Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the railway sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, you will discover 5 promising additive manufacturing (AM) startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Additive Manufacturing Startups
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of railways. For this research, we identified 45 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing additive manufacturing solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 45 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
STYX Technologies – Metal Additive Manufacturing
As the use of 3D printing continues to grow in many industries, rail companies rely on this technology for manufacturing new parts using materials such as metals or polymers. Additionally, the railway sector employs AM as a safe solution for repairing and supplying old rolling stock. To reduce maintenance time and expenses further, startups develop 3D printing solutions for the sector.
French startup STYX Technologies specializes in metal AM for industrial applications. In the 3D printing process, the material is added layer by layer resulting in the reduction of waste and the mass of the product. This makes metal AM a cost-effective solution for rail manufacturers and operators. Additionally, the startup provides 3D modeling, simulation, and repair services.
AutoAbode – Custom 3D Printing Solutions
Simplified customization is one of the advantages of AM. Various techniques, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), and selective laser sintering (SLS) allow manufacturers to make their equipment lighter, stronger, and more flexible. Such versatility is important in the railway industry since train parts manufactured a few decades ago may no longer be available on the market. Therefore, replacing often requires recreating the model and manufacturing the part from scratch. Using additive manufacturing, startups model and manufacture train parts faster and at a lower cost.
AutoAbode is an Indian startup offering custom AM solutions to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers in the railroad industry. The startup’s solutions include rapid prototyping, customization, and industrial 3D printing using FDM, SLA, and SLS, among other techniques.
Orbital Composites – Fleet Lightweighting
Because the use of heavy materials causes increased fuel expenditures, railway companies adopt lightweighting as an effective solution for fuel efficacy optimization. Using polymer materials, 3D printing makes railcars lighter without sacrificing their safety. Thus, AM solutions allow rail operators to cut the costs of fuel and contribute to a more sustainable rail sector.
Orbital Composites is a US-based startup offering carbon fiber 3D printing solutions. The startup enables rail operators to optimize fuel efficiency without rebuilding the entire fleet, thereby saving cost and time. Orbital Composites caters to custom large-scale design solutions allowing for specific modifications of rail vehicles. On a greater scale, utilizing lightweight materials such as carbon leaders lower fuel expenses and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Xometry – 3D Printing Versatility
Material AM requirements for the railway sector are steel, aluminum, titanium, as well as various polymers and alloys. This diversity creates the need to contact multiple 3D printing manufacturers which causes inconveniences and reduces efficiency. Startups maximize their material handling capacity to provide any type of 3D printing solution and become a one-stop-shop for OEMs.
German startup Xometry focuses on 3D printing, computer numerical control (CNC) machining, injection molding, and post-processing services across many industries including railways. Additionally, the startup offers an extensive range of AM materials, including metals, alloys as well as rigid and flexible plastics. Thus it supplies railcar OEMs with versatile 3D printing solutions, allowing them to increase efficiency and cut production costs.
3D HUB – Prototyping
Manufacturing a new railcar or rail bridge requires careful analysis and modeling prior to production. A common step before starting the assembly process is to build a prototype of the machine or structure. Through 3D printing technology, startups build practical prototyping solutions to support rail OEMs make manufacturing processes efficient, cost-effective, and secure.
Spanish startup 3D HUB specializes in AM prototyping solutions across many industries. The startup offers such solutions as SLS, SLA, FDM, and PolyJet AM to rail manufacturers. These products allow rail OEMs to optimize production time and cut prototyping expenses.
What About The Other 40 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 additive manufacturing startups in rail showcased above are promising examples out of the 45 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.