INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
Manufacturing precision parts for the extreme conditions of outer space and Formula 1 is an complicated and expensive process. The certification needed is tough to pass and costs mount when only a small number of parts are required.
3D printing has long promised to deliver the ideal solution but while 3D printed plastic and aluminium parts are commonplace, parts printed in the materials needed for extremes of high performance, long life and reliability requires the latest technology and knowledge, that is as yet, still hard to find anywhere in the world.
Zenith Tecnica is one of just a handful of organisations around the world that specialises in manufacturing titanium parts for the aerospace and medical industries and for F1 racecars and America’s Cup yachts. Electron Beam Melting (EBM) printers fuse metal powder using a high-energy, high-temperature electron beam have been installed at their facilityin the Grow North Innovation District. The company is capable of mass production, short runs, or a single customised part for an individual human, as they do for a US-based manufacturer of knee and hip implants.
“That’s where this technology is great, because you can do pretty much whatever you want,” says Zenith Tecnica’s business development manager Bruno Le Razer. “The challenge is to reach production level, and to do that you not only need a machine, you need facilities and a great team and all the quality systems to achieve the necessary certifications. The quick turnaround makes 3D printing so useful for prototyping and testing, as we do for the America’s Cup syndicates.We are part of a very small club in the world.”
Air New Zealand recently formed a partnership with Zenith Tecnica to investigate ways to use the company’s 3D-printed components in its aircraft and ground-based operations. Wayne Thomas, 3D printing and advanced manufacturing project manager for the airline, says Zenith’s story, while not well known at home, is impressive. “They have a very strong reputation internationally in titanium, and a lot of customers in critical, high- performance industries such as medical and space. It’s an incredible capability, really, and it’s right here on our doorstep.”
Zenith Tecnica a preferred option for anyone looking at mass customisation of components for small to large aerospace structures. zenithtecnica.com
ZENITH TECNICA CERTIFICATION
AS9100:RevD certified and has produced many flight-certified components for satellites that are currently in orbit.
ISO9001:2015 certified and has produced many components for high-performance vehicles such as Formula 1 cars and produced many components on high-performance marine vessels such as Grand Prix F1 powerboats and America’s Cup yachts
ISO13485:2016 certified for the manufacture of human implants and have produced many implants in use today.
Grow North articles are written by CEOs that call the Grow North Innovation District home. Edited by Kel Marsh. A free service.
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