The largest additive manufactured passenger aircraft part for Qatar Airways

News from the 3D printing industry | 4 April 2019

Diehl Aviation delivered what is reportedly called the largest 3D printed for passenger aircraft part to a famous airline company. The 3D printed part is a curtain comfort header developed with Airbus company. Made with 3D printing FDM technology, it will be installed on Airbus’350 XWB jet airliner and will first be implemented by the Qatar Airways company.

It took 12 months to develop the initial concept to EASA aircraft certification and delivery. The additive manufactured curtain comfort header will have the role of separation between the different classes on-board.

The 3D printed part is made to fit to the curtain rail. Twelve 3D printed component parts are designed before being attached together to make an overall 1140 x 720 x 240 mm part. The additive manufacturing has consequently simplified the production of this curtain comfort header. Normally, all modules are made from numerous layers of laminated fiberglass which required complex tools.

The 3D printed Curtain Comfort Header, the largest 3D printed part for a passenger aircraft. Photo via Diehl Aviation.

Customization is easier with additive manufacturing than traditional manufacturing method which leads to better integration of further functions and presents huge benefit to improve passenger experience thanks to retrofit solutions for example. Also, maintenance of the aircraft is simplified thanks to short execution delays and 3D parts which are easily removable for replacement and reparation.

Diehl Aviation has chosen to design the Curtain Comfort Header for the A350 XWB aircraft exclusively with 3D printing because it appears as the most customizable and convenient solution.

Diehl Aviation is not the only company which recognizes the advantages of 3D printing solutions in the manufacturing of passenger aircrafts. For example, Airbus has already integrated over 1000 3D additive manufactured parts on the Airbus A350 XWB. Then, Finnish airline, Finnair, has also a partnership with Materialise, a 3D printing belgian provider to manufactured 3D parts in order to make cost savings and improve its clients services. Finally, Air New Zealand, has also used 3D printed metal parts in its manufacturing process for aircrafts in partnership with Zenith Tecnica.

More and more airlines companies are going to 3D printing to improve their customer experience both for customization parts but also to have shorter delays and make cost savings.