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Tue 24 Jan 2017 01:49 PM

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Etihad aircraft interiors to be 3D printed in UAE under new deal

Siemens, Strata and Etihad ink agreement to develop first 3D-printed aviation parts in MENA

Etihad aircraft interiors to be 3D printed in UAE under new deal

Germany’s Siemens, Abu Dhabi’s Strata Manufacturing and UAE national carrier Etihad Airways will jointly work to develop the first 3D-printed parts for aircraft interiors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the companies said in a joint statement.

The announcement comes as Abu Dhabi prepares to host the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit from March 27-30.

Under the partnership, a pilot project will develop 3D printing solutions for aircraft cabin interior products for Etihad, which they claimed will be the “first 3D-printed aviation parts designed, manufactured and certified in the UAE, Middle East and the entire Asian world”.

Siemens will leverage its global expertise in digitalisation and 3D printing to consult on the selection of materials, testing and the preparation of processes, while the design team of Etihad Airways Engineering will work to certify the parts. Strata will manufacture the parts in its factory, the statement said.

Siemens and Strata also said they plan to explore the development of a strategic three-year joint roadmap for the further industrialisation of additive manufacturing in the UAE, the wider MENA, which includes training and the development of 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, chief executive officer, Etihad Airways Engineering.

Etihad Airways Engineering will be using its expertise and major design certification approval (Design Organisation 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, said: “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 digitalised industrial landscape in the Middle East.”

Strata will explore 3D printing technology for a range of applications to aid its manufacturing processes in aerostructures in areas such as tooling, fixtures and consumables using metallic and non-metallic materials.

Badr Al Olama, chief executive officer, Strata, said 3D printing has the potential to revolutionise aerospace manufacturing.

“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,” said Al Olama.

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