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Managing Editor  | July 2017

3-D printing enables development of first all-electric commuter plane


Additive manufacturing and 3-D printing solutions company Stratasys announced that it was working with Israeli aviation company Eviation Aircraft on the research and development of the first all-electric commuter aircraft.

 

eviation_600

Eviation is working on the first all-electric commuter aircraft with help from 3-D printing.
(Eviation/YouTube)

 

By using Stratasys 3-D printing technology, Eviation was able to save time and money in the development of its all-electric plane, which includes more efficient aerodynamics and propulsion systems to make electric air travel possible for short flights.

 

The company used Stratasys to 3-D print its wing-tip motors in hours, rather than waiting for the final motor to be shipped, and sped up the process of evaluating the functionality of the design. Stratasys was also able to 3-D print curved, lightweight parts in new geometries that fit into Eviation’s new exterior design.

 

The electric plane, dubbed “Alice”, carries nine passengers a distance of 1,000 kilometers at a speed of 240 knots. A trip on Alice is expected to cost the same as a train ticket.

 

“Our ability to create new iterations of designs with 3D printing and see how they perform in real-time is helping us reduce critical capital costs, even as we accelerate our rapid prototyping phase,” said Eviation founder and CEO, Omer Bar-Yohay. “The kind of highly iterative, in-house manufacturing process that Stratasys 3D printing has refined is crucial to the life of a company in the constantly changing, and highly competitive, transportation space.”

 

“All in all, in two years of operation we have saved several hundreds of thousands of dollars with Stratasys 3D printing and I would estimate six months or more of workforce hours, which made this project possible,” added Bar-Yohay. “Today we are using the technology for prototyping test parts and tooling; the ability to produce lightweight parts in complex geometries will also enable us to explore the possibility of 3D printing parts for the final aircraft.”

 

“Eviation is a great example of how 3D printing promotes in-house innovation and can accelerate what is typically a long and expensive development phase for both start-ups and mature companies. This enables them to develop new concepts and produce working prototypes quickly, without racking up significant costs up front,” says Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Head of Rapid Prototyping Solutions Business Unit, Stratasys.

 

Eviation expects to begin test flights in late 2018 and make its aircraft commercially available as early as 2021.

 

Learn more about this collaboration in the video below:

Kamweld Intro

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