Mercedes-Benz Trucks pioneers 3D printing for plastic spare parts
Additive manufacturing enables the automaker to supplying parts for model series which were no longer in production.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is using the latest 3D printing processes to produce plastic spare parts.
The automaker has announced that as of September, 30 genuine spare parts can be ordered and supplied at the press of a button from the 3D printer, quickly, economically, in any quantity. Additive manufacturing has become the standard production method for Mercedez-Benz Trucks spare parts.
With the use of 3D printing technology as an innovative state-of-the-art production process in after-sales, Mercedes-Benz is taking on the pioneering role and technological leadership among the global truck producers.
The “printed” spare parts are created with state-of-the-art 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process.
“3D offers many more possibilities; this is why we shall be rapidly extending the production of 3D printed parts,” says Andreas Deuschle, Head of Marketing & Operations in the Customer Services & Parts Mercedes-Benz Trucks Division.
Today at Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, more than 100 000 printed prototype parts are manufactured for the individual company divisions every year.
“We benefit from our extensive experience at Daimler with 3D printing processes in prototype construction,” adds Deuschle.
Covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements are just a few examples of economical spare part production made using the 3D printing process.
One of the challenges the automaker faced was supplying parts for model series which were no longer in production. The low demand for these parts decreases every year. Using 3D printing, the company is able to provide customers with the necessary parts without undergoing large batch production.
The printing itself can take place within a very short time following receipt of the design definition and order, considerably speeding up the production and supply of spare parts. As spare and retrofit parts can still easily be “reprinted” even after a long time using the data stored and supplied without any complex stocking, no warehousing is required either. At the same time the burden on costs, resources and the environment is also eased, as there are no material surpluses, the disposal of which is very complex.