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Crystal Cabin Awards 2012
58 applicants entered the Crystal Cabin Awards shortlist, the only international prize for innovations in the field of aircraft cabins. In a closely fought contest, the following 18 companies made it to the final stage of voting, and the ultimate prizes:
Premium Class Products
WINNER: C&D Zodiac: C3 Ultralounge
The C3 Concept redefines the premium passenger experience. Upon entering the cabin, the passenger is greeted with a high vaulted ceiling, uninterrupted by overhead bins. Instead of the traditional twin aisle, there is a single large aisle with multiple cross aisles, which speeds up the boarding process. At each seat is a personal stowage compartment attached to a rectangular lie-flat suite equipped with all the amenities expected in a premium cabin. This unique arrangement allows for club seating using the drop-down ottoman, companion seating using the drop-down privacy divider, and conference seating, which combines the benefits of both styles.
The benefits also extend to the airline, with fuel saved through reduced weight and simplified cabin service through the use of cross aisles. Every aspect of the cabin experience is improved, from boarding to eating to sleeping and beyond, in this now award-winning concept from C&D Zodiac.
RUNNER-UP: EMTEQ, Flat Panel LED Tile
Flat Panel LED Tile is EMTEQ’s new accent lighting. The possibilities are endless with this state-of-the-art, thin, illuminated lighting tile. Available in different sizes, it can be placed behind many surfaces – floors, countertops, walls, vanities, and ceiling fixtures – to provide an enhanced ambiance.
RUNNER-UP: JPA Design (co-operation partner Cathay Pacific), Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class Suite
The away-from-the-aisle layout of Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class Suite ensures privacy, as does its wing-back chair design. Outboard seats are angled towards the windows, giving passengers a perfect view whilst centre seats are perfect for travelling with a companion. The centre seats slide forwards to enhance companion interaction, and when reclined, privacy is assured.
The bed is one of the longest and widest in its class. The foams were ergonomically designed to optimise comfort, and a unique bed extension feature increases bed width by 6in. The retractable armrest can be lowered to further increase sleeping space, or it can be raised for privacy. Generous stowage space is provided with a large side pocket, a side cabinet for small valuables, and a shoe locker. A vanity mirror is concealed inside the cabinet door, which also doubles as a privacy screen. Everything passengers need to control their environment is close at hand, from the premium-car-style seat controller to the entertainment control handset. The seat was designed by JPA in conjunction with Cathay Pacific for launch in March 2011 on Cathay Pacific’s new A330-300 and B777-300ER aircraft.
WINNER: Almadesign, LIFE
Project LIFE – Lighter, Integrated, Friendly and Eco-efficient Aircraft Cabin – a joint program between Embraer and a consortium of Portuguese companies led by AlmaDesign, won the Crystal Cabin Award in the Visionary Concepts category. Couro Azul, Amorim Cork Composites, SET and INEGI, the industrial engineering institute of the University of Porto´s School of Engineering, are part of the consortium that made the Concept-Cabin project possible, integrating sustainable, light, and functional solutions for the interior of eco-efficient aircraft.
This concept for an innovative executive aircraft cabin has been created with a focus on the use of natural and sustainable materials. Combining state-of-the-art technology and materials such as leather and cork, LIFE presents a vision for a sophisticated and comfortable cabin with a low environmental footprint. The concept’s unifying design language is inspired by natural structures and based on a symbiotic relationship between natural and artificial elements. The interior design has been developed to increase productivity for the client who owns an aircraft, with an executive area and meeting space (business use) and a leisure lounge (private use), equipped with full bathroom, bedroom and an interactive sphere with immersive infotainment system.
“We are honoured that Project LIFE was chosen as the winner of Crystal Cabin Award,” said Mauro Kern, executive vice president of Embraer Engineering and Technology. “This prize is the coronation of a long effort led in partnership by Brazil and Portugal, and shows that relevant results can be obtained in innovation for the aerospace sector between our two countries.”
José Rui Marcelino, president of AlmaDesign, which coordinated the concept and design that supported the project, added, “Project LIFE is the result of an initial desire to demonstrate our capacity and that of Portuguese industry in generating and aggregating new capabilities for innovative and eco-efficient solutions, oriented towards an incredibly demanding sector such as aeronautics.”
An investment of 1.75 million Euros was made in the project, co-financed in Portugal by the Structural Funds, through COMPETE-QREN. The mock-up of the Concept-Cabin was presented for the first time in 2011, during the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
RUNNER-UP: Diehl Aircabin, Change Room
During regular airline flights, many passengers use the lavatory area for changing clothes before landing, because there is no dedicated room available. Often at that stage, lavatories are areas with restricted space and questionable ambience in terms of hygiene. Also, the lavatory is blocked for a long time and can’t be used for its intended purpose.
A separate changing room, as proposed by Diehl Aircabin, provides a convenient environment with a textile floor, a large mirror, and enough shelves for items such as shirts or cosmetics. One possible installation zone is the entrance area, where the module can be attached to the wall of a lavatory or galley. The airline will not lose revenue space, and the kinematic allows for easy installation. During cruise flight the module can be extended by the cabin crew; in the fully extended position, the wall of the changing area is fixed to the floor. For emergency or landing conditions, the module can be collapsed very quickly by a member of the flight crew.
RUNNER-UP: Zodiac Aerospace, Genesis Seat Concept
The Genesis seat represents a complete paradigm shift in the way airlines make use of the highly constrained aircraft space, by introducing a unique folding system which offers the benefit of providing a dynamic space that can satisfy the cargo and travelling needs of customers.
In addition to this distinctive characteristic, the Genesis seat provides a plethora of new user-centred solutions aimed at integrating the amenities of the premium class with the economic convenience of a tourist class. The total sum of this innovative feature will translate not only into a better flight experience, but also into a highly efficient business solution for airlines, as the implementation costs can be greatly amortised by utilizing the same aircraft for multiple purposes.
WINNER: Lufthansa Systems, BoardConnect
Lufthansa Systems won over the jury with its BoardConnect wireless infotainment solution, which allows airlines to offer their passengers a new dimension in entertainment and service on board. The system saves costs while at the same time opening up new revenue opportunities and increasing customer loyalty. BoardConnect provides video-on-demand entertainment via wireless LAN on the passengers’ own Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as notebooks, iPads, and smartphones. There are numerous additional passenger services: from electronic in-flight magazines and individual cabin service, to information and shopping. BoardConnect is low-maintenance, saves costs, creates additional sources of income, and enriches the passenger experience.
Unlike traditional solutions, the system works entirely without cables (with the exception of the connection between the on-board server and access points). This means it can be installed in the aircraft (whether a new fit or retrofit) without requiring long ground times. It is also lighter and thus saves up to 20 metric tons of kerosene annually per aircraft.
“We are proud of this award. BoardConnect is an example of how Lufthansa Systems uses its technological expertise to develop innovative solutions which contribute to our customers’ success in a variety of ways,” said Stefan Hansen, CEO of Lufthansa Systems AG. “I would like to thank everyone who put their knowledge and experience into making this product a reality.”
Airlines from all over the world have shown great interest in BoardConnect. Condor and Virgin America are the first airlines to have installed the innovative system in their fleets. The Australian airline Qantas has just completed a successful BoardConnect test spanning several weeks in one of its aircraft.
RUNNER-UP: SCHOTT (co-operation partner Lufthansa Technik), HelioJet
HelioJet – a joint development of SCHOTT AG and Lufthansa Technik AG – uses LEDs, glass elements, and fibre-optic know-how to illuminate cabins in a homogenous and energy-efficient manner. Compared with LED stripe solutions which are used to replace fluorescent tubes, HelioJet offers a more homogeneous light distribution and constant high light stability over time. Since HelioJet technology uses a considerably lower number of LEDs, the mean time between failure (MTBF) is five-times higher, which results in lower maintenance costs.
HelioJet is currently in a “trial fit phase” with a major European airline, with FAA/ESAS certification scheduled for mid-2012. The innovative LED lighting is the first product of the cooperation between Schott and Lufthansa Technik. The two companies signed an agreement to co-operate more closely on developing and marketing advanced solutions for cabin lighting in passenger aircraft in August 2011.
RUNNER-UP: Supracor, Stimulite honeycomb
An alternative to traditional foam cushioning, seat cushions and sleep surfaces made from Stimulite honeycomb provide comfort and support in a low profile, creating more living space in the cabin. A flexible form of aerospace honeycomb that is fusion bonded without the need for adhesives, Stimulite relies on the proven optimum strength-to-weight characteristics of structural honeycomb to provide uniform load distribution at a fraction of the thickness of foam cushions. Perforations in the cell walls circulate air to eliminate the heat build-up associated with foam cushioning, while the “footprint” of the cells and their flexing action promote circulation for a unique level of comfort.
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-800 aircraft feature Stimulite mattresses in the crew rest, and the material is currently being evaluated by various seating OEMs and
airlines for passenger seating.
Industrial Design and Technical Concepts
WINNER: B/E Aerospace & Teague, Essence Inserts Collection
Billed as the first complete family product line of its kind, the B/E Aerospace Essence Inserts Collection brings new life to the galley area. From concept through delivery, B/E Aerospace worked collaboratively with Teague to develop a new range of products that meets the demand for long- term value while offering innovation to end users. Consisting of 10 individual products with a single design language including a steam oven, convection oven, bun warmer, beverage chiller, SCS connected chiller, refrigerator and freezer, beverage maker, espresso maker, water boiler, and hot cup, the Essence products work in harmony with one another.
RUNNER-UP: Public Design Lab, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, BrailleWise
This respected institution in Hong Kong was praised for its BrailleWise concept, which is designed to assist the visually impaired in accessing aircraft lavatories easily and independently.
A specially designed strip provides not only physical assistance but also psychological comfort and dignity to the visually impaired by allowing them to easily locate all items in the washroom. BrailleWise is convenient and has a low cost in planning, production, installation, maintenance, and daily management. It fits different lavatory configurations (including existing aircraft lavatories) and can be easily modified to fit changing needs in the future. The simple design allows for easy cleaning, minimises the requirement of Braille information on different individual facilities. The installation of BrailleWise does not detract from the appearance of the lavatory environment and does not cause any inconvenience to other passengers. Instead, the design can even promote the positive and caring image of airlines.
RUNNER-UP: Sicma Aero Seat, Dragonfly
The Dragonfly is the lightest seat on the market for short and medium-haul, narrow-body aircraft. It weighs no more than 7.5kg, which is 20% less than its lightest competitor. Easy to maintain, Dragonfly allows airlines to offer their Economy Class passengers a very comfortable travel experience, even at very short pitch, thanks to a very slim backrest and short armrests. Dragonfly is fully compliant, developed, and tested, and 85% of its components are recyclable.
The seat is finding wider demand than expected, as July 2011 saw Air Austral purchase the seat for its two A380s, used for long-haul flights between Paris and Reunion Island.
Material and Components
WINNER: TTF Aerospace, TSkin
TTF Aerospace has developed a specific product to improve the appearance and maintenance of passenger stowbins. This product, TSkin, is an abrasion-resistant lining system that can be quickly installed into any overhead stowbin, providing a fresh new look for old bins and preventing damage to new bins. Stowbins receive hard service and are quickly cut, scuffed and dented, conveying a damaged and unmaintained impression to passengers. To manage this, aircraft are taken out of service for extensive repair and repaint cycles, each of which is a temporary fix, burdening the aircraft with additional weight.
TSkin is a multi-layered sheet assembly, easily installed in a “peel and stick” application (a 737 installation takes around six hours). When installed, the panels present a new decorative finish to passengers. TSkin is intended to be removed, replaced and recycled, eliminating weight growth to the aircraft and providing a lifetime of fresh bins. Advantages include the removal of catalyzed fillers, paints and solvents used for rebuilding stowbins; improved damage resistance and easy cleaning; lighter weight than a fill and paint cycle (80-140lbs) with better appearance; if local damage occurs a single sheet can be replaced as needed; recycleability (code #3); and a proprietary water-based adhesive that can be removed without residue.
RUNNER-UP: Diehl Comfort Modules (DASELL), Modular Glued Cable Bracket System
The Modular Glued Cable Bracket System reduces weight and maintenance costs with a click-and-snap mechanism for wiring installations. The aviation industry faces ever-stricter requirements for safe and well-engineered wiring installations. To meet these demands, DASELL has developed a concept to standardise and simplify these installations with the modular glued cable bracket system. The main goal of this concept is to have a high flexibility with a limited number of parts and a reduction in production time. All individual parts are equipped with a snap-and-click mechanism, with no tools required for installation of the parts.
RUNNER-UP: Sell (co-operation partner 3M), FST Adhesive Applications
Demonstrating their commitment to achieve high safety standards, Sell, together with 3M, developed a highly innovative adhesive. The FST adhesive allows Sell to implement new designs and appearances for cabin interior monuments. It also offers improved passenger safety by complying with current and future fire, smoke and toxicity regulations as well as with the standards of regulators and OEMs. The FST adhesive helps to reduce the structural weight and to improve the operational efficiency of the airline whilst increasing the capacity of cabin interior monuments. Sell delivers high quality, innovative and customer-oriented products such as galleys and galley inserts to airlines and aircraft manufacturers worldwide. 3M is a leading supplier of adhesives, adhesive films, protective tapes, core splice films, and low-density core fillers for the aerospace and aircraft maintenance market.
Greener Cabin, Health and Safety
Winner: C&D Zodiac, C&D Zodiac Sidewall & Lining System
The C&D Zodiac Sidewall & Lining System is a composite film that can be applied to the sidewalls and ceilings in all commercial aircraft. The system uses thermoformable Composite Aerospace Board, co-developed by Crane & Co and SABIC Innovative Plastics, as its primary material to reduce energy consumption, waste, and labor in the production process while creating a more people-friendly and eco-friendly product in service. By eliminating several steps needed to process conventional composites and making the press process 30-times faster, over 800kg of CO2 emissions per shipset are eliminated in the product lifecycle. The resulting product also reduces acoustic transmission by 9% and can be recycled at the end of its life, reducing landfill waste, and improving the passenger experience.
The film is available as both a retrofit and linefit application, and is now flying on AA’s 757 aircraft.
RUNNER-UP: Airbus (co-operation partner TUHH, iLAS): Bionic Bracket
Combining the principles of nature’s design with ‘additive-layer-manufacturing’ (ALM), the Bionic Bracket shows a paradigm change in part design. By reducing bracket weight by 45%, enlarging the structural stiffness by 30%, and using as much as 95% of the initial raw material in the finished part (compared with typically only 5% for traditional milling processes), the Bionic Bracket is currently one of the most eco-efficient aluminium components available.
This is an important improvement in the process of reducing the environmental footprint of the aircraft and also in reducing an airline’s operational costs. The new approach as illustrated by the Bionic Bracket could be very useful in the design of customized cabin parts in all areas of the cabin. In the future, it may be possible to use the same methodology to design and manufacture larger parts up to complete airframes, as shown in the Airbus Concept Cabin.
RUNNER-UP: Diehl Aerospace: DAs Eco-Line all-LED cabin lighting
With its Eco-Line Aircraft Cabin Illumination Platform, Diehl Aerospace provides an all-LED cabin lighting solution with savings of 35% in weight, 50% in power requirements, and a lifetime several factors longer for new aircraft as well as for aircraft in service. The technical performance of LED technology has reached a state of maturity where it can outperform fluorescent tubes in terms of power consumption, weight, and lifetime cost.
Diehl Aerospace invested in its Eco-Line platform development as a response to expected market demand and the need for environmentally friendly technology. The cabin illumination platform is based on a family concept allowing fast and uncomplicated adaptation to virtually any type of aircraft. The product targets mission profiles, supporting both white and full-colour mode light. Diehl Aerospace’s Eco-Line does not make compromises on light appearance within the cabin but combines market intelligence with experience. Two years of innovative work on new power concepts, logistics for LED binning and materials resulted in prototypes which have now been validated, marking a major step towards a greener aircraft.