Mercedes-Benz Trucks is using 3D printing processes for plastic spare parts as the standard production method in its customer services and parts business.

Genuine spare parts can be ordered and supplied from a 3D printer, quickly, economically, in any quantity and always in consistent genuine manufacturer’s quality, the automotive player said, adding that it is already supplying 30 spare parts using this technology.

Andreas Deuschle, head of marketing and operations in the customer services and parts division of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “In keeping with our brand promise ‘Trucks you can trust’, we set the same benchmarks for reliability, functionality, durability and economy for spare parts from 3D production as for parts from conventional production.

“However, 3D offers many more possibilities; this is why we shall be rapidly extending the production of 3D printed parts.” Presently, at Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, more than 100 000 printed prototype parts are manufactured for individual company divisions every year.

The available spare parts are high-quality plastic components. Covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements are examples of economical spare part production made possible by using the 3D printing process, Deuschle added.

The range includes spare parts for which there is only a low demand in small quantities every year. Producing these is increasingly uneconomical for suppliers – production facilities and tools often have to be retained and maintained for years. The 3D printing process overcomes these challenges.