Reimaging Air Travel: 3D Printing

Airplanes have redefined distances as well as geographical dimensions. What do you think the frequency of your air travel would be in 2050? How do you generally spend your time on a flight? Well, the future seems to be exciting! Airbus and Autodesk are working together to make every minute of your travel count.

The mission is to make jetliners more efficient and comfortable. They understand that people define comfort differently. For some it would mean greater accessibility and privacy, while for others it would be freedom to use technology to work, play and collaborate.  Hence, these technology giants are making an effort to customize comfort on a flight.

The panoramic views in the plane will make you feel like a free bird. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was how you could interact with people while you are travelling?

Picture Credit- Airbus (1)

Let us give you a glimpse of the concept plane of 2050:

If you have seen this, you would definitely be waiting to know about the making of the future airliner. The concept plane is being designed in a way to make it more eco-friendly. According to an estimate by Airbus, the new design will be much lighter and could save up to 465,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

A partition that separates the passenger compartment from the galley in the Airbus A320 cabin is being redesigned. The new design is called Bionic partition. Generative design and 3D Printing are the two enablers of this structure. Generative design technology tries to copy nature’s evolutionary approach to design and for the partition the inspiration came from mammal bone growth, which are dense at points of stress and lighter everywhere else.

To give a shape to this design and for it to meet the desired output it had to meet the following constraints. It had to be:

– lighter than the current one.

– strong enough to support two jump seats for flight attendants used during take-off and landings

– only one inch thick, to save space.

– attached to plane’s airframe in just four places.

And this is the reason; 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing came into play. This technology simplifies the steps and the time required in the development of complex designs. Let’s understand how manufacturing is reduced to just 3 steps via 3D Printing:

The resulting Bionic partition is structurally very strong as well as very lightweight. According to Airbus, it weighs 45% (30 kg) less than current designs.

Final stress on the partition will be performed soon, which will then be followed by a certification test by aviation authorities. If everything goes well, we will get to see the partitions in commercial A320-series planes by 2018.

Future is really exciting with technologies like 3D Printing which has already started being a problem solver for many industries. We at Morphedo aim to bring this technology closer to the common people.


Also read: 5 innovations in 3D Printing


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