Next Generation of AM Solutions for the Aerospace Industry
What do you get when you cross a major international aviation company and a world-leading 3D printing manufacturer? Innovation at 10,000 ft., to set new standards for additive manufacturing in aerospace.
BigRep is thrilled to be switching on flight mode, partnering with renowned Etihad Airways Engineering in defining a roadmap for the development of the next generation of Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions for the aerospace industry. It’s an exciting development for both companies, with a joint aim to employ new approaches to realize the full potential of AM technology. There will be a focus on cabin interior parts for new Etihad aircraft, as well as for the retrofit market.
Etihad and BigRep agree a challenge awaits in terms of broadening the spectrum of AM-suitable polymers that pass the aerospace certification process. At present, one of the main factors prohibiting a breakthrough of AM for aircraft cabin interiors is the absence of a broader variety of high-performance materials that are EASA and FAA-certified. Both parties have agreed to jointly develop and test new material grades in accordance with EASA and FAA criteria.
“Etihad Airways Engineering and BigRep share a vision to bring the 3D-printed cabin into production, together with our partners,” said Bernhard Randerath, Vice President Engineering, Design & Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering. “Our goal is to enable 3D-printing technologies for cabin parts – be it on new aircraft programmes or for retrofit installations – to serve our airline customers with innovative and smart solutions.”
Etihad Airways Engineering, as a leader in innovation, will leverage its experience around the aircraft cabin lifecycle and its drive to develop novel cabin concepts that will be additively manufactured.
Stephan Beyer, CEO (interim) & CFO of BigRep is thrilled to announce lift-off for the partnership, saying, “We believe that Etihad Airways Engineering, with its expertise, is the perfect fit to cooperatively shape the industrialisation of AM for the aviation industry. We believe that we offer the best additive manufacturing solutions today with our BigRep equipment, but to unfold the full potential of our technology for the aerospace sector, we have to jointly certify new aviation materials and establish specific AM design and engineering guidelines in parallel.”
BigRep and its innovation department NOWlab have partnered with world-leading companies in the aerospace, automotive, education, manufacturing and other industries on projects that push boundaries. Whether it’s end-use spare parts with Deutsche Bahn, or concrete casting molds for Geiger, there are a host of instances in which large-scale 3D printing can set new standards for manufacturing and give businesses a competitive edge.
So, if you happen to be on an Etihad flight, sitting next to a large-volume 3D printer, just know that it has its own frequent flyer mile membership and is working hard to further AM in the aerospace industry (so, give it a little of your armrest space)!