Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute have been working with industry partners to improve railway maintenance and repair.

This research is reportedly part of the SenseTrAIn, a ‘futuristic-looking method to efficiently monitor functions relevant to safety in railway engineering’ using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printing. According to Fraunhofer,  layer-by-layer 3D printing process makes it possible to integrate electronic components, such as sensors and actuators, into metallic components. Stopped at the right time, the process enables sensors to be built into the part before the 3D laser continues its work. By controlling the process with AI, the finished system could in future signal itself whether, when and where a replacement or repair is necessary.

Possible applications for the additive manufactured (AM) parts include door mechanisms, primary and yaw dampers and wheelset bearing caps, which seal off wheel bearing housings.

This story uses material from Fraunhofer, with editorial changes made by Materials Today.