EOS Experience Center in Munich (Image source: EOS)

Etihad and Eos partner to develop 3D-printed cabin interiors

EOS GmbH and Etihad Airways will partner to significantly expand local capabilities for industrial additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – in aviation. The partnership, announced at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, will enable Etihad Airways Engineering to produce 3D-printed aircraft parts at their facility in Abu Dhabi.

The initial phase of this collaboration, which uses EOS technology with an EOS additive manufacturing system, will include the qualification of machine, process, and materials in accordance with aviation regulatory requirements.

Following a structured selection process, suitable cabin interior parts will be produced through the additive manufacturing process, which offers a substantial value-add in terms of optimized repair, lightweight design, shorter lead times, and customization options, particularly during aircraft modifications.

EOS’s has previously produced additively manufactured cabin and cockpit equipment, functional lightweight components such as lightweight belt buckles made of high-quality Ti64 titanium, air conditioning and heating elements made from robust plastics, cable ducts, loading systems, and parts for catering and sanitary areas using cost-effective laser sintering technology.

According to EOS, the AM concept affords users maximum flexibility in product design and manufacturing. It enables just-in-time series production of modified parts, upgrades, and spare parts, even in small production runs. This enables fast and profitable fulfilment of airline-specific individualization requirements, such as VIP solutions, retrofits, or designer interiors.

An Etihad economy class interior (Image source: Etihad)

Even one-off pieces do not cause added cost. This obviates the need and expense for the storage of numerous spare part versions. Using innovative EOS laser sintering equipment, aerospace companies can implement successful and sustainable strategies for the design and manufacture of cabin and cockpit equipment components.

Markus Glasser, senior vice president Export Region at EOS and Bernhard Randerath, vice president Design, Engineering, and Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering (Image source: EOS)

“The technology is a key enabler when it comes to design and innovation in our industry. Etihad is proud to work towards a vision of a 3D-printed cabin interior,” said Bernhard Randerath, vice president of Design, Engineering and Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering during the announcement.

Markus Glasser, senior vice president Export Region at EOS added, “Etihad is providing industry-leading aircraft maintenance and engineering solutions. As such we share the same mindset as both of our companies are committed to high quality solutions and constant technology innovation. We are honored to support our partner on this innovation journey, as such bringing the production of aircraft interior parts to the next level.”

After the initial steps have been completed, Etihad Airways Engineering will certify the additive manufacturing process and develop further additive manufacturing capabilities based on EOS technology.  The two companies will also jointly develop, test, and qualify new polymer materials for aerospace applications.

Ultimately, Etihad plans to roll-out additive manufacturing services among their customers and within their broader ecosystem.

Krailling, Germany-based EOS is a leading technology supplier in the field of industrial additive manufacturing and Etihad Airways Engineering is the largest aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East.

Learn more

William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.
  Continue reading »