Feb 13, 2016 | By Kira

Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aerospace), which provides aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul for commercial and military aircraft, has today opened a new VIP Aircraft Interiors Centre equipped with digital design studios and 3D printing workshops for the design, upholstering and fabrication of luxury aircraft cabin interiors.

According to recent reports, there is a rising level of affluence across Asia and the Middle East, and a growing number of billionaires with unique consumer needs. One of these appears to be bespoke cabin refurbishment for their private, business and corporate jets, and with its new facility, ST Aerospace intends to swoop in and answer the call.

The 2,690-square-meter VIP aircraft interiors centre, located at the Seletar Aerospace Park, includes a hangar capable of holding a Boeing 757 aircraft, several design studios, and workshops outfitted with the latest 3D printing technology, which will be used to design and create detailed, customized scale models before production. In addition to creating interiors, the centre will provide maintenance for narrow-body VIP aircraft, including Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets.

ST Aerospace has spent S$1.7 million (US$1.2 million) on the facility so far, and expects to invest a total of S$8.million (US$5.7 million) over three years, with the intention of meeting the growing demand for customized, luxury aircraft cabin interiors coming from Asian and Middle Eastern customers.

"The numbers [of billionaires] here have already exceeded the numbers in the US. So we know that this is maybe just a beginning of the market for VIP aircraft, but we expect the growth to be quite significant over the next 10 to 20 years," said ST Aerospace's executive vice president for aircraft maintenance and modification, Ang Chye Kiat. 

Though the facility is the first of its kind in the region, it leverages the experience of the AERIA Luxury Interiors Centre in San Antonio Texas, a division of VT San Antonio Aerospace, which in turn is an affiliate of ST Aerospace. ST Aerospace’s highly skilled engineers and craftsmen received special skills and training in San Antonio in order to learn the detailed processes for designing, engineering and installing VIP interiors, including cabinetry, upholstery, interior design, certification and installation, bringing this knowledge directly back to Singapore. ST Aerospace estimates that the new VIP Interior Centre will create roughly 70 new skilled jobs within the country.

As part of the bespoke aircraft interior experience, aircraft owners will collaborate directly with the designers to completely customize every aspect of the interior, choosing everything from the wood grain down to the upholstery stitching. The facility’s 3D printer workshops will facilitate this collaborative approach by allowing the designers to create detailed 3D models and 3D printed scale models to ensure complete customer satisfaction before production begins.

The opening of the facility is seen as a strategic move that will help ST Aerospace “move up the value chain” by diversifying into high, value-added services and increasing Singapore's geographical footprint in the aerospace and aircraft ecosystem.  In addition to unveiling the new VIP aircraft interiors facility, ST Aerospace also announced that it has secured five major maintenance and refurbishment contracts, including three for Boeing Business Jets, an Airbus Corporate Jet and a Boieng 757.

While we have seen many instances of 3D printing technology being applied to the prototyping and even manufacturing stages of specific aerospace components, 3D printing is increasingly making its way into aircraft cabin interiors and cabin interior design. Recently, the U.S. Air Force has approved cost-saving 3D printed parts for AWACS aircraft interiors, and Airbus has started 3D printing a cabin partition that significantly reduces weight.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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