January 23, 2016 – Three of the biggest global players in industrial equipment manufacturing and aviation – Siemens AG, Strata Manufacturing PJSC and Etihad Airways – have announced that they are to work together to develop the first 3D-printed parts for aircraft interiors in the Middle East and North Africa.
The partnership will leverage additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, with the aim of helping airlines improve their designs, including making complex parts on demand and manufacturing discontinued parts.
The first project for the partnership will be a pilot project to develop 3D printed parts for aircraft cabin interior products for Etihad, the UAE’s national carrier. According to the partners, these will be the first 3D-printed aviation parts designed, manufactured and certified in the UAE, the Middle East and the entire Asian world. Siemens will provide expertise in digitalization and 3D printing to help with the selection of materials, testing and the preparation of processes. The design team of Etihad Airways Engineering will work to certify the parts, and Strata will manufacture the parts.
Following the pilot project, Siemens and Strata expect to investigate the development of a strategic three-year joint roadmap for the further industrialization of additive manufacturing in the UAE, the wider Middle East and North Africa. The roadmap will include training UAE citizens with the required skills for further deployment of 3D printing technology.
“The biggest challenge for the use of flying 3D-printed parts in aviation is certification and we are ready to tackle it and make it a reality,” said Jeff Wilkinson, CEO of Etihad Airways Engineering. “Etihad Airways Engineering will be using its expertise and major design certification approval (Design Organization Approval – Part 21J) to design and certify the first 3D-printed part for aircraft cabin in the UAE. We will be partnering with the certification authority and with Strata to make certified 3D printing for aviation in the UAE a reality.”