Global industries are boarding the additive manufacturing train – in Berlin!

To say we’ve been focused on tapping new potential this year would be an understatement. Front of mind for BigRep has been work on exciting projects and partnerships to discover new end-use manufacturing applications for our advanced large-scale 3D printer technology.

In late October I had the pleasure of sharing a podium with Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) Stefanie Brickwede at the dynamic CREATING URBAN TECH conference in Berlin, to discuss the successful cooperation between BigRep and DB. We spoke on this again at formnext on 14th November in Frankfurt. BigRep is a member of Mobility goes Additive, a network which DB initiated to develop additive manufacturing solutions for the logistics and mobility sectors. We have been working together to explore how DB can use BigRep’s additive manufacturing technologies to further their business and improve efficiency.

DB and additive manufacturing
BigRep CEO René Gurka & Deutsche Bahn’s Stefanie Brickwede at CREATING URBAN TECH

We can highlight three key outcomes of the partnership to date. All three are typical of the benefits industrial organisations encounter when utilizing our technology.

Firstly, Deutsche Bahn has identified that 10-15% of their demand for spare parts could be met with 3D prints. This approach can reduce production time and costs, and facilitate a dramatic reduction in necessary spare parts inventory. They expect to 3D print an impressive 15,000 spare parts in 2018.

Secondly, they are finding potential to use additive manufacturing to develop new kinds of end-use products. This article describes one example, a new design for a printed part with braille on its surface.

Finally, DB believes that the development of new 3D printer materials will be the key to determining how much end-use manufacturing it can do in future with 3D printing technology.

This joint project we have with Deutsche Bahn illustrates the new value that comes when companies invest together in exploring how new techniques can be applied to existing and upcoming design challenges. It, as well as developments within Mobility goes Additive, also shows that Berlin is becoming a hub for innovative developments in the emerging additive manufacturing sector.

But the story, and especially that final point, also illustrates that we have choices to make. We have the option to pursue networking opportunities in this technology to their limits and develop the next generation of high value technologies. Or, if we pursue these opportunities less aggressively, other firms and other cities will get there first and reap the rewards.

additive manufacturing - 3d printing filament
Developing new 3D printer materials is a core aspect of BigRep’s development of new additive manufacturing applications

We are conscious of this choice when it comes to Deutsche Bahn and Mobility goes Additive, and will seek to sustain our close working relationship to develop new 3D printer materials, hardware and techniques to fully explore the potential for this cooperation. What I discussed at CREATING URBAN TECH, as well as at formnext in Frankfurt (on 14th November), is that we need to apply the same thinking to Berlin and its own potential in terms of additive manufacturing. I believe that to take ourselves from a promising hub to that central, world-leading position, we should formally nurture networking activities between businesses and other research organisations in the sector, for example, with a Centre of Excellence in Additive Manufacturing in Berlin. Can we 3D print that?

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René is the founder and CEO of BigRep GmbH, driving it to be one of the world-leading 3D printing companies, with his many years of experience in business development and innovative technologies.

Connect with René on Linkedin HERE.

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