benefit from in the future. But that's not all. The 3D printing experts at ÖBB have realized that additive design and additive manufacturing are also suitable for improving the functionality of spare parts.

In the electrically powered TALENT, a railcar delivered by manufacturer Bombardier Transportation between 2004 and 2008, so-called vibration absorbers made of rubber are used to protect copper pipes from damage caused by shock and vibration at connection points to air conditioning units during operation. At the same time, these dampers also help to reduce noise. Previously, simple rubber damping rings were used for this purpose, which have to be replaced as soon as they become porous. Special tools are required for installation. The installation time is around full 20 minutes.

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Vibrationsdämpfer 3

Vibrationsdämpfer 2

Vibrationsdämpfer 3

Miniature train model

Miniature model

With its TSB maglev train, Max Bögl is launching a space-saving and low-emission alternative to road-based transport. As a high-quality gift and as an illustrative exhibit for its customers, the company has had several realistic models of the maglev train manufactured by FIT, which do absolute justice to the original in terms of elaboration and care and even make collectors' hearts beat faster in terms of the quality of their workmanship. The high-quality model trains are perfect miniatures of the real trains, can be customized, and feature toned windows, high-gloss paint sections, and real rubber buffers. On the model, interested customers can easily see the advantages of the slim, elevated guideways, which avoid area overlap and allow integration into existing transportation corridors.

To achieve this impressive result, FIT was able to draw on a cross-section of its portfolio: Stereolithography, vacuum casting as well as professional painting and foiling work from the model-making department ensure the optimal result. Everything from a single source!

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Sand dispenser


Deutsche Bahn (DB) is one of the world's leading mobility and logistics companies. To ensure that its trains can run without breakdowns, a functioning spare parts management is essential yet difficult because many trains and parts of the infrastructure have a very long service life. It happens time and again that certain spare parts are no longer available.

When the manufacturer of the left-hand sand step, which is a safety-relevant part of the braking system, ceased production, DB was confronted with precisely this case. No replacement supplier could be found for the original, which was manufactured in gray cast iron. However, since the locomotive would no longer be able to run if the sand step failed, the situation became critical, because downtime costs money, a lot of money.

With this problem in mind, those responsible for the corporate additive manufacturing project at DB came to FIT. The solution: reverse engineering, redesign, and additive manufacturing.

"Fast" in the case of the sand stairs meant a replacement within a few days. To do this, it was first necessary to scan the original in the absence of drawings or other data and have the FIT designers turn it into a 3D model. Subsequently, the design of the sand staircase was optimized in terms of cost and production based on the component requirements. The component was manufactured from titanium using electron beam melting (EBM or PBF-EB/M), then blasted and milled on the functional surfaces. In the final quality assurance, a CT scan was performed. After 7 working days, DB had an additively manufactured alternative for the sand stair on the table.

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