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Air NZ explores 3D printing for metal aircraft parts

Air New Zealand has teamed up with local company Zenith Technica to explore using 3D printing to produce metal aircraft parts and tools.

Based in Auckland’s North Shore, Zenith focuses on designing and manufacturing printed titanium and other metals using electron beam melting technology using equipment made by GE Additive.

“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,” says Air NZ chief operating officer Bruce Parton.

The Star Alliance carrier has been investigating 3D printing technology since 2016, and has used printed small parts for in-flight entertainment screens. It is also working with ST Engineering Aerospace to produce more advanced parts.

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