It has come about as companies continue to work towards implementing digital inventories which lean on additive manufacturing rather than storing parts is warehouses that have been produced by conventional means. The reason being to save on cost and time.
FIT, however, has noticed a subsequent issue. As most parts that need replacing have been made with traditional methods, they have often passed through an approval process, meaning it isn’t possible to create a 3D printed copy. Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company, encountered this problem when attempting to replace the left sandbox housing in a brake system. The component had been manufactured in cast grey iron, and so the part had to be redesigned and then printed in titanium using Electron Beam Melting. The printed part has so far passed on all tests performed.
At Formnext, FIT AG has showcased SPOD as a way for this success to be achieved with more regularity. It has developed a six-step process based on a pull-system whereby components are only manufactured to meet demand. Through this process, conventionally manufactured parts can be transformed into 3D printed ones, only when needed, and in the meantime, it has been stored digitally.
“We are perfectly aware that to-date, SPOD will not yet mean the perfect solution for every spare part,” commented Carl Fruth, founder and CEO at FIT Additive Manufacturing Group. “Nevertheless, it’s our goal to avoid storage issues, e.g. storage costs, delivery delays, or waste. We look forward to [discussing] this innovative concept with potential customers at Formnext. After all we’ve seen, demand for this solution is really high.”
FIT AG is exhibiting in Hall 3.1, Booth F88.