As previously published on NZHerald.co.nz
Air New Zealand is claiming a 3D printing world-first for a speedy seat repair before a flight left LA.
A proof-of-concept trial involved a “bumper,” a part which sits behind the airline’s Business Premier monitors and prevents the screen from damaging the seat when it’s pushed in.
The airline ordered a digital aircraft part file from Singapore-based ST Engineering.
The digital file was immediately sent to an approved printer, operated by Moog in Los Angeles, downloaded and 3D printed before being installed within hours on an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 aircraft ahead of its scheduled departure from LAX.
The entire transaction, from purchase to installation, was logged in Moog’s VeriPart digital supply chain system, which is powered by Microsoft Azure Cloud technology.
Blockchain technology – a well-regarded spinoff from the chequered bitcoin – is used to transparently track a transaction for all parties concerned while safeguarding secrets like intellectual property.
Air New Zealand Chief Ground Operations Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says being able to 3D print and certify aircraft parts in this way could present significant benefits to commercial airlines, though the airline did not immediately detail time or money.