Truck spare parts on demand – out of the 3D printer

July 13, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the truck business, customers expect from their vendors that they are able to provide spare parts even many years after the vehicle has been rolled off the assembly line. The supply of these spare parts however is a tricky logistic and economic problem because no one ever knows which parts and how many of them will be needed. Daimler Trucks now has introduced a solution to this problem: The company manufactures the spare parts on demand, fresh from the 3D printer.

As of September, 30 genuine spare parts for the company’s trucks can be ordered and supplied from the 3D printer. With the use of 3D printing technology as an state-of-the-art production process in after-sales, the company is taking on the pioneering role and technological leadership among the global truck producers.

Today at Daimler more than 100.000 printed prototype parts are manufactured for the individual company divisions every year. The available spare parts consist of high-quality plastic components. Covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements are examples of spare part production made possible by using the 3D printing process.

The "printed" spare parts are created with 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process. To ensure the desired quality, the process parameters have been optimised and determined by the Daimler research and development divisions. The technology makes sure that even after several decades, rapid supply to the customer is ensured via the Mercedes-Benz logistic supply chain everywhere in the world.

resource-conserving 3D printing process is playing a pioneering role in the after-sales. The challenge in the spare parts business lies in securing supply even for model series which are no longer produced. This means that the range also includes spare parts for which there is only a low demand in small quantities every year. Producing them is thus increasingly uneconomical for suppliers – production facilities and tools often have to be retained and maintained for years. With the 3D printing process such challenges are a thing of the past. For every 3D spare part is available on demand at short notice.


The printing itself can take place within short time following receipt of the design definition and order, considerably speeding up the production and supply of spare parts. As spare and retrofit parts can still easily be manufactured even after a long time using the data stored and supplied without any