BigRep and Etihad Airways Engineering have announced plans to collaborate to define a roadmap for the development of the next generation of Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions for the aerospace industry.
The companies aim to employ new approaches to realize the full potential of AM technology, also known as 3D printing, for the production of cabin parts. The goal of the partnership is to accelerate the use of AM equipment in the aviation sector with a focus on cabin interior parts for new aircraft, as well as for the retrofit market.
“Etihad Airways Engineering and BigRep share a vision to bring the 3D-printed cabin into production, together with our partners. Our goal is to enable 3D-printing technologies for cabin parts – be it on new aircraft programmes or for retrofit installations – to serve our airline customers with innovative and smart solutions.” Berhard Randerath, Vice President Engineering, Design & Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering.
Etihad Airways Engineering, as a leader in innovation, will leverage its experience around the aircraft cabin lifecycle and its drive to develop novel cabin concepts that will be additively manufactured. Berlin-based 3D printer OEM BigRep, which provides hardware, software, materials and services for large-scale 3D printing, sees this partnership with Etihad Airways Engineering as a logical step towards becoming the global leader in the digital manufacturing market.
“We believe that Etihad Airways Engineering, with its expertise, is the perfect fit to cooperatively shape the industrialisation of AM for the aviation industry. We believe that we offer the best additive manufacturing solutions today with our BigRep equipment, but to unfold the full potential of our technology for the aerospace sector, we have to jointly certify new aviation materials and establish specific AM design and engineering guidelines in parallel,” said Stephan Beyer, CEO (interim) & CFO of BigRep GmbH.
The partners agree that there is a need for a wider spectrum of AM-suitable polymer materials that can pass the aerospace certification process. At present, one of the main factors prohibiting a breakthrough of AM for aircraft cabin interiors is the absence of a broader variety of high-performance materials that are EASA and FAA-certified. Both parties have agreed to jointly develop and test new material grades in accordance with EASA and FAA criteria.
Since BigRep was launched 3.5 years ago, the start-up has quickly become a world-leading provider of large format 3D printing technology and enters new markets and verticals by partnering with the industry leaders from relevant fields.