UP – From Napkin to Prototype: 3-D Printing Revolutionizes Railroading

June 8, 2017

A press release from Union Pacific Railroad:

While NASA is finding ways to use 3-D printing to provide necessities for colonizing Mars, Union Pacific is applying the same technology to make locomotive operations safer and more efficient.

3-D printing is a relatively mature technology, originally dating back to 1984; however, it wasn’t commercialized until the 2000s. Functioning like an inkjet printer, 3-D printers use material – plastic, metal, glass and concrete – to lay down successive layers until a tangible object is created. Each layer or slice can be as small as a quarter of the diameter of a piece of hair.

“Early 3-D printed objects were fragile,” said UP’s Senior System Engineer Royce Connerley. “Today, we’re using tougher plastic allowing 3-D printed parts to be dropped or treated like any other piece of equipment. It’s critical in a railroading environment.”

Click here to see photos and read the full story.


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