Materialise, Stirling Dynamics and Proponent Collaborate to 3D Print Aircraft Cabin Parts


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3D printing software and service provider Materialise NV (NASDAQ:MTLS) is expanding its presence in the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) landscape of the aerospace sector. In collaboration with Proponent, the largest independent aerospace distributor, and Stirling Dynamics, a respected EASA 21.J-certified aerospace design organization, the company aims to transform aircraft cabin solutions using 3D printing.

Following its 2021 collaboration with Proponent, Materialise allied with the other two firms to offer the aerospace aftermarket certified 3D-printed cabin solutions. Stirling Dynamics will focus on creating superior, certified designs for 3D-printed interior cabin parts, which include comprehensive documentation and assembly instructions. Concurrently, Materialise will utilize its certified production abilities as a 21.G POA, and Proponent will draw upon its broad distribution network. The objective is to ease the adoption of 3D-printed solutions for OEMs and aircraft operators, thereby reducing hurdles to the incorporation of advanced manufacturing technologies.

“The amalgamation of our respective expertise is forming a robust alliance equipped with the necessary skills to reduce AM adoption barriers in the aeronautics sector,” states Jurgen Laudus, Vice President of Materialise Manufacturing. “We offer the capability to design, manufacture, and distribute certified 3D-printed solutions, thereby supporting the aerospace aftermarket in reaping the unique benefits of 3D printing.”

Stirling Dynamics is a part of the Expleo group, which is a technology and engineering consulting firm with an impressive global presence, with over 15,000 staff across 80 locations. In 2021, the group reported revenues of €1 billion, showcasing a growth of 12% from the preceding year. Proponent, a key player in the aerospace distribution sector, delivers expert solutions in aerosystems, seats, and cabin interior equipment.

Bandula Pathinayake, VP of Stirling Dynamics, said, “We are really excited to be partnering with Materialise and Proponent to collectively bring the aviation market a true end-to-end service for aircraft modification and repairs. As an EASA-approved Part 21.J Design Organization (EASA.21J.807), we are passionate about innovation, and we look forward to applying our extensive design capabilities to meet the unique challenges of aviation customers.”

This collaboration has already borne fruit, with several cabin repair solutions being developed between Stirling Dynamics and Materialise. These solutions address specific issues encountered in aircraft cabins. Proponent plays a crucial role in this ecosystem by leveraging its relationships with OEMs to develop endorsed and certified solutions, making them accessible to operators globally.

Erik Krol, Proponent Vice President of Strategic Business Units: “With Stirling Dynamics joining our partnership, we can offer our OEM partners qualified solutions that can easily be incorporated into their aftermarket supply chain. Through this partnership, OEMs can deliver spare parts and repairs in an extremely cost-effective way, ultimately benefiting the airlines and MROs.”

3D printing is finding growing applications in the area of aerospace, where Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) represents a significant opportunity for additive manufacturing companies. Based on the Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast by Oliver Wyman, the global aftermarket, which provides MRO services, is predicted to enjoy a growth of 22% this year, hitting an approximate $94 billion. The growth experienced parallels the sector’s peak in 2019, and by 2033, the market is anticipated to expand to $125 billion, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 2.9%.

Factors of growth include new advancements in technology such as 3D printing. The report “Metal Parts Produced 2023: Global Market Data & Forecast” predicts that over 20 billion aerospace components will be 3D printed by 2030. Materialise is leading the field in developing 3D printing MRO parts for aerospace due to its 30-year industry experience. The last decade saw a surge in 3D printing end parts for aerospace, during which Materialise secured a significant industry positioning by beginning to supply Airbus with 3D printed components for its A350 XWB airplanes in 2015. For this undertaking, Materialise obtained the EN9100 and EASA 21G certifications, empowering the company to manufacture airworthy, 3D printed end-use items for aircraft.

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