Renfe incorporates in its industrial area an advanced integral service of additive manufacturing (3D printing), to supply railroad componente, thus meeting the needs of manufacturing parts for Renfe's train fleet, either new production or spare parts for those elements that have become obsolete or need to be replaced because of damage. Throughout the entire production process, Renfe relies on the technological capabilities of Aitiip, a national and European reference center in additive manufacturing.
In this way, the company gains independence when it comes to covering the manufacturing and supply needs of spare parts that are not essential for the safety of its train fleet, as they are sometimes not manufactured, involve a long wait or have a high economic cost. Even improved parts or tooling material, instruments and tools useful in other manufacturing and maintenance tasks can be manufactured.
The 3D Printing and Reverse Engineering Pilot Center is housed in the facilities of the Integral Maintenance Base of Madrid, in Villaverde, and has a team formed by Renfe engineers and Aitiip staff, experts in 3D Printing. Combining skills and knowledge, the team is responsible for coordinating and developing the work to support all the maintenance centers that Renfe has throughout Spain.
Aitiip is the technology center in charge of managing the entire manufacturing process, i.e. printing these parts with state-of-the-art machines, for which the pilot center has been equipped. Aitiip was the successful bidder in a bidding process called last year by the company.
The contract, which began in early 2023, commits both entities to offer an agile, precise and efficient service, optimizing the value chain from the moment the need is detected until production is completed. In this way, a comprehensive Reverse Engineering and 3D Printing service is offered as an innovative solution for the supply of components for the maintenance of Renfe trains.
At the forefront of 3D printing: ventilation grilles or engine covers
This service covers the entire value chain of the product, from the detection and analysis of each need, to the scanning of the geometry of the part, or the 3D digital modeling. A technique that allows redesigning (and improving) the part for subsequent printing in plastic materials with high mechanical performance and certified for railway use in fire and smoke regulations, as well as materials such as aluminum or steel - and for which Aitiip's technological teams are qualified.
Renfe and Aitiip teams are working on the design and manufacture of reinforced parts and tooling for use in different production processes, or for the prototyping of parts for subsequent production using traditional technologies. Among other elements, several series of parts have already been successfully printed, such as ventilation grilles for the driver's cabs or covers-regulators for the injection pump of the diesel engine of the convoys.
All the information collected from the parts becomes part of a 3D digital inventory, within the AD2 platform of Addvance 3D, one of the winning startups of the III TrenLab Call, Renfe's open innovation program. A tool that has also been developed within the framework of the service, and that favors a precise monitoring of the data of each part (type of material, dimensions, markings, cost) in order to optimize production times in case of future needs.
Aitiip offers to Renfe its most advanced equipment
Aitiip Technology Center, from its high-performance additive manufacturing laboratory Aitiip 3D, offers Renfe its capabilities to strengthen the service and respond to the demands that could not be executed in situ, with the full range of materials and 3D printing technologies available in the center. Aitiip has been leading innovation for more than 20 years, becoming a pioneer and European reference in industrial 3D printing technologies and materials to develop products and functional solutions in a wide range of plastic, metallic, composite and ceramic materials.