AEROSPACE GLOBAL NEWS

Etihad Engineering collaborates with EOS and BigRep to open the Region’s First 3D Printing Lab

3D Printing Lab
  • The AM facility has received Design and Production Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
  • The facility will manufacture 3D printed aircraft parts.
  • It is the first Airline MRO to receive EASA approval to design, produce and certify 3D printed cabin parts using powder-bed fusion technology, in partnership with EOS.
3D Printing Lab
Above: Dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 3D Printing Lab/Image Credit: Etihad Engineering

Etihad Engineering, the industry-leading Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) division of Etihad Aviation Group, has unveiled its additive manufacturing facility adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport. The 3D printing lab features industrial 3D printers from two of the biggest German printer manufacturers, EOS and BigRep.

Etihad Engineering 3D Printing Lab

3D Printing Lab
Above: EOS P396 powder-bed fusion technology 3D printer/Image Credit: EOS

Etihad Engineering’s 3D printing lab boasts of an EOS P396 powder-bed fusion technology system. The polymer printer will be used to manufacture high performance and high-quality aircraft applications mainly from inside the cabin. The EOS system has a build volume of 340 x 340 x 600mm.

3D Printing Lab
Above: BigRep ONE FFF 3D printer/Image Credit: BigRep GmbH

The 3D printing lab also has installed BigRep ONE, one of the largest, serial-built industrial FFF 3D printers in the world. The BigRep ONE has a build volume of 1005 x 1005 x 1005mm. It is designed for manufacturing large parts, jigs and fixtures as well as moulds – on site and on demand.

The most unique aspect of the 3D printing lab is its design and production approval from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Etihad Engineering, together with its partner EOS, received one of the first Airline MRO approvals from EASA for 3D printing using powder-bed fusion technology which will be used to design, produce and certify additively manufactured parts for the aircraft cabin of the future

Speaking about the 3D printing lab, Bernhard Randerath, VP Design, Engineering and Innovation, Etihad Engineering, “The launch of the new facility is in line with Etihad Engineering’s position as a leading global player in aircraft engineering as well as a pioneer in innovation and technology. We are extremely proud to collaborate with EOS and BigRep to expand our capability and support the UAE’s strategy to increase production technology and cement its position as a global aerospace hub.”

According to Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President, Export Region, EOS, “Being committed to high-quality solutions and constant technology innovation, Etihad Engineering and EOS share the same mindset. Together, we want to bring the design and production of aircraft interior parts to the next level.”

He added, “Producing cabin interior parts additively will offer a substantial value-add in terms of optimised repair, lightweight design, shorter lead times and customisation, addressing some of the key challenges of the aerospace industry.”

Speaking about its printers used in the 3D printing lab, Martin Back, BigRep Managing Director commented, “Our 3D printers have established 3D printing and AM as an innovative, added-value technology in the aviation industry. They offer an unprecedented level of precision, quality and speed, and enable us to use the high-performance, innovative printing materials the aviation industry requires.”

He continued, “Together with Etihad Engineering, we will develop the full potential of AM. In the next phase, a BigRep PRO, the most advanced large-format FFF 3D printer will be installed.”

The facility was officially opened in a ceremony attended by His Excellency Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE in recognition of the relationship between the German companies EOS and BigRep and the UAE’s Etihad Engineering.

As an MRO solutions provider, Etihad Engineering believes in constantly evolving & enhancing its service value and so the 3D printing lab, collaboration with EOS & BigRep and the EASA approval will strengthen its foothold as the world-leader in aircraft maintenance.


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