Alstom Reduces 90% of the Weight of a Train Component Thanks to AM

In R&D Projects by IAM 3D Hub

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The main objective of this study was to improve the design of an existing part in our Metro units. To do this, we introduced the topological optimization software and the emerging technology with very interesting applications in our industrial field, including in the short term, such as the additive manufacturing. The study began with a quick analysis of the component. At first, this component seemed quite robust, and we felt that the piece was working, at a static level, well below its capacity. The result was as expected.

From this point, the optimization was launched taking into account the space available in the assembly. Applying the outline conditions, an initial result was quite revealing about where material was really needed in the new support design.
With a subsequent work of transformation, a more appropriate solution was reached for the external topology.
The results of the calculation for this final component revealed that we achieved the desired behavior in the mechanical demands required of the component.

Then, with the help of our technological partner LEITAT, this new design was manufactured in stainless steel by means of additive manufacturing, with selective laser melting technology.

From this study we can highlight more than satisfactory results, in terms of:

  • Mass reduction, (it has reached 66%)
  • Discovery of new industrial processes
  • Initiation in organic designs, topological optimization

In addition, also in collaboration with LEITAT, a second optimization was carried out by emptying the material from inside and introducing lightweight structures.

This new conceptual piece was also printed in stainless steel, obtaining more than 90% of mass reduction of the original. At the moment, its resistance is being calculated by means of finite element analysis, and the idea is to launch rapidly essays and characterizations.