Air New Zealand has announced its partnership with Auckland-based Zenith Tecnica for a 3D printing research project.
The firms will explore the use of additive manufactured metal parts in aircrafts and tools with the aim of reaching more time and cost efficient manufacturing.
The 3D printing company specialises with materials such as titanium to use in its electron beam melting process, which has used to produce parts for yachts, satellites, and Formula One vehicles.
“While we are in the initial stages of working with these companies on 3D printing, so far, we have printed prototype metal framing for our Business Premier cabin, to quickly test new concepts and ideas and we have also made novelty wine aerators,” stated Bruce Parton, Chief Operations Officer at Air New Zealand.
The carrier’s COO said that despite the replica engines being created for “a bit of fun” they represent the future possibilities of implementing the technology in the industry.
“Aircraft interiors are made up of tens of thousands of parts, and the ability to 3D print on demand lightweight parts we only require a small number of, rather than rely on traditional manufacturing methods is of huge benefit to our business, without compromising safety, strength or durability.”
“This is a good project to demonstrate the strength, versatility and utility of titanium 3D printed parts for aircraft applications and it’s very exciting to be working alongside Air New Zealand on this journey,” commented Martyn Newby, Managing Director at Zenith Tecnica.
“We are in a very good position to support the local adoption of 3D printing for aviation applications and welcome Air New Zealand’s enthusiasm to embrace this emerging technology and help it take it to the mainstream.”