Make3D, a renowned 3D printing startup from India, revealed that it has installed its Pratham 3.0 FDM 3D printer at the Northeast Frontier Railway Zone (NEFR) of the Indian Railways located in Guwahati, Assam. The 3D printer will quicken the pace of product development carried out for the regional coaches.
The NEFR coaching depot is one of 183 such depots in India and carries out the primary maintenance activities of the railway coaches for that respective region. The NEFR will use the 3D printer for research and development purposes.
The new 3D printer is a part of Make3D’s Flagship FDM 3D printer series called Pratham. The Pratham 3D printer series is developed specifically to perform heavy-duty tasks and aid in rapid prototyping and product development. It is tested to continually run for more than 157 hours with reliable and repeatable output.
As revealed by Make3D Co-founder Tejas Diyora, “This is not the first such installation, we recently (in May 2020), also supplied Pratham 3.0 to the Railway workshop of North Western Railway, Jodhpur in Rajasthan. This was an urgent order by the Ministry of Railways considering the fact that a nationwide lockdown was in place in May 2020.”
Make3D is a Surat-based 3D printer manufacturer founded in 2014. Besides the Pratham FDM 3D printer series, it also boasts of high-quality Eka DLP 3D printer series.
The Pratham 3.0 is an industrial-grade 3D printer developed for heavy mechanical application products. It has a build volume of 300x300x300 mm and comes with a heated bed allowing the use of engineering materials like ABS, PETG, and Carbon Fiber.
The recent 3D printer incorporation was also noticed by the Hon. Minister of Railways Shri Piyush Goyal who expressed his excitement by tweeting, “For the first time ever, Railways has started using ‘Make in India’ 3D printer to design & print coach components in-house as per requirement. Now, these components can be made with half the cost as compared to the market rate.”
The NEFR railway will be using the FDM 3D printer for product development activities. One of the key areas of its application is supposed to be for spare part development. The authorities will put various materials like ABS, HIPS, PETG, and Carbon fiber to test. The testing will be aimed at qualifying spare parts and material combinations that can be reliably put into operational use.
3D printing will certainly make it easier for the railways to rapidly develop efficient and effective spare parts as compared to the traditional process. It will also save costs to develop new products and even tools for maintenance and other related activities streamlining the entire R&D process
This is a positive step for the Indian railways as they are moving towards incorporating new technology like 3D printing for innovation. As the Hon. Railway Minister also highlighted that the “I in RAILWAYS stands for Innovation”.
Speaking to Manufactur3D, Tejas Diyora expressed his delight, “We are very extremely happy that our products were accepted by such a premium and important department of the Indian Government. It was a new learning experience for us to work with NEFR (Indian Railways) and the Coaching Depot. We feel proud that as a Startup in the AM industry, we are contributing to the Nation with our ‘Made in India’ product.”
The fact that Indian Railways is now exploring the adoption of new technologies for its research and development purpose, is a testament to the proliferation of 3D printing technology in India. As the adoption spreads across India, it is not long before MSMEs also start investing in the technology to leverage the benefits of the technology.
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