With the installation of its hybrid printer 4SHIFT at the SNCF techni centers in Saintes as part of the Additive4Rail collaborative project, 4D PIONEERS is pursuing its quest for a revolution in railway maintenance for a more responsible and sustainable economy.
Interview with Ingrid Florentin, co-founder and president of 4D Pioneers.
Can you tell us about the Additive4Rail project and its environmental impact?
The Additive4Rail project aims to solve part of the supply chain problems by using additive manufacturing to produce spare parts on site and on demand, to repair trains in record time and with an excellent carbon footprint.
This project is absolutely necessary in a deteriorating geopolitical and ecological context. Problems with the supply of parts will only increase. Also, the whole current supply chain system seems totally aberrant from an ecological point of view: parts arrive from the 4 corners of the planet, have to be ordered in excess to avoid shortages, are stored in huge energy-consuming hangars and many of these parts end up in the trash because they are obsolete.
With our Additive4Rail partners (SNCF, VLM Robotics and Centrale Nantes), we want to contribute to a more rational and sustainable world.
What is the role of 4D Pioneers in this project?
Our mission is threefold: to digitize more than 300 spare parts from the SNCF catalog, to train and support the team at the Saintes technical center in the manufacture of spare parts "routinely" and on site according to the needs of train maintenance, and to develop a new polymer material, 3D printable and meeting the most demanding railway standards for the manufacture of numerous railway references.
Our materials and processes teams have been working on these different challenges for over a year, and the delivery of the 4SHIFT is a new step in this ambitious project.
The 4SHIFT is creating a buzz, why?
Because it has been thought and designed to meet in every respect the expectations of industrialists who want parts manufactured without any compromise. The parts must be complex, precise, functional and in industrial quality materials.
I won't tell you more, our Project Manager, David Profit will be interviewed in the following days to explain all the features of our machine.
Any last words?
I would like to thank our partners for the quality of this collaboration and their unfailing confidence. We are extremely proud to participate in this great project of the future!