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The Race for the Future of Aircraft SeatingThe benefits of reducing the basic empty weight (BEW) of commercial aircrafts a...
safety and legal requirements. One of those main requirements is that seats must be designed towithstand strong forces so ...
environmental and labor practices as opposed to competitive composite processes that are employedin developing countries w...
to the aircraft industry itself, but to the economy and to the environment as well. Would Airlines beinvesting in new airc...
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The Race For The Future Of Aircraft Seating

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The benefits of reducing the basic empty weight of commercial aircrafts are widespread and there for have become a high priority for airline manufactures. Any design that results in a reduced basic empty weight (BEW), or an overall reduction in weight of the aircraft will reduce the amount of fuel required to operate a commercial aircraft and thus the cost of fuel.

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Transcript of "The Race For The Future Of Aircraft Seating"

  1. 1. The Race for the Future of Aircraft SeatingThe benefits of reducing the basic empty weight (BEW) of commercial aircrafts are widespread andtherefore have become a high priority for airline manufactures. Any design that results in a reducedBEW, or an overall reduction in weight of the aircraft will reduce the amount of fuel required to operatea commercial aircraft and thus the cost of fuel. This benefits the economy, the environment andconsumers who will indirectly benefit from reduced ticket prices. Aircraft seating manufacturers areaware that the race for the future is now; the monopoly on aircraft seating production is for the taking.The aircraft industry is struggling. Where there previously no such strong incentive to invest inradically new technology existed, the industry suddenly doesn’t have a choice. With jet fuel pricesapproaching $130 US dollars/barrel, airlines have to invest in something. They have to invest inwhatever viable alternative presents itself in an effort to increase profit in a difficult time. The plan forthe future is to decrease the amount of room installed aircraft components take up in order to increasethe amount of space available, with intentions of maximizing the payload which means morepassengers per flight and thus increased revenue, as well as reduced ticket prices for passengers. Ithas been estimated that each pound reduction on the aircraft will save $500 in fuel. On the plane,seating has been targeted by manufactures and aircraft seating engineers as a main area whereweight and the space passenger seating occupies can significantly be reduced. The aim is not todeprive passengers of comfort or amenities, which would simply be out of the question for commercialaircrafts who need to contend with other airlines, but rather to decrease the weight of already existingamenities on the aircraft. Individual passengers can benefit from potentially more affordable flights,society will reap the benefits of new highly skilled jobs being produced, reduced Carbon and C02emissions will be as a result of decreased jet fuel consumption and thus also the environment willbenefit. Aircrafts today need light, more affordable solutions for their interior components. It issuggested that the efficiency of fuel can be doubled given significant amendments to the weight of theaircraft. Many companies have been experimenting with different materials and designs in an effort toproduce lighter seats. The biggest obstacle to reducing the weight of seats and thus the overall weightof the aircraft is that amendments that will affect the load of the aircraft must be reassessed andadhere to the aircraft safety and legal requirements, as well as successfully pass through certificationprocesses.There are a dozen companies with new innovations hoping that airlines will favor their seats over thenumerous others, many of which will never be given a patent because they don’t comply with aircraft------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: eq@iqpc.de | w: www.iqpc.de Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences: www.iqpc.de
  2. 2. safety and legal requirements. One of those main requirements is that seats must be designed towithstand strong forces so as not to break or come loose from their floor tracks during turbulence oraccidents. There are a number of major international governing bodies pertaining to aviation. One isthe ICAO or the International Civil Aviation Organization, which governs and introduces legislation forevery aspect of aviation. Others include the Committee on Aviation Environmental protection or theICAO, this committee is obviously all for lighter seating or any new technology that would decreaseaircraft emissions which governs all things concerning aircraft, flight safety, aviation medicine, flightsafety information exchange. These organizations have numerous ergonomics and safety standardswhich all new aircraft companies must adhere to in order to obtain certification and be eligible formanufacturing. If new technologies or innovations compromise the relative safety of the passengers,the technology will be rejected and will not be invested in or undergo manufacturing, even if herespective technology does reduce the weight of the aircraft. Of course many organizations are fully insupport of any research that could potentially result in lighter aircraft designs. The ICAO’s mainconcern is the environment. However with regards to the industry itself, the industry’s main concernis evidently maximizing profit: their problems are financial. The industry is desperately looking for asolution to the consistently rising gas prices, and it has reached the point where a substantialinvestment in renovating the aircrafts themselves has become essential in order for the aviationindustry to continue to prosper. A few engineers and aircraft seating manufacturers have not onlysucceeded in reducing the overall weight of aircraft but have also simultaneously improved theergonomics and safety for passengers.Some experimentation with various materials have fostered limited success, one example of this is thefirst application of thermoplastic advanced composites which save substantial amount of weight whenapplied to aircraft seating. Not only does this material save weight, these materials are also eco-friendly, recyclable and boast tremendous amounts of savings. This is currently at the forefront of newinnovations concerning lighter aircraft by means of lighter seats and at the moment a leading exampleof triple bottom application that will help advanced composites made with carbon-fiber thermoplasticresins into broader energy saving applications, and example is lightweight automobiles. This newtechnology is far more practical and sustainable than prior aircraft seating designs. The use ofthermoplastic resins is biocompatible and benign to organisms and thus more ecologically friendly. Itis also 5 to 10 times stronger than metals which either rust or erode. Socially, this will result inemployment becoming more widespread in developed countries, as they will be required formanufacturing such advanced composite seat frames with the fiberforge process, which has strict------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: eq@iqpc.de | w: www.iqpc.de Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences: www.iqpc.de
  3. 3. environmental and labor practices as opposed to competitive composite processes that are employedin developing countries with little regards for worker safety. It is economical as a result of A) Lighterprojects save energy and B) This technology lasts significantly longer and is recyclable.Some companies have already obtained certification using similar technologies. Certainly at the frontof the pack is Recaro, an aircraft seating company in Germany who has revealed a new spaceoptimized seating technology, fostering lighter, leaner and more comfortable aircraft seats. Theyunveiled their new basic line the 3520, an economy class seat for short haul flights at the aircraftsinteriors Expo in April 2011, in Hamburg. The seat demonstrated significant savings in weight,managing to reduce the weight so that it was 3 Kg lighter than the BL3520 seat, in other words by awhopping 30%. They also managed to reduce space savings which will help airlines drastically lowerthe cost of fuel, and reduce the CO2 emissions, while maximizing the amount of passenger that cansafely and comfortably board a plane, thus increasing the profit margin. All while avoidingcompromising passenger comfort and safety. This is as a result of new innovative technology, a newleaner backrest, combined with a higher literature pocket. Instead of being traditionally located at thepassenger’s knees like preceding aircraft seating designs, the literature pocket is in this case locatedabove the tray table which ensures an outstanding level of passenger comfort. This allows airlines toinstall additional seats and still remarkably offer more legroom, which positively impacts the profit ofairlines without compromising the ergonomics and safety of passengers. In fact it has not onlyreduced seat weight and width but at the same time improved the comfort of and ergonomics ofpassengers by working closely with German universities to develop a study of optimal backrestcontours, the results were integrated into their new seating designs. But Recaro isn’t the only aircraftseating manufacturing company scrambling to unveil new models of aircraft seating, although they areno doubt currently on top, already receiving patents and being installed in airlines. Others such as theThompson Company, a veteran aircraft seating company, unveiled the “Cozy Suite” which offers a 31to 38 inch pitch. That’s a notable step up from typical airline seats which generally have pitchesranging from 28 to 30 inches. Thompson’s new seating designs boast high comfort, a patented tip-upseat pan, allowing easy access to seats installed at the same pitch, the patented seat recline whichslides down and forwards and reclines you to a perfect lounging position.The race for the future of aircraft seating is now. The irony is that despite the damage and hardshipthat the accumulative increase in fuel prices have caused the aircraft industry, it is these veryhardships and obstacles that have become the catalyst in igniting new innovations, not just beneficial------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: eq@iqpc.de | w: www.iqpc.de Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences: www.iqpc.de
  4. 4. to the aircraft industry itself, but to the economy and to the environment as well. Would Airlines beinvesting in new aircraft seating designs had jet fuel prices remained the same? Would they feel asimpelled to do so? It is often when businesses are backed into a corner and need an immediateanswer to their problems that innovation runs rampant. In the case of lightweight seating, not only dothe airlines benefit from having them installed into their carriers, but so do the economy, theenvironment and passengers. The future of aviation is looking up. Want to learn more about current developments in aircraft seating? Visit our download centre for more articles, whitepapers and interviews: http://bit.ly/aircraft-seating------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: eq@iqpc.de | w: www.iqpc.de Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences: www.iqpc.de

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