by Arne Thompson
At the 2019 Expo, the energy was amazing and inspiring. It was a fantastic opportunity to listen to leading airline cabin presentations. I have been going to the show on and off for the last ten years, but this expo (twentieth edition) was the best. I was proud to stand in the booth for Euro-Composites, a global player in the field of high-quality composite materials, as the US and Canadian representative. Serving airlines and manufacturers all over the world with the best materials available, I was keen to talk with customers, suppliers, vendors, and my peers about the tools, methods, and systems being used to retain aerospace customers.
Here is the list of developments that I’m most excited about.
Production methodology is changing rapidly, making it easier to source concepts and comments and be faster to market with innovative passenger experiences. What used to take six months to a year can now be one in six weeks. On the horizon is 3D printed cabin interior parts, printed on demand near the aircraft’s next destination.
BigRep revealed the world’s first fully 3D printed airline seats. Pictured below is their fully automated and 5G connected 3D printer.
The 3D printing industry is just starting to grab a foothold in the aerospace industry. There will be a string of new announcements on the horizon as airlines look to alleviate supply constraints and operate more efficiently. The ability for airlines to rapidly produce aircraft parts, saving save time and money, will launch 3D printing into the mainstream.
3D printing specialists Stratasys is advancing additive layer manufacturing economics by pairing distributed manufacturing with airline seating production, which is going to shorten production cycles for customized business-class cabins.
On show at the expo was Diehl Aviation's “bookable bin” concept. To date, it is the largest 3-D printed part to be produced for passenger aircraft, foreshadowing what is yet to come in the space. The part minimizes maintenance as it can easily disassemble for repair or replacement.
During the conference, Collins Aerospace was awarded two Crystal Cabin awards for innovation in passenger concepts.
One of Collins many strong suits is cabin monument designs. Its M-Flex™ Duet is compact, collapsible monuments that transform the aircraft doorway into a cabin attendant working area.
Shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin award was Airbus for its new X-Tend Seat. The design reduces the pitch at the over-wing exit seat area by up to 5”, resulting in more comfortable seats in economy.
Long-haul flights meet the ultimate in experience with exercise areas and social spaces. AIM's ULTRAFLEX social zone concept for ultra long-haul flights makes every mile of the flyer’s journey better.
Every piece of technology is only as valuable as the return the airline gets from it. I think the most significant value I can see so far is that the new methods and products are actionable for any airline, which means that they will allow airlines to do more with small spaces and in less time.
At Euro-Composites, we devote sustainable solutions that help airlines create better cabin experiences. A lot about how the customer views the cabin experience equates to their loyalty to the brand and an essential differentiator for airlines. The only way airlines can excel at the experience is by delivering better efficiency, more options, and faster production times. Each new component system at Euro-Composites enables manufacturers and airlines to do just that.
Euro-Composites SA has many innovative products, which allow the operator to keep the cabin fresh while providing R&D resources to reduce weight and cost for accelerated ROI. Visit us here: https://www.euro-composites.com/en
Don’t miss this show next year. Meanwhile, we will be at Los Angeles AIX 2019, September 10-12. Look us up!