Dubai RTA begins using 3D printer to create parts for rail system

Posted on October 4, 2016

Dubai Metro photo via Wikimedia Commons/Maurits90
Dubai Metro photo via Wikimedia Commons/Maurits90

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has turned to 3D printing technology as a cost-saving measure to create parts for the train system. The RTA has been able to research and start to print parts for the subsystems of the ticket vending machines, ticket gates and other metro assets across the network.

“The 3D printing technology is advancing at a rapid pace across the world and RTA is strongly inclined to be a forerunner in this 3D generation by highlighting the world’s best practices adopted in the rail industry. Future scope includes developments that are required to manage obsolescence, which is a huge burden of any railway worldwide,” said AbdulMohsin Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency.

According to Younes, the technology would enable RTA to keep the Dubai metro assets in service longer while driving down the cost of parts and in turn passing this saving back to the customer. "An example of this is that when small parts are needed, normal practice dictates a local manufacturer would need to produce hundreds to justify his cost,” he added.

3D printer photo courtesy Government of Dubai Media Office
3D printer photo courtesy Government of Dubai Media Office
Use of the 3D technology has enabled the RTA's team at the Rashidiya Depot to produce items made in hundreds singularly and thereby achieving time-saving efficiencies, Younes says. "...That means much lower costs as the team can produce items when required and on demand while reducing carbon emissions.”

The agency is currently in talks to enhance the rail facility with a future goal to print larger spare parts for other systems across the Dubai Metro, according to the RTA.

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