On December 10th British Airways said it was exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to make aircraft parts in the future, which would be installed at airports around the world to reduce the carbon emissions from aircraft delays and parts distribution. BA predicts that non-essential parts in the cabin will be the first to be put into production and application, including small tableboards, in-flight entertainment systems and toilets, that will not directly affect flight safety.
Ricardo Vidal, head of innovation at British Airways, said the technology was vital to ensuring sustainability and a seamless travel experience. In Its Flight of the Future, BA predicts that over the next decade, 3D printing technology will be combined with biometrics, which will differentiate food and materials based on passenger preferences and nutritional needs, and print products on board aircraft. In addition, 3D printing provides differentiated health supplies for each traveler, helping them combat jet lag.
3D printing is an important step toward a sustainable future in the aviation industry, where 3D printers can produce robust and durable parts but weigh 55% less than traditional parts. Reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 tons for every kilogram of weight lost over the life of the aircraft.
Today, 3D printing technology is increasingly used in the aviation industry, and aircraft manufacturers use 3D printed components in their production processes to effectively reduce the cost and time required to manufacture and deliver products.
For its part, Boeing currently has more than 60,000 3D-printed parts in aerospace, commercial and defense applications. So far, Boeing has invested in four 3D printing plants in 2018.
In the future, 3D printing will be used in the manufacture of aircraft wings. Composites Manufacturing Magazine reported in September 2016 that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) had created a 3D-printed object called “trim-and-drill.” Become seventy-one world record for the largest 3D-printed object. The model is 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and weighs 1,650 pounds. ORNL said the model, which took 30 hours and uses carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composites, will be used to test the wings of the next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft using 3D printing technology.
Some parts of Airbus’s newest wide-body A350 also use 3D printing technology. The technology is also used on the GE9X engine developed for the Boeing 777X, with blades and fuel nozzles made of 3D printing.
In the future, airlines will be using 3D technology extensively, with British Airways listing the 10 most likely in-flight 3D printing products, including cutlery, washing bags, small tableboards, windows, in-flight entertainment system screens, seats, luggage racks, circuit boards for electrical components, cockpit switches and even aircraft enclosures.