Made in Emerging Europe

The Latvian firm bringing low-cost sourcing to the airline industry

AM Craft’s CEO says that the wider adoption of 3D printing should enable airlines to accelerate sustainability goals that the industry is pursuing.

Latvian start-up AM Craft this week announced the closing of a 600,000 euros pre-seed funding round led by Change Ventures, with the participation of BadIdeas.Fund.

AM Craft is an EASA authorised Part 21G aviation supplier that leverages expertise in polymer additive manufacturing, design, airworthiness certification, and a distributed production network to provide end-to-end service to aviation customers. The distributed production network originated with AM Craft’s headquarters in Riga and now also includes a manufacturing hub in Dubai.

Founders Didzis Dejus and Janis Jatnieks are 3D printing veterans, having co-founded and built a reseller operation for Stratasys, the leading industrial 3D printer manufacturer. Before that, they spent several years digging into why 3D printed parts have not been adopted more widely by airlines and aircraft maintainers.

The problem is a structural one. Airlines and maintainers do not typically manufacture or certify parts, and legacy 3D printing companies have focused on delivering printing equipment to manufacturers. This has left the airline and aircraft maintenance market with a strong fit for 3D printing, but no means to adopt the technology within their existing supply chain and business model.

Accelerating sustainability

AM Craft solves both these challenges by delivering a network partner manufacturing model, where they can deliver airworthiness certified parts locally under AM Craft’s EASA Part 21G authorisation, plus a growing library of pre-certified parts that many airlines can source for common components used across different aircraft and cabin models.

As Dejus, also AM Craft’s CEO, says, “The vision is to enable low-cost, rapid sourcing of a large library of parts, delivered sustainably by local certified manufacturing hubs around the world, thereby massively increasing the use of additive manufacturing in spare part sourcing and eventually also original equipment manufacturing (OEM). In addition, the wider adoption of 3D printing should enable airlines to accelerate sustainability goals that the industry is pursuing.”

The company already operates one of Europe’s largest 3D printing hubs at its European headquarters in Riga, Latvia, and last September opened its first network partner manufacturing hub in Dubai.

Co-founder and CCO Janis Jatneiks explains that, “Together with our manufacturing partner, Paradigm 3D, we will be able to produce certified parts exactly where they are needed by our customers. AM Craft has enabled Paradigm 3D to become the first facility in the Middle East capable of producing 3D-printed parts that adhere to stringent aerospace-specific regulations and can be delivered with an EASA Part 21G airworthiness certificate.

“As the next step, we aim to qualify locations in central Europe, South–East Asia and eventually also the US.”

Investor backing

“The AM Craft team has secured a very hard to get certification, EASA Part 21G, to enable them to deliver certified, flight-worthy parts for airlines, MROs and manufacturers,” says Andris Berzins, partner at Change Ventures, the venture capital fund backing ambitious founders from the Baltic States.

“After evaluating an investment over some time, it became clear that they understand the industry very well and have a vision for how to adapt it to a new world where additive manufacturing can provide fast, flexible and cost-effective delivery of parts worldwide. Dubai is just the first step in the journey to build a global network.”

Photo by Bao Menglong on Unsplash.

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