Daimler Buses Develops Mobile 3D Printing Center in a Container

Published on May 18, 2021 by Amelia H.
daimler buses

The German car manufacturer Daimler, or more precisely its subsidiary Daimler Buses, has developed a pilot project focusing on 3D printing spare parts. With its service brand Omniplus, the company has designed a mobile container measuring 36 square meters (387.501 square feet). The container integrates additive manufacturing solutions for designing components, in this case spare parts, on demand. For now, this manufacturing space will be operational at BusWorld Home (BWH) in Hamburg, Germany. The manufacturer’s goal is to increase the number of digitized and 3D printed parts, and ultimately to offer online 3D printing licenses that customers can buy and then the parts will be produced in an additive manufacturing center certified by Daimler Buses.

The German company has been using additive manufacturing for several years and has used the technology in the production of prototypes for over 30 years. Now thanks to several advancements, 3D printing is now an efficient method of creating spare parts for buses. At present, Daimler Buses claims to have 3D printed more than 40,000 spare parts . It is currently working on 7,000 more models, offering a pretty impressive library of 3D files. By developing mobile micro-factories, the company wishes to further expand its use of AM and offer a faster, more local, and more environmentally respectful manufacturing solution to its customers.

Thanks to additive manufacturing, the car manufacturer can store numerous digital spare parts and print them on demand (photo credits: Daimler Buses)

Thanks to additive manufacturing, the car manufacturer can store numerous digital spare parts and print them on demand (photo credits: Daimler Buses)

Daimler Buses and its mobile manufacturing unit

The twelve by three meter container would be easily transportable by truck and would require electricity and internet connection to operate. The first would integrate an HP Jet Fusion 4200 machine and a processing unit which ensures the mixing and loading of the material (here a polymer powder), that would also allows rapid cooling of the parts. While the second would be equipped with a powder removal solution, an air filter and an air conditioning system. The goal is to have everything in hand necessary in order to design quality components, from modeling to post-processing.

Bernd Mack, Head of Customer Service and Parts at Daimler Buses, says: “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. 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”.

The equipment present in each unit (photo credits: Daimler Buses)

The equipment present in each unit (photo credits: Daimler Buses)

Additive manufacturing is once again demonstrating its advantages in terms of on-demand, local and efficient production. The teams of the so-called Center of Competence 3D-Printing at Daimler Bus are currently working on 7,000 new parts: the idea is to digitize them to expand the manufacturer’s digital stock. Each of the 3D files will include printing instructions which should further increase the speed of the manufacturing process.

Finally, in the future, customers will be able to purchase 3D printing licenses on the ‘Omniplus On’ website and request the manufacture of their part in one of the mobile units. In any case, this is the objective of Daimler Buses, which wishes to democratize the use of these containers. You can find more information in the official press release .

* Cover photo credits: Daimler Buses

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