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Siemens AG, Strata Manufacturing PJSC and Etihad Airways have announced partnership to develop first 3D-printed parts for Etihad Airways’ aircraft interiors in the MENA
According to the companies, the partnership aims to revolutionise the aerospace industry, leveraging additive manufacturing – 3D printing – to help airlines to improve their designs, including making complex parts on demand and manufacturing discontinued parts.
Under the partnership, a pilot project will develop 3D printing solutions for aircraft cabin interior products for Etihad, the UAE’s national carrier. These will be the first 3D-printed aviation parts designed, manufactured and certified in the UAE, Middle East and Asia. Siemens will leverage its global expertise in digitalisation and 3D printing to consult on 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 in its factory.
Leveraging the success of the pilot project, Siemens and Strata expect to investigate the development of a strategic three-year joint roadmap for the further industrialisation of additive manufacturing in the UAE and MENA. The roadmap will include training and the development of the 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, Etihad Airways Engineering CEO. “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,” he said.
Assem Khalaili, executive vice-president, Industry Customer Services, at Siemens Middle East, added, “We see great opportunities for 3D printing as a disruptive force in manufacturing, and expect it to play a key role in a globally competitive, increasingly digitalized industrial landscape in the Middle East.
“This is highly relevant technology for the region’s development of an increasingly digitalised and diversified economic landscape, across a wide range of sectors. We are proud to be working with Strata and Etihad to advance 3D printing and strengthen local manufacturing here in the region.”
The Siemens portfolio in 3D printing includes computer-aided design (CAD) software, control, automation and drive systems for additive manufacturing machinery, and the comprehensive digital modeling of all processes. The technology has revolutionized the manufacture of components. Siemens uses it to manufacture parts for industrial gas turbines and rail vehicles, making the design, production and delivery of parts faster, enabling rapid prototyping, manufacture and repair.