Parts printed to or­der

Mercedes says 3D print­ing of parts will be quick with no ware­hous­ing needed

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

MERCEDES-BENZ Trucks af­ter-sales ser­vices have started print­ing 3D plas­tic parts for cus­tomers on de­mand, in­stead of stock­ing the parts on shelf.

To date, the 3D parts cat­a­logue only lists 30 gen­uine spare parts, but the use of this tech­nol­ogy shows where global truck pro­duc­ers are head­ing.

“In keep­ing with our brand prom­ise ‘Trucks you can trust’, we set the same bench­marks for re­li­a­bil­ity, func­tion­al­ity, dura­bil­ity and economy for spare parts from 3D pro­duc­tion as for parts from con­ven­tional pro­duc­tion,” said the head of mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tions in the cus­tomer ser­vices, An­dreas Deuschle.

“How­ever, 3D of­fers many more pos­si­bil­i­ties. This is why we shall be rapidly ex­tend­ing the pro­duc­tion of 3D printed parts.”

The avail­able spare parts con­sist of high-qual­ity plas­tic com­po­nents, such as overs, spac­ers, spring caps, air and ca­ble ducts, clamps, mount­ings and con­trol el­e­ments.

The “printed” spare parts are cre­ated with state-of-the-art 3D print­ers based on the Se­lec­tive Laser Sin­ter­ing (SLS) print­ing process. For the high-qual­ity stan­dards of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the process pa­ram­e­ters have been op­ti­mised and de­ter­mined by the Daim­ler re­search and devel­op­ment di­vi­sions. Ev­ery 3D spare part can be or­dered by the cus­tomer us­ing the spe­cial spare-part num­ber un­der which it is recorded in the or­der code lists and the spare-parts cat­a­logues at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

Thus, even af­ter sev­eral decades, rapid sup­ply to the cus­tomer is en­sured via the Mercedes-Benz Lo­gis­tic Sup­ply Chain through all the sales stages all over the world.

The range also in­cludes spare parts for which there is only a low de­mand in small quan­ti­ties ev­ery year. Pro­duc­ing them is thus in­creas­ingly un­eco­nom­i­cal for sup­pli­ers as pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties and tools of­ten have to be re­tained and main­tained for years.

With the 3D print­ing process these chal­lenges are a thing of the past as ev­ery 3D spare part is avail­able on de­mand at short no­tice all over the world.

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 be “reprinted” eas­ily even af­ter a long time, us­ing the data stored and sup­plied with­out any com­plex stock­ing, no ware­hous­ing is re­quired ei­ther.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Truck parts that can now be or­dered in 3D from MercedesBenz.

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