German maintenance provider Lufthansa Technik is co-operating with Swiss engineering group Oerlikon to develop additive manufacturing processes for the MRO industry.

Statements from the two companies confirm that they have signed a tentative deal for a one-year partnership to "accelerate" establishment of "robust and repeatable" 3D printing processes for the maintenance sector.

Under the project, "representative component geometrics" will be produced on identical printers located at Oerlikon's additive manufacturing facilities in US city Charlotte, North Carolina; in Barleben, Germany; and at LHT's Hamburg headquarters.

"The same process parameters and powder specifications will be used to understand process repeatability," the partners state.

They add that the co-operation can be extended to other printer models, and that the project's results will be shared with industry bodies to help define qualification and approval standards for 3D-printed aircraft components.

LHT's vice-president engine services Bernhard Krueger-Sprengel frames the project as an opportunity to accelerate development of "local [additive manufacturing] repair capabilities on a global scale".

Earlier this year, Oerlikon formed a partnership with Boeing to develop standard additive manufacturing materials and processes for production of structural titanium components.