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Shows set their faces against recession

3rd March 2009 - 17:38 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The world’s top events for the cabin systems industry continue to show signs of rude good health, recession or no recession.

Organiser Reed Exhibitions reports strong demand for space at its Asian Aerospace event in Hong Kong in September. And the Crystal Cabin Awards to be presented at this month’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg will be contested by a shortlist combining blue-chip major suppliers and a healthy crop of second-ranking vendors. 

Reed says that Asian Aerospace is on course to attract top aerospace, aircraft interiors, air freight and training companies to Hong Kong on September 7-10. Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, CFM International, Goodrich, Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics are among the companies committed to large stands in the main exhibition hall, the company says, while there is strong demand for space at Aircraft Interiors Asia and two other co-located events.

 “Companies looking beyond the economic downturn are positioning themselves for the long term in the dynamic Asian markets,” says Richard Thiele, global head of sales for Reed Exhibitions’ aerospace and aviation group. “They offer enormous sales potential, while plans by Commercial Aircraft of China to design and produce airliners, helicopters, business jets and eventually engines potentially open the door to a host of new joint-venture and supplier relationships.”

Asian Aerospace 2009 will be staged at the new AsiaWorld-Expo complex, which is integrated with Hong Kong International Airport. Taking place alongside it will be Aircraft Interiors Asia, Asia-Pacific Aviation Training (APATS) and Air Freight Asia (AFA).

One of the top attractions of the parent Aircraft Interiors in Hamburg is the locally organised Crystal Cabin competition for cabin innovators. Recognising bright ideas and good products designed to enhance passenger comfort, improve safety, reduce environmental impact and bring the latest in communications and entertainment to the cabin, this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards are now within the reach of a shortlist of three finalists in each of five different categories. They include Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik, as well as US interior design specialist Teague, German seat-maker Recaro and Italian cabin equipment provider Iacobucci.

The award ceremony will be held at the show on April 1. Vying for the laurels in the passenger comfort category are Recaro plus Aeras Seat Project and Lantal of Switzerland.

Recaro is in the running thanks to the unique lightweight single-beam structure of its CL 3620 seat. Aeras Seat Project replaces the conventional cushion and dress cover with an open-knit mesh of elastic and non-elastic fibres to obtain a 75 per cent weight saving. The knit material improves comfort by adapting to variations in passenger size, shape, weight and posture. The aims of Lantal’s Pneumatic Comfort System are similar – replacing conventional foams with air, it cuts weight and cost and allows the passenger to adjust seat hardness.

Recaro is also up for an award in the industrial design/interior concept category, having submitted its SL 3510 seat. This is described as the only economy seat to weigh less than 10kg while also offering improved maintainability and comfort.

Airbus’ Hamburg-based Customized Engineering Long Range division is shortlisted for its Video Control Insert (VCI), designed to minimise the impact of IFE installations on cabin layout. And Teague is in contention with a complete redesign of Emirates’ first-class cabin featuring high ceilings, sweeping arches and advanced LED lighting.

A greener, safer cabin is the objective of AeroCat of the Netherlands, Germany’s B&W Engineering and airframe giant Boeing. AeroCat claims to have developed the world’s lightest catering trolley, throwing in RFID tracking and a recyclable all-polymer structure for good measure. B&W Engineering’s A-LogEqu is conceived as a maintenance-free and eco-friendly system of galley inserts in which hot and cold food can be stored for up to 20 hours without additional energy consumption. Boeing is offering a recyclable carpet material produced without using harmful chemicals and delivered in the form of self-adhesive tiles.

B/E Aerospace (USA), Flasin Faser (Germany) and Iacobucci are contesting the materials and components category. Seating giant B/E Aerospace has come up with vacuum toilet assemblies, generators and waste tanks weighing 30 per cent less than current equipment and eliminating the need for costly hardware removals.

Hamburg-based Flasin Faser aims to replace existing glass-fibre composites with natural-fibre materials that are lighter, fully recyclable and with superior noise and heat insulation properties. Iacobucci’s H-Box is a dry-ice cooling drawer in which the refrigerant lasts longer and food is preserved more effectively. The reduced dry-ice consumption also yields a cut of up to 50 per cent in CO2 emissions into the cabin and a corresponding improvement in passenger comfort.

Leading the entertainment and communication field are Colorado-based Aircell with its Gogo passenger broadband Internet access service, Lufthansa Technik with its Niceview advanced moving-map, and Sicma Aero Seat of France with its new Seat Integrated Technology (SIT) IFE system. SIT shifts the system’s processing power from a central server to a powerful in-seat unit with its own processor and storage. Increasing the available local processing power and eliminating the need for high-bandwidth connections to a central server is expected to enable new applications such as 3D games and animated and 3D graphical user interfaces.

A special award, recognising contributions outside the five main categories, is destined for one of three companies – Canadian airframer Bombardier, aerospace engineering provider CeBeNetwork of Hamburg or Hong Kong-based James Lee.

Bombardier is the first corporate aviation manufacturer to offer a shower as an option for one of its types, in this case the Global range of top-end bizjets. CeBeNetwork is focused on crew comfort, with a courier/crew rest module for use on the main deck area of freighter aircraft. James Lee aims to eliminate the elbow-room struggles that are a feature of economy travel. The design company’s Paperclip Armrest Concept is a double-level armrest that allows two adjacent arms to occupy the same vertical space without clashing.

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