<img alt="" src="https://secure.diet3dart.com/219995.png" style="display:none;"> 4 Benefits of Using Digital Inventories in Railway | News | 3YOURMIND

4 Benefits of Using Digital Inventories in Railway

Blog 3YOURMIND | July 10, 2023 | 5 min read

Explore four ways that the railway industry can benefit from embracing digital inventories.

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, presents an unprecedented opportunity for the railway industry. As the industry grapples with growing part obsolescence and long production lead times, additive manufacturing offers an opportunity to reinvent traditional supply chains.

Digital inventories are one of many exciting developments becoming normalized with the advent of additive manufacturing and industry 4.0. Companies can use digital inventories to create a centralized repository of digital files for 3D-printable parts. In just a few short clicks, organizations in the railway industry can use digital inventories to order parts from approved suppliers to be produced on-demand and closer to the part's end-use.

 In this article, we'll discuss four ways digital inventories can positively impact railway organizations.


1. On-Demand Production and Improved Supply Chain Resilience

The railway industry relies on a vast ecosystem of components and parts to keep its operations running smoothly. Traditional inventory management struggles to meet the complex demands of maintaining a comprehensive stock of spare parts. By integrating additive manufacturing with digital inventories, you can embrace an on-demand production model. This empowers you to manufacture parts as needed, reducing storage costs and eliminating the challenges of maintaining extensive physical inventories.

In addition, additive manufacturing enables rapid production and customization, reducing lead times and enhancing supply chain resilience. By ensuring the timely availability of critical components, you can minimize downtime and efficiently address maintenance or repair needs.

2. Cost Reduction and Inventory Optimization

Managing inventory is a significant cost driver for railway companies. Traditional inventory methods involve substantial storage space, capital investment, and ongoing maintenance expenses. By adopting digital inventories, you can mitigate these costs effectively. Instead of stockpiling vast quantities of spare parts, you can store digital designs and produce items by manufacturing on demand. This approach reduces the need for physical storage space by enabling digital warehousing and eliminates the risks associated with overstocking or obsolete inventory.

With real-time demand data, you can optimize inventory levels, minimize carrying costs, free up capital, and redirect resources toward strategic initiatives. Moreover, additive manufacturing can offer cost advantages for producing low-volume or specialized components, enhancing overall cost efficiency.

2022 3YOURMIND - digital inventory of parts  (1)
Users can quickly look up and order parts through their digital part catalog, powered by 3YOURMIND.

3. Accelerated Innovation and Rapid Prototyping

Innovation is the driving force behind progress in any industry, and additive manufacturing-powered digital inventories unlock new possibilities for the railway sector. With 3D printing technology, you can rapidly prototype and test new designs, enabling faster iteration and validation.

By creating digital inventories of these designs, you can easily access and modify them as needed. This agility empowers your engineers and designers to explore new concepts, optimize designs, and introduce innovative solutions at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional manufacturing processes. By embracing additive manufacturing-powered digital inventories, your railway company can foster a culture of innovation, keeping you at the forefront of the industry and meeting evolving customer demands effectively.

4. Sustainability and Environmental Impact Reduction

The railway industry acknowledges the importance of sustainability and reducing its environmental footprint. Additive manufacturing plays a significant role in achieving these goals. By adopting 3D printing and producing components on demand, you can significantly reduce waste compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Unlike subtractive manufacturing, which often generates excess material, additive manufacturing optimizes material usage by only depositing what is required.

Additionally, the ability to print lighter and more optimized parts can contribute to energy savings during the operation of trains. By leveraging additive manufacturing-powered digital inventories, your railway company can actively contribute to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship.

Wabtec Develops Its Digital Inventory Strategy to Push Railway Forward

Enabling digital inventories to address part obsolescence is no easy feat on its own. It requires collaboration across multiple departments to determine what parts and additive technologies align with businesses' strategic interests. When companies in railway are ready to make the plunge into additive manufacturing, 3YOURMIND is ready to help them scale their additive manufacturing capabilities.

3YOURMIND offers a comprehensive on-demand manufacturing software platform that supports part identification efforts, part qualification, digital inventory management, and production management tools.

 3YOURMIND helps companies improve processes by empowering them to analyze part inventories for additive manufacturing use cases. Our part identification solution includes 2D drawing analysis, which makes it easier for companies with both 3D part files and two-dimensional technical drawings to prioritize additive manufacturing applications by short-listing the best business cases in less time than part-by-part evaluation methods.

We are proud to work with industry leaders like Wabtec Corporation to bring great technology to production.

“We are managing millions of references in our company. We trust suppliers like 3YOURMIND to support us in screening our portfolio to identify the right candidates to be switched from conventional processes to additive manufacturing,” says Henri de Chassey, Obsolescence Manager & 3D printing expert at Wabtec Corporation.

De Chassey is confident that the ability to digitize parts will be a major win for Wabtec.

“We are building a digital inventory, which means we’re digitalizing all our printable parts. The new solution to scan 2D drawings saves a huge amount of time,” says De Chassey. “3YOURMIND is a great support for our team working in the supply chain, in production, or purchasing because they are getting quick feedback on the printability of the parts.”

Download Real-World Railway Use Cases

Discover real customer case studies that demonstrate the value of on-demand manufacturing.

Railway Reference Cases v4

Learn how railway companies are leveraging on-demand manufacturing to: 

  • Save 50-70% more by producing spare parts on-demand compared to current procurement methods.

  • Identify on-demand manufacturing use cases whose cost savings are projected to generate more than a $20 million return on investment.

  • Reduce production lead times from two years to just three weeks.

Get your free copy here.


Create Faster, More Resilient Supply Chains With On-Demand Manufacturing

Software SuiteRequest Demo