Partnership Between Siemens, Strata and Etihad Brings 3D Printed Aircraft Components to the Middle East and North Africa

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[Photo: Siemens]

As 3D printing – especially metal 3D printing – advances, we’re starting to see the technology used much more extensively in the aviation industry. The most well-known example is probably Airbus – they’ve certainly been one of the most prolific users of additive manufacturing in aviation – but more and more companies are beginning to incorporate the technology into the manufacturing of aircraft components around the world. Today, the signing of a partnership between three major companies will expand 3D printing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as the region will see its first 3D printed parts for aircraft interiors will be produced.

logo-enEtihad Airways, the second largest airline in the United Arab Emirates, will work with Siemens AG and Strata Manufacturing PJSC to leverage additive manufacturing technology to help airlines improve their designs. A pilot project will begin by developing 3D printed components for the interiors of Etihad’s aircraft cabins – the first 3D printed aircraft parts in the UAE, the Middle East and Asia as a whole. Siemens, which has been growing their product lifecycle management program for additive manufacturing, will consult on the selection and testing of materials and the preparation of processes, while the design team of Etihad Airways Engineering will work on part certification. Strata Manufacturing will manufacture the parts in their Abu Dhabi factory.

After the pilot project is completed, Siemens and Strata plan to look into creating a strategic three-year joint roadmap for the purpose of further industrializing additive manufacturing in the UAE, the wider Middle East and North Africa. The plan will include training UAE citizens in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Etihad, meanwhile, will focus on the incorporation of additive manufacturing in aviation, in which they see big potential for the creation of complex, on-demand components as well as the manufacture of discontinued parts.

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“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.”

siemensSiemens has been working with additive manufacturing since 1989, and their comprehensive approach to the technology has made them a major player in multiple industries. Currently, they are the only manufacturer of industrial equipment to offer an end-to-end portfolio that combines automation and digitalization for 3D printing. Their portfolio includes CAD software as well as control, automation and drive systems for additive manufacturing machinery, plus digital modeling for all processes.

“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,” said Assem Khalaili, Executive Vice President, Industry Customer Services, at Siemens Middle East. “This is highly relevant technology for the region’s development of an increasingly digitalized 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.”

Strata will investigate a range of applications for 3D printing in the manufacture of aerostructures, including in areas such as tooling, fixtures and consumables using metallic and non-metallic materials.

strata_logo“Strata is proud to facilitate the application of 3D printing technology in the aerospace field in the UAE for our national carrier Etihad, through our partnership with Siemens,” said Badr Al-Olama, CEO of Strata and head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee. “Our goal is to deploy this technology on practical applications that will allow development of local knowledge building in various aspects of this technology that will lead to future innovations that can benefit the broader aerospace industry. The partnership echoes one of the key objectives of GMIS which is to harness the potential of collaboration in solving global problems and making manufacturing accessible to everyone everywhere.”

Siemens and Etihad will be two of the companies in attendance at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi from March 27 to 30. The conference will bring together organizations across multiple sectors, including aerospace and industrial equipment, as well as from the public sector and civil society to adapt global manufacturing to the needs of the future economy, people and environment. Discuss in the MENA forum at 3DPB.com.

 

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