During Formnext 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany, November 13–16, 2018, FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, based in Lupburg, Germany, presented its latest solution aimed at the Additive Manufacturing of industrial spare parts. The company’s ‘Spare Parts on Demand’ (SPOD) aims to guarantee the availability of discontinued spare parts at reasonable costs to end-users.
As the majority of parts requiring replacement are conventionally manufactured and have already passed through an approval process, it is not possible to simply create an additively manufactured copy of a component for printing on demand. Using SPOD, FIT AG converts the designs for conventionally manufactured spare parts into AM parts in a six-step process. Based on a pull-system, the SPOD solution then stores data models of spare parts ready to be additively manufactured on demand when required, reducing inventory storage costs.
An example use case of FIT AG’s SPOD is the production of the left sandbox housing for the brake systems on a train for Deutsche Bahn. As the manufacturer of this part ceased production, Deutsche Bahn risked train failure as parts in service continued to wear and near the end of their lifespan. In order to offer replacement parts on demand, FIT AG re-engineered the component for AM and additively manufactured it from titanium using Electron Beam Melting. The AM replacement is reported to have passed all tests performed to date.
Carl Fruth, Founder and CEO at FIT Additive Manufacturing Group, stated, “We are perfectly aware that SPOD will not yet mean the perfect solution for every spare part. Nevertheless, it’s our goal to avoid storage issues, e.g. storage costs, delivery delays, or waste.”