We have recently embarked on a partnership with Singapore Airlines Engineering Company to explore establishing a Singapore based additive manufacturing center with the goal of providing design, engineering, certification support and part production to SIAEC’s network of partners and customers. Aviation has been an early adopter of 3D printing for rapid prototyping, and a driving force in the maturation of the technology for manufacturing applications. The low volume, high complexity nature of the industry is perfectly positioned to benefit from the value proposition additive manufacturing offers. From the ability to save time and money on the factory floor with additive approaches to producing fixtures and forming tools, to enabling the redesign of flight components to save weight and reduce risk, we can meet their needs with today’s solutions. And going a step further, with our deep engagement and partnerships, such as this new step with SIAEC, we are able to gain a very comprehensive understanding of their application needs to drive our technology development to meet those needs.
The Maintenance Repair and Overall (MRO) segment of the aviation industry is a segment that has a tremendous opportunity to benefit from the flexibility and speed of additive manufacturing processes. Asia is primed to be a driving force in the MRO market in the next decade, with the region’s market share forecasted to increase 57% over the course of the next decade. (1) The need to efficiently deal with a wide range of unique circumstances across varied fleets of aircraft results in a unique set of supply chain challenges, many of which can benefit from the speed and flexibility of additive manufacturing. The ability to quickly and cost effectively produce a custom tool to speed an unexpected repair, or the ability to produce parts on demand instead of maintaining decades of inventory based on models and estimation can have a dramatic impact on how MRO activities are carried out. In turn they can drive cost reduction in aftermarket, which can translate to savings for the aircraft operators, and in turn, hopefully, can translate into cheaper airfare for us, the members of the flying public.
Singapore Airlines Engineering Company: An MRO Leader
Singapore Airlines Engineering Company recognizes what additive manufacturing can offer the MRO space, and as a leader in advancing MRO services and critically positioned within the network of MRO providers in Asia, they are looking to the future and starting now. We are exciting to be working with such a forward looking team within the MRO space, and their expertise within the market coupled with our expertise in solving aerospace challenges with additive manufacturing solutions makes this a very powerful partnership for leading the way on the adoption of additive manufacturing in the MRO space.
While it will take time to realize all the benefits of such a partnership, by starting now, SIAEC and Stratasys will be able to take advantage of the latest in additive technology and solutions development, as well as our experience producing parts for certified flight applications to build a first-of-its kind offering for the aviation industry. Initial incremental gains in efficiency through the use of additive manufacturing for repair tools and selected aircraft interior components will be followed by much more significant changes in how parts are produced and distributed in the aftermarket. As we continue to push the envelope with new materials and delivery systems suited to specific applications through more and more parts of an aircraft, this partnership will provide a pathway for an industry leader to deliver those new solutions directly to the MRO segment of the aviation industry.