Utrecht, the Netherlands, September 6, 2018: NS (Dutch Railways) has signed a multi-year Service Agreement with DiManEx to deploy Additive Manufacturing within their supply chain. This initiative falls within the organization's strategy to optimize the utilization of their coaches and combat the supply chain challenges they face with spare parts.
Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as "3D printing," is a technology that has advanced considerably in recent years. Dutch Railways has been experimenting with the technology for some time. Their ambition is to optimize their supply chain by 3D printing carefully selected parts, instead of keeping large quantities of all spare parts in stock. The use of an end-to-end digital supply chain service allows them to focus entirely on effectively embedding an innovative technology like AM within their organization.
The partnership between DiManEx and Dutch Railways goes back several months. The cooperation initially allowed Dutch Railways to experiment with, and learn about, the possibilities of 3D printing, as well as the quality of the parts produced. A few spare parts were selected, re-engineered and 3D printed through DiManEx according to the specifications provided by Dutch Railways. Mandatory quality control tests were performed, resulting in an approved item that has effectively been used in trains. After this initial phase of the cooperation, the digital and automated supply chain workflow provided by DiManEx was implemented, allowing Dutch Railways to scale the number of spare parts eligible for 3D printing and start benefiting from the supply chain advantages this service offers.
A digital supply chain with embedded AM capabilities allows Dutch Railways to address a number of challenges. Solving inefficiencies that typically relate to spare parts, like costly stock keeping, minimum order quantities and long lead times, is now possible. The availability of legacy parts can be increased by having digital, printable files available for 3D printing.
Dutch Railways' Supply Chain Operations strategic buyer, Joris van de Sande says: "Today, our main risk in the spare parts supply chain is obsolescence. With DiManEx, we are able to digitize our supply chain, mitigate risks and combat obsolescence. They are an ideal partner to help us build the supply chain of the future."
"We are excited about the cooperation with Dutch Railways, and proud of the fact that we deliver 3D printing knowledge not as a goal, but as a means to create an agile supply chain that manages any unpredictable demand," says Alexander Bours, DiManEx Co-founder.