Airbus is extending its support to the formed consortium of Williams Advanced Engineering, JPA Design, British Airways and SWS Certification in developing new lightweight aircraft seat structure capabilities in the UK. Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) is funding the project that is aiming at enhancing the passenger experience and reducing the weight of aircraft, leading to airlines saving fuel and cutting carbon emissions.
“Lightweight and safe components are crucial for success in motorsport and our team is excited to have the opportunity to translate these capabilities into saving airlines carbon emissions and costs,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering. “Working with industry leaders as well as the ATI in this consortium offers significant benefits to aviation and the UK economy.”
The project will be of 18 months and the combination of manufacturing process, design approach and IP will reduce the bill of material (BOM) count, delivering lower-cost, lightweight, reconfigurable seating structures for aircraft, incorporating recycled materials and using rapid Formula One-inspired product development that can lead to new UK manufacturing business growth in seat structures for supply to a range of global aircraft seat manufacturers and airframers.
“The UK has a strong existing industrial base for aircraft seat manufacture and an industrial strategy that highlights composites capability as a key area for development,” said James Park, founder, and principal of JPA Design. “This aligns to the ATI’s strategic outlook, creating products ready for the next-generation of aircraft. Our market-leading design and products such as lightweight monocoque seating system, which allows for fewer parts, lower cost of manufacture, faster production time, lower maintenance and lower cost of ownership, as well as increased passenger space and comfort, will benefit significantly from the work of this consortium in turn providing enhanced opportunities for our airline customers.”
British Airways and Airbus will help in pulling the technology to market, while JPA Design will provide concept designs and an already proven monocoque design, currently flying with Singapore Airlines. SWS Certification will guide towards regulatory approvals and Williams Advanced Engineering will help build the UK supply chain for composite structures.
“Combining Formula One technology, world class design and a laser-like focus on safety across this consortium will deliver significant enhancements for airlines, passengers and the environment,” said Nigel Smith, Managing Director of SWS Certification. “We look forward to playing a crucial role in delivering these innovative, safe new products that seek to revolutionise aircraft interiors for global benefit."
ADS mentioned in Global Aerospace Outlook 2018 that commercial aircraft are set to double over next 20 years. The interiors market is valued at $14.6 billion for new-build aircraft and retrofit, with retrofit valued at $3 billion in 2016 growing to $5.2 billion in 2026.
In terms of spill over benefits, the composites manufacturing processes and IP developed for the manufacture of lightweight parts have applications across aircraft interiors, with William Advanced Engineering also having project working relationships with BAE Systems, Airbus and the National Composites Centre (NCC), who together have customers across the automotive, defence and energy sectors seeking new lightweight structures solutions in order to enhance performance and drive lower emissions.
Source: Williams Advanced Engineering