Aug 9, 2018 | By Thomas

Air New Zealand has teamed up with New Zealand company Zenith Tecnica to investigate 3D printed metal parts for aircraft and tools which it says can cut development time and costs.

A 3D printed wine aerator. Image: Air New Zealand

The airline has been working with the North Shore based, New Zealand owned and operated company which specialises in the additive manufacture of titanium parts. Zenith Tecnica utilizes Arcam’s electron beam melting (EBM) which works by melting metal powders together to create complex geometric parts that traditional manufacturing techniques cannot replicate. It has built parts for satellites, Formula One cars and yachts.

“This is a good project to demonstrate the strength, versatility and utility of titanium 3D printed parts for aircraft applications,” says Zenith’s managing director, Martyn Newby.

Air New Zealand started 3D printing simple plastic cabin components back in 2016 and has been working with partners such as ST Engineering Aerospace on more advanced parts.

Air New Zealand Chief Operations Officer Bruce Parton says the airline is committed to innovation through 3D printing with new materials.

"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.

"While the aerators, made to look like replica aircraft engines, are a bit of fun we're really excited by the possibility they represent as 3D printing is both cost and space effective."

The airline is also exploring new production processes with Auckland University, Victoria University of Wellington and other technology companies. Most recently it has been using a 3D laser scanner for creating parts' designs, tool designs and interior modelling.

“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,” says Patton.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Corkmaster wrote at 8/14/2018 5:33:11 AM:

Yzorg. Obviously you've never flown Creamium

yzorg wrote at 8/9/2018 5:43:18 PM:

apparently a wine aerator is a crucial part of an aircraft wich, of course needs to be made by 3D printing.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive