Austrian rail company fits 3D-printed elastomer parts
11 Sep 2023
National rail company OBB equipping railcars with additive manufactured bellows, grommets
Minneapolis, Minnesota – ÖBB, the national railway company of Austria, has purchased a series of 3-D prints parts for its railcars, the supplier Chromatic 3D Materials has announced.
The order comprised industrial-strength polyurethane bellows, grommets and other 3D printed parts, according to the US additive manufacturing specialist.
ÖBB approached Chromatic earlier this summer to help it address the challenge of sourcing obsolete components, Minneapolis-based Chromatic explained in a 6 Sept release.
After receiving prototypes, the Austrian railway company purchased 130 gromets and bellows, which were available “just a few weeks later”, the statement added.
The purchase also included cable glands and valve covers printed with Chromatic’s RX-AM platform for reactive extrusion additive manufacturing.
The components, the firm added, were designed to enhance the performance, longevity and comfort of ÖBB’s fleet: reducing vibrations and preventing dust and moisture.
3D printed in a thermoset polyurethane – chosen for durability and flexibility – the parts are said to tightly seal against air and water in moving vehicles.
Components, for example, included load-bearing grommets with dense, solid walls that were 1.5 cm thick, according to Chromatic.
The 3D-printed polyurethane part, it continued, have “the same three-dimensional strength and compression set” as injection-moulded parts.
"We chose Chromatic because they are able to print PU in different hardness between 50-90 shore A,” said Sebastian Otto, head of additive manufacturing at ÖBB Train Tech.
For his part, Dr Bart Engeldahl, MD of Chromatic 3D Materials in Germany, said ÖBB's order should raise confidence in the use of 3D printed parts in demanding transport, aerospace, industrial and defence applications.