Etihad Engineering and Diehl launch pilot project for 3D printing

The Etihad Airways Engineering and Diehl Aerosystems teams will be working together on the first serial produced 3D-printed cabin plastic part. Left to Right: Holger Hafner, Senior Vice President Corporate Retrofit – BFE, Diehl Aerosystems; Harald Mehring, Chief Customer Officer, Diehl Aerosystems; Rainer von Borstel, Chairman of the Board and CEO Diehl Aerosystems; Bernhard Randerath, Vice President Design, Engineering and Innovation, Etihad Airways Engineering; Stephan Keil, Senior Manager Production, Project Delivery and Innovation, Etihad Airways EngineeringEtihad Airways Engineering has signed an agreement with Diehl Aerosystems to jointly design, manufacture and install the first serial produced 3D-printed cabin plastic part on an aircraft for one of its customers.

Additive manufacturing – commonly referred to as 3D-printing – reduces lead time in design, decreases production cost of and enables speedier manufacturing.

Etihad Airways Engineering and Diehl have collaborated to develop and manufacture an inflight entertainment cover plate that will be installed in economy seats on several aircraft of a Middle Eastern airline that is a customer of Etihad Engineering. The two companies plan to create a range of products based on the experience gained from this pilot project.

Jeff Wilkinson, Etihad Airways Engineering Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways Engineering is leveraging its Part 21J Design Organization approval by EASA – with Diehl contributing as a Part 21G Production Organization – in this pilot project.

“Our partnership with Diehl will help us commercialize this technology and make it available to our customers around the world.”

The 3D-printed part offered a cost saving of around 20% to 30%, and does not require tooling and avoids any permanent The IFE plastic cover was produced at a savings of 20% to 30%modification to the seat.

Etihad Airways Engineering is the first airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval to design, certify, manufacture and fly 3D-printed aircraft cabin plastic parts.

Diehl Aerosystems has been working in the field of 3D printing technology for several years, building up knowledge and capabilities to supply EASA-certified 3D-printed aircraft parts to the aviation industry. Diehl can act as design partner and Production Organisation, depending on the customer requirements.

Etihad Airways Engineering is an AS9110 certified organisation and already holds EASA 145 approval, alongside EASA 21J approval for designing and undertaking minor and major changes and repairs. The company is the Middle East’s leading aviation MRO provider.