Daimler Buses creates mobile 3D printing centre for spare parts

Daimler Buses and its service brand Omniplus have created a mobile printing centre for the decentralised production of three-dimensional (3D) printed spare parts in order to provide bus customers with spare parts more quickly.  The mini factory in the form of a container includes all of the stations relevant to […]

Daimler Buses and its service brand Omniplus have created a mobile printing centre for the decentralised production of three-dimensional (3D) printed spare parts in order to provide bus customers with spare parts more quickly. 

The mini factory in the form of a container includes all of the stations relevant to the production of spare parts using a 3D printer on an area of only 36 m2.

The 12 m x 3 m container can be transported by truck to any location. 

Once there, only electricity and an Internet connection are required for its operation. 

The container is in operation at the BusWorld Home (BWH) service centre in Hamburg, Germany. This is in addition to the internal industrial 3D printing centre for parts production in Neu-Ulm. 

As a result, the service centre in Hamburg that already offers a range of services for Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses, will be able to quickly produce spare parts in-house.

“Thanks to the mobile 3D printing centre, we can exploit the advantages of 3D printing to a greater extent and further increase the speed at which we supply spare parts,” says Daimler Buses customer services and parts head Bernd Mack

“Decentralised production of parts, as required, avoids warehousing costs and reduces transportation routes. 

“Thus, 3D printing not only allows us to react fast, flexibly and economically to customer requirements, but to also improve our ecological footprint for the production of spare parts.”

Daimler Buses says the mobile container is equipped with an industrial 3D printer which produces 3D printed products to the same quality as genuine parts. 

This means the company is “the first provider that can deliver series-production quality using a mobile solution”.

The 3D parts are additively manufactured using polyamide and meet the production standards for injection-moulding and deep-drawn parts as stipulated by parent company Daimler.

The 3D printing data is prepared at a computer-aided-design work station prior to the printing process. 

The required powder is prepared at a processing station, where the printed spare part is also freed from residue powder in a final step. 

A blasting system and an air compressor are located in an adjacent room – the blasting system smooths the surface of the component parts for a perfect finish. 

Here, the printed spare parts can also be painted in a limited range of colours. 

The compressor provides the systems with compressed air. The container is also equipped with an industrial vacuum cleaner, an air filter and an air conditioning system. 

Benefits
Using 3D printing, Daimler Buses says it can react fast and flexibly to urgent customer requirements, for example, when customers order rarely required parts or have special requests. 

Instead of a wait of several weeks, production and delivery of a 3D printed part takes only a few days. 

Just under 40 000 bus spare parts are already 3D printable today. 

Daimler Buses is currently focussing on around 7 000 parts that are being successively digitised. 

Some of these are already available only as 3D printed spare parts after having undergone the relevant digitisation steps, approval processes and numerous product tests and are stored in the digital warehouse, together with the necessary printing information. 

In a next step, Daimler Buses intends to further expand and decentralise the business model. Customers will be able to purchase 3D printing licences from the commerce section of the ‘Omniplus On’ portal, and have the corresponding parts produced in a 3D printing centre certified by Daimler Buses. 

 

https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/daimler-buses-creates-mobile-3d-printing-centre-for-spare-parts-2021-10-27

Shaqil Heaton

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