Additive ManufacturingIndustrial Additive ManufacturingMaritime IndustryOn-demand Manufacturing

Alstom signs three-year license extension with 3D Spark

Implementing digital factory twin for sustainable and cost effective 3D printed spare parts

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Alstom, the world’s second-largest railway technology company, alongside 3D Spark, an innovator in B2B manufacturing and procurement software, signed a three-year extension of their partnership targeting on-demand spare parts. This extension indicates an expansion of a collaboration that has already realized more than 15 million euros in cost savings, an impressive 2,600-month cut in lead times, and an 86% decrease in procurement efforts, setting new standards in rail sector manufacturing and procurement.

The partnership highlights how advanced algorithms and AI-driven tools can significantly enhance efficiency in part manufacturing and procurement. With 3D Spark’s solution integrated, Alstom advanced its “Design To Print” initiative, empowering over 170 users to identify swiftly and effectively the cheapest, fastest, and most sustainable production options.

Alstom signs three-year license extension with 3D Spark implementing digital factory twin for sustainable 3D printed spare parts A digital factory twin

On the production front, the implementation of 3D Spark’s solution has led to an 80% time reduction for manufacturability checks (DfM) and quoting, decreasing the number of iterations, interactions, and thus bottlenecks. These efficiency gains not only accelerated the production process but also enhanced Alstom’s capability to efficiently identify parts that can be printed in-house, promoting better capacity utilization of machines (CAPEX).

Regarding procurement, Alstom targets an 86% reduction in purchasing efforts by specifically reducing unnecessary. Requests for Quotations (RFQ), a strategy made possible by 3D Spark’s ‘make or buy’ decision support. The software assists in evaluating in-house manufacturability and production costs vs. purchase prices and delivery times, eliminating efforts for external RFQs when in-house production is more viable.

Alstom signs three-year license extension with 3D Spark implementing digital factory twin for sustainable 3D printed spare parts When buying is more favorable, 3D Spark’s “Supplier Panel” makes supplier selection easy, providing a complete list of Alstom’s qualified suppliers, supporting with manufacturability assessments, automated target-pricing, and one-click RFQ sending, ensuring a more focused and efficient procurement process for buyer and seller. This strategy has led to a 20% decrease in part purchase prices, underscoring the cost benefits and efficiency improvements achieved.

Automatic CO2 footprint calculation

A cornerstone of this partnership between Alstom and 3D Spark is the emphasis on the sustainability of spare parts, a core value for both partners. The introduction of 3D Spark’s automatic CO2 footprint calculation for each production option at no additional effort reinforces Alstom’s commitment to sustainable production choices. Covering polymer, metal, and ceramic 3D printing technologies, as well as metal casting, injection molding, milling, and turning, this feature helps Alstom align with EU directives like CSRD and CBAM. It furthermore helps save €80-100 per ton in certificate costs, with an increase in savings expected as regulations evolve.

Alstom signs three-year license extension with 3D Spark implementing digital factory twin for sustainable 3D printed spare parts Trains stay up to 50 years on track and digital manufacturing ensures spare part availability. Aurélien Fussel, 3D Printing Program Manager at Alstom, reflected on the partnership’s impact: “Our collaboration with 3D Spark has been a key factor in Alstom’s achievements in additive manufacturing and the success of our DesignToPrint program. This partnership not only supports our innovation goals but also participates in our commitment to sustainability and operational efficiency. We look forward to furthering our leadership in the industry and setting new benchmarks for excellence in digital manufacturing.”

Ruben Meuth, Co-founder, and CEO of 3D Spark GmbH said: “In an industry where trains endure up to 50 years on railway tracks, addressing spare parts and obsolescence challenges is paramount for reliability and punctuality. As leading rail operators request at least 10% of train parts to be 3D printable for digital warehousing and spare parts on demand, 3D Spark emerges as a pivotal solution provider in meeting this requirement and driving innovation. This three-year contract renewal with Alstom solidifies our shared vision for a sustainable digital manufacturing future in the railway sector.”

Both Alstom and 3D Spark are dedicated to further expanding the adoption and boundaries of additive manufacturing within Alstom and the rail sector, focusing on creating innovative components, optimizing spare parts production, and further reducing procurement efforts and CO2 emissions.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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