Global rail companies continue to face growing challenges to build and maintain trains faster and at lower costs. Striving for engineering and design excellence, strict material and functionality regulations in the rail industry add additional levels of complexity to producing new or spare rail parts. In order to meet industry requirements, Europe’s leading transport companies – Bombardier Transportation, Deutsche Bahn ESG and Siemens Mobility – have all invested in additive manufacturing technology. In this interview, experts from these companies each provide their insights into the rail industry’s inherent production challenges and how their adoption of additive manufacturing helps to address them.
A machining workshop seeks to produce a certain number of parts, at a required level of quality, in the most efficient way, delivered on time. Traditionally, manufacturing businesses defined efficiency by return on investment. Success was measured in terms of continuous runs of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pieces and maintaining steady output from one or many machines was the goal. From that point of view, a machine that was running and making parts was considered efficient.
Maximum flexibility for machining a wide range of parts and small quantities is not just wishful thinking, with the Hainbuch modular system it becomes reality. No matter what shape or size: round, cubic, small or large, with the modular system you can clamp any kind of workpiece. The various adaptation clamping devices can be changed over very quickly. The Marbach, Germany-based manufacturer of clamping devices is constantly adding to its modular system so that users can always find the optimum solution for every clamping situation. However, one thing was still missing, an adaptation for clamping cubic parts, which is why Hainbuch has introduced the 2-jaw module to the market.
Product quality is a key performance indicator for manufacturing businesses. Many workshops believe that achieving quality-standard certifications such as ISO, NADCAP and API affirms the quality of their work. In reality, the standards do not fully focus on how to make acceptable finished workpieces, but rather concentrate on establishing procedures for rejecting bad parts
From before the Industrial Revolution until the present day, manufacturers have shared common goals: producing a certain number of parts, in a certain amount of time, at a certain cost. Manufacturing processes evolved from craft-made single-item methods to mass production lines and output of increasingly greater numbers of identical parts: a high-volume/low product mix (HVLM) scenario. Most recently, digital technology in programming, machine tool controls and workpiece handling systems are facilitating a manufacturing environment known as Industry 4.0 that enables cost-efficient manufacture of highly diverse parts in small batches: high-mix/low-volume (HMLV) production.
When planning and implementing machining processes, manufacturers generally focus on manipulating elements of their internal operations and may lose sight of the end purpose of their work: assuring customer satisfaction.