The UAE’s second largest airline Etihad Airways, has displayed what is tipped to be the region’s “first 3D printed aircraft interior part“. 3D printed plastic frames used to house monitors installed in the back of passenger seats were shown at Abu Dhabi’s Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit 2017.
Replacements for such parts would typically be held in a warehouse and subject to a mass produced order. By switching to 3D printing, the airline eliminates the need for physical storage of the parts, and they can be made on demand at a fraction of the cost and time. In a similar manner Deutsche Bahn are aiming to digitize their inventory as part of the Mobility Goes Additive project.
“the potential to revolutionize” aerospace
Etihad Airways has 6 different models in its fleet of commercial airlines. 35 planes in this fleet are Airbus A320 models, and each plane has a capacity for up to 174 passengers. With this in mind, you can see how quickly the number of parts, and resulting cost, starts to add up.
As explained by Badr Al Olama, CEO of Strata Manufacturing who 3D printed the parts,
This technology has the potential to revolutionize the aerospace industry through innovation, while also developing local knowledge and skills. We are extremely proud to announce the successful completion of our pilot project, this is a key step towards our goal of deploying 3D printing technology on live applications.
The 3D printed future of the UAE
An initiative launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, aims to make the nation a global center for 3D printing by the year 2030. One part of this initiative is the Dubai Future Accelerators program, supported by some of the city’s key governmental authorities.
H.E. Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (which is a part of Dubai Future Accelerators) was present at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit and saw the 3D printed part first hand.
Under Al Tayer’s administration the Roads and Transport Authority has produced the 3 km Dubai Water Canal. Multinational conglomerate GE also has a stake in the additive future of the UAE, having signed an MoU with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
Readers can also vote now in the first annual 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Featured image shows Etihad Airways seating with monitor placements that can now be replaced by 3D printed parts. Photo by Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt