Additive Manufacturing: the Strongest Link in the Supply Chain

Global XRS USB-C Cabin Power Upgrade (2022)

When the owner of a nearly fifteen year old Bombardier Global Express XRS had first inquired about the upgrade of their cabin power options from the European standard 230v, 50Hz to American standard 115v, 60Hz, there were only hints of looming supply chain issues affecting electronics of all kinds. However, by the time of approval, hints of issues became very real frustrations, as order delivery estimates came back at more than six months for some of the necessary components–and we’re talking about major suppliers. As this particular aircraft owner had already secured a slot for a major radar system upgrade within the Repair Station, timing was everything. With only four weeks left before planned return to service, agility and creativity were key.

The project consisted of a few major steps from an engineering perspective. First, the right components had to be sourced for the USB power outlets (the owner opted for DC powered USB outlets at each seat for their mobile devices). In order to mount the new units, it was decided that removing the Wireless Passenger Control Units (WPCU) was ideal as they were never used. New electrical and load schematics had to be drafted up, and custom-made mounting solutions designed and fabricated.

But how could all of this be done within a four week timeline? Enter our secret weapon, and a company that every Repair Station should have in their war chest: Cabin Management Solutions (CMS). With the ability to custom design the mounts and faceplates necessary for their drop-in USB Cabin Power Supplies and WPCUs, and the even more impressive ability to utilize additive manufacturing (3D printing) to fabricate them using high-strength, carbon-infused filament, timing and the quality of the end project were no issue. Installations for CMS’ entire range of cabin management and power systems are entirely bespoke to each aircraft, in addition to standardized solutions.


Key to releasing the aircraft on its originally promised return to service date was the quick and comprehensive action by electrical Design Engineering Representative (DER), TD Aero, and mechanical DER, Aerospace Quality Research & Development (AQRD). The scope of the project from an engineering perspective was sizable as it involved wiring spanning the entire cabin and customized mounting solutions that worked with the existing interior, but ACI Jet’s engineers in the Avionics Department were able to work seamlessly with both Cabin Management Solutions and the DERs to get the approvals required on the owner’s timeline.

Perhaps the biggest reason why this project was able to hit its original target out date is the new 3D fabrication technologies being pioneered and utilized by CMS and in-house by ACI Jet for tooling and other purposes. On-demand fabrication at the location needed is the vision behind the technology, and within the aerospace industry, it’s becoming more and more a reality.

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When ACI Jet is everything and a Repair Station.

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