Dec 13, 2016 | By Tess

Airbus APWorks GmbH, a subsidiary of German aerospace giant Airbus, recently announced that it has won the Federal Ecodesign Award for its Bionic Partition design concept. The Bionic Partition was additively manufactured by APWorks using its innovative Scalmalloy® material.

Airbus was presented with the Federal Ecodesign Award for concept by Maria Krautzberger, the president of the Federal Environment Agency. Other categories for the prize include Product, Service, and Young Talent. The 3D printed Bionic Partition design was selected amongst over 160 entries, 26 of which were officially nominated for one of the prizes. First launched in 2012, the Federal Ecodesign Award seeks to highlight and recognize new products and concepts that showcase “high ecological and aesthetic aspirations”.

Airbus’ winning design concept consists of a Bionic Partition that essentially divides the seating area from the galley in an airplane. While that may not sound too complicated, consider that the partition also has to include a cutout for emergency stretcher access, as well as a fold out seat for cabin attendants to sit in. Not only did Airbus’ engineers manage to include these elements in the Bionic Partition design, but by 3D printing it out of Scalmalloy, they were able to cut down the equipment’s weight by an impressive 45%. The weight reduction means that less fuel needs to be consumed by the aircraft, which in turn means that less CO2 emissions (10 tons per aircraft per year) are emitted.

Design with modularity in mind, the Bionic Partition can easily be installed into existing aircraft to replace older, much heavier partition models. If a piece of the partition breaks or is compromised, its modular design also allows for certain parts to be 3D printed and replaced, so that an entirely new partition is not necessary.

The innovative product was conceived of and designed by Airbus and Autodesk, while APWorks took charge of the 3D printing. As mentioned, APWorks 3D printed the partition out of its Scalmalloy material, a corrosion resistant aluminum alloy with a strength comparable to that of titanium. According to the companies, the partition material is also entirely recyclable.

Professor Matthias Held, professor at the School of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd and board member of the German Society for Design Theory and Research DGTF, commented on the partition in a jury statement saying: “With the Bionic Partition Wall, Airbus is demonstrating in exemplary fashion the different possibilities offered by additive manufacturing… The branch-like structures give an insight into the formal-aesthetic potential of topological optimization.”

Airbus has been working on its Bionic Partition for years now, having introduced its concept for the 3D printed partition over two years ago. The 3D printed partition’s structure was inspired by bone and cell structures.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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