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Set Your Drink On a Nice New 3D Printed Cocktail Tray When You Fly Air New Zealand

by • February 23, 2016 • No Comments

logo-airnz-225x39-blackI’ve never been in business class on any airplane, but I’m told it’s rather quite great. You’re not wedged between two or additional individuals with little or no elbow room, the seats are additional effortless, there’s additional leg room, and, many of all, you get free drinks. There’s in fact – on a few airlines, at very least – cute little cocktail trays that fold down unobtrusively so that you can set your drink to the side without having your space impeded by the awkwardly-sized food trays they have in economy seating. Very rad. (It is the little things.)

Air New Zealand is rather focused on those cocktail trays right now – after all, they are an worthwhile part of the flight experience. (They may be for me, anyway.) When a tray breaks, the entire seat is out of commission until the tray can be replaced, that can be a amazingly long time. It is the same issue that plagues thousands of companies – when you depend on an outside developer for parts, you are stuck waiting for as long as it takes for that developer to turn it into and ship a new one. This is why additional and additional companies are turning to 3D printing as a way to create their own parts, automatically and as-needed.


Air New Zealand has decided to take a step forward into 3D printing for the manufacture of their cocktail trays. Again, while the miniature trays may not seem terribly worthwhile, an airline can’t put a passenger in a seat where anything at all is broken, in fact if it’s not directly safety-related. This is particularly true in business class, where customers fully assume to benefit of all the perks they (or their employers) paid extra for. In fact, depending on the layout of the seating, one broken cocktail tray can in fact put three seats out of commission for weeks at a time, resulting in thousands of dollars of lost profit.

AirNZ_3Dprint_cocktailtrayAmazing that a fewthing so tiny can cause so much trouble, right? Air New Zealand has decided to cut out the middleman and start making their own cocktail trays via 3D printing, that they have been working on with assist of the Auckland University of Technology. The trays are the initially step; the airline can many likely start replacing other parts inside their cabins with 3D printed parts in the near following.

“Aircraft interiors are created up of tens of thousands of parts,” said Bruce Parton, Chief Operations Officer for Air New Zealand. “Not only can’t we hold stock of each replacement part we can need, we frequently only need a tiny number of units that can be quite expensive to create via traditional making methods and can involve frustrating delays while a replacement part is delivered. A big advantage of 3D printing is that it allows for us to manufacture cost-effective lightweight parts ourselves, and to do so rapidly without compromising on safety, durablity or durability.”

The airline assumes to install the 3D printed trays in the following few weeks; they’ve accomplished fireproof testing and are now only waiting for final regulatory approval. Air New Zealand can be joining a expanding number of airlines that are starting to incorporate 3D printed parts into their planes; the many notable right now is Airbus, whose new A350 XWB aircraft contains over 1,000 3D printed parts. We may yet see that 100% 3D printed plane preceding too long.

Check out the video at a lower place detailing Air NZ’s plans for the 3D printed cocktail trays. What do you ponder of these changes for the airlines? Discuss in the 3D Printed Cocktail Trays forum over at 3DPB.com.