Aerospace AMAviation

AM Craft enables lightweight cabin upgrades in Finnair’s A320 fleet

Delivering more than 300 3D printed blanking panels on a just-in-time basis to replace existing flip-down video monitors

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Latvian startup AM Craft completed a Finnair project to produce blanking panels to replace existing flip-down video monitors within the Passenger Service Units (PSUs) of Finnair’s Airbus A320 fleet. AM Craft is delivering more than 300 of these components. By leveraging AM, the panels are delivered on a just-in-time basis to provide the install-ready, airworthiness-certified parts that Finnair needs at the moment they are needed in the cabin upgrade for 17 individual aircraft.

This efficiency results from AM Craft’s expertise with additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, which enables rapid production timelines and zero tooling costs, ideal for low-volume/high-mix manufacturing. Finnair’s Totti Pekonen, Manager of Cabin & Payload Engineering stated, “Since starting the installation campaign of the printed panels as a fleet-wide solution during the fourth quarter of 2023, the work has been progressing smoothly and on schedule thanks to the support from AM Craft.”

AM Craft enables lightweight cabin upgrades in Finnair’s A320 fleet delivering more than 300 3D printed blanking panels
Front and back of the PSU In-fill panel showing both the 3D printed nature and the cosmetic finish.

To address the Finnair challenge, AM Craft helped conceptualize a solution and turn that concept into reality based on AM Craft’s experience designing, producing, and certifying airworthy parts for the aviation industry. By using additive manufacturing, the AM Craft blanking panel solution could be designed to optimize weight, be produced and delivered exactly when needed, and meet all Finnair operational and airworthiness requirements. Because they hold an EASA 21G Production Organization Approval, AM Craft is also able to certify the airworthiness of the parts they manufacture. Thus, Finnair was able to turn to them for end-to-end support from project initiation through to delivering install-ready parts complete with Form 1 airworthiness certificates.

“This project is a great example of how well additive manufacturing fits within the aviation sector. As the average age of the commercial fleet continues to grow, there are many opportunities where it makes sense to redesign a part and produce only the quantity needed rather than try to leverage the long lead times of the original source. With additive manufacturing, we can realize great low-volume, high-mix economics, and we can often reduce part count and weight in the process,” said Janis Jatnieks, AM Craft’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Without additive manufacturing, this could have been a much slower and more expensive project, but because AM Craft can manage the entire project to design and certify a printable solution, Finnair saved time and money, and also significantly reduced the weight of these parts.”

AM Craft enables lightweight cabin upgrades in Finnair’s A320 fleet delivering more than 300 3D printed blanking panels
With the flexibility of the design and certification approach, fill panels can be printed to the needed size.

Through AM Craft’s flexible production model, blanking panels can be delivered to Finnair on a just-in-time basis, which minimizes excess inventory and eliminates costs associated with the traditional supply chain. “Now that this part has been developed, certified, and added to our digital catalog, it will be available to Finnair, or any other airline that requires this solution for an A320, again at any point in the future,” added Jatnieks, “and because of our network of approved production facilities, if the next part is needed in Dubai or Singapore, we can produce it locally and have it ready to install wherever it is needed without stocking or shipping.” AM Craft’s novel approach to the part design and certification allows the panels to be printed in multiple lengths, tailored to the need of the specific installation yielding maximum flexibility for future customers.

With multiple shipsets installed, and the rest slated for installation within 2024, Finnair and AM Craft see continued opportunities to work together on future projects. Totti Pekonen noted, “The parts we received from AM Craft were of high quality and delivered on time. Though they were a new supplier for us on the PSU project, we have been very impressed by their expertise and professionalism and look forward to continuing to work with them.”

AM Craft utilized Stratasys FDM technology and ULTEM 9085 filament to produce the PSU replacement panels for Finnair, and finished the panels in AM Craft’s certified paint shop.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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