World-renowned aerospace services provider Etihad is looking to change up their production processes by adding 3D printing to the mix. As part of a new partnership with EOS systems, Etihad will be printing cabin interior components at its Abu Dhabi facility. This is a crucial development considering that Etihad is the largest aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul provide in the Middle East.
Both companies finalised the alliance at Etihad’s sponsored Abu Dhabi Grand Prix event. The company is letting their Etihad Engineering subdivision handle the shift to 3D printing technology. In particular, they will be looking to optimise repairs, create lightweight design, decrease lead times and add customisation options to their processes.
Etihad previously penned a 3D printing production deal with BigRep as well. This appears to be a continuation of that deal, although BigRep’s involvement is unclear at this point.
Airplane Industry Standards & Certification
“Etihad constantly invests in new technology and has identified additive manufacturing as a key technology for aviation interior parts, as well as applications beyond aerospace in the future,” said Bernhard Randerath, Vice President Design, Engineering and Innovation at the airline. “The technology is a key enabler when it comes to design and innovation in our industry. Etihad is proud to work towards a vision of a 3D printed cabin interior.”
Currently, both companies are in a process of qualifying the appropriate process to meet airplane industry standards. This involves machine, process and also materials standards for all cabin interiors. It may even involve producing entirely new materials for EOS printing systems to match the lightweight designs they desire. Once both companies arrive at an ideal solution, they can standardise the production of parts to all their aerospace customers.
While Etihad is not the first company to employ 3D printing in its operations, it is taking the research to new levels. Their willingness to search for new processes specifically for aerospace applications is the most interesting part of the story. We’ll be waiting to see what new processes and materials the research yields.
Featured image courtesy of EOS.