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Innovative lightweight sustainable solutions for additively manufactured aircraft interior parts

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - 3DTRAY (Innovative lightweight sustainable solutions for additively manufactured aircraft interior parts)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2017-12-31

As resource efficiency becomes an increasingly important factor in the aviation industry, there is an ongoing search in Europe for more innovative solutions to reduce fuel consumption and contaminant emissions.
The goal of the overall innovation project is to bring to market additively manufactured (AM) aircraft interior parts with lower weight (above 20% reduction) than traditional parts, through an innovative design.
Replacing this product on a large European fleet could save per annum more than 1.200.000 € on fuel and reduce CO2 emissions on more than 4.400 metric tons. Other major savings on taxes for emissions, warehouse and logistic costs, and on more efficient business and operations processes will also be achieved.
The objectives of the feasibility study are to validate and complete our preliminary business plan, which includes a sustainable business model and operations processes, and to mitigate risks for the future industrialisation of AM aircraft interior parts.
As conclusion of the action and after the work done in the phase I of this project, we conclude that the project shall continue. The opportunities detected and the solution proposed that support our business idea have been validated with many stakeholders and remain valid; we have also confirmed our approach, the target users and their need and interest for our solutions – and this has been demonstrated by our first letter of interest. After the research and analysis performed during this phase of the project, we have accelerated the scaling up strategy, developing a more extended range of products and in-sourcing capabilities, so the impact of our project has been updated accordingly.
In our project proposal, we drafted several potential scenarios in terms of commercialization, certification, operations and technology. It was required to deepen into the technical and business details of those options to be able to select the target business model to implement. A main objective and concern was to ensure that the final scenario selected and developed in this feasibility study was holistic, supported by subject matter expert insights, and that the strategies and tactics for each of those aspects were coherent, feasible and aligned between them, allowing us to maximise the probability of success of this project and its financial and social impact.

Specifically, the work performed during the project has been focused to improve and further develop:

1. Supply chain and operations development.
2. Certification strategy.
3. IPR & Legal development.
4. Commercialization strategy.
5. Risk assessment.
6. Financial analysis.

Main results achieved:
1. Supply chain and operations development.
- We preselected and engaged with potential partners that cover the complete operations value chain. This includes short term externalised testing and operations, long term suppliers, and also partners to support the in-sourcing of several capabilities.
- We developed our value chain and progression to long term strategy, understanding requirements, risks, pros, cons and financial impact.

2. Certification strategy.
- We selected a feasible strategy for certification, as well as we developed the associated roadmap, budget, resource plan, challenges, risks and opportunities.
- We strengthened our proposition to customers, demonstrating our adequacy to the regulations of the industry. This increased our brand reputation.

3. IPR & Legal development.
- We performed an exhaustive analysis of the aspects and characteristics of the project to be protected and we drafted a plan to implement those during phase 2. This analysis and their conclusions were validated by experts in this area.
- Conclusions of the state of the art, patentability analysis and freedom to operate made by experts pointed out that up to now no relevant patent has been found that interferes with our design and that our design could probably be patented.

4. Commercialization strategy.
- We have selected a commercialization strategy.
- We have confirmed target users. Market value and sales projections have been updated accordingly.
- We have improved brand reputation and awareness.
- We have attracted potential customers, obtaining a letter of intent from our targeted potential customer.
- We have refined our scale up strategy, including further product developments into our roadmap.

5. Risk assessment.
- We have improved our risks assessment and developed a plan to reduce both the impact and probability of occurrence.
- We have integrated the defined mitigation actions into the Phase 2 implementation plan to increase the probability of success of the project.

6. Financial analysis.
- We have updated our financial plan and cost structure.
- We have updated customer side benefits.

In addition, a project plan, budget and resource plan have been developed for phases 2 (product readiness) and 3 (commercialization and recurring manufacturing) of this project.
Currently worldwide there are very few initiatives that are piloting initial applications to exploit AM technologies for aircraft interiors and near to none have moved to real industrialization. Whilst larger companies like GE are focused on critical heavy high-margin transformations to AM with complex R&D and high certification costs, SME can add value by evaluating and applying existing AM technologies to other parts of an airplane, generating smaller but faster improvements which at the end can result significant. We aim to break the barriers and accelerate the use of advanced manufacturing and materials by SMEs in this industry.

Our initial business idea has evolved from commercializing a single aircraft part to develop a platform that supports scalability and synergies on further developments, accelerating and reducing costs for product development, testing, manufacturing and certification, improving the time to market and the expected revenue.

For a single product type, we foresee an annual turnover of 19m€ after 5 years of commercialization, with a 4% global share, recruiting 25 employees.