Air New Zealand investigating metal Additive Manufacturing for aircraft parts

August 9, 2018

August 9, 2018

Air New Zealand investigating metal Additive Manufacturing for aircraft parts

Metal additively manufactured wine aerators before post-processing, produced by Zenith Tecnica for Air New Zealand (Courtesy Air New Zealand)


Commercial airline Air New Zealand has partnered with Zenith Tecnica, Auckland, New Zealand, to investigate the production of metal additively manufactured for aircraft and tools. Zenith Tecnica specialises in the design and manufacture of parts from titanium and other metals using Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM), using machines from Arcam EBM, a GE Additive company.

Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand’s Chief Operations Officer, explained that the airline is committed to innovation though Additive Manufacturing with new materials, stating: “It’s fantastic to be able to team up with and support local operator Zenith Tecnica and work with global company GE Additive to learn and collaborate in this space. 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.”

Parton noted that while these novelty aerators – designed in the shape of aircraft engines – may look frivolous, they represent the genuine possibilities offered by metal AM for cost and space efficiency. “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,” he explained.

Martyn Newby, Managing Director, Zenith Tecnica, added, “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. 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 take it to the mainstream.”

Air New Zealand began investigating Additive Manufacturing in 2016 and has now moved on to the development of items such as improved small parts for IFE screens, as well as working with new partners such as ST Engineering Aerospace on more advanced parts. The airline stated that it is also exploring new processes with Auckland University, Victoria University of Wellington and other technology companies.

August 9, 2018

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap