Thompson Aero Seating announces dynamic test facility


Thompson says the £7.5 million investment will catapult the company into a new era of development and innovation. Building works have already begun to extend the premises for the DTF at the Thompson brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down.

Completion of the extension is expected in Spring 2023, with the test equipment to be installed in the Summer and testing due to begin in Autumn. In parallel with the building works will be recruitment for several test engineering roles.

The DTF will give Thompson enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness and to carry out research and development work on-site. Currently, there is no DTF on the island of Ireland and Thompson has been using test facilities in Europe and North America. Having enhanced in-house dynamic testing capability will provide further opportunities for innovation, design optimisation and reductions in weight and carbon footprint.

“Having our own Dynamic Test Facility will give us a huge opportunity to save on lead times in the development of our new seats and improve sustainability – which have to be positives for our airline customers,” said Neil Taggart, CEO of Thompson.

Sled testing allows engineers to reproduce the dynamic conditions of a full-scale crash event in a controlled environment. The reverse accelerator sled being installed can produce up to 100g accelerations.

Taggart said “the majority of the funding for the project has come from Thompson’s shareholder, with Invest Northern Ireland is part-funding the project. This is a very exciting opportunity for Thompson Aero Seating. It will enable us to push the boundaries of design and bring further innovation to the aircraft interiors industry.”

Support has also been received from local MPs, Councillors, business leaders from the Makers Alliance, from ADS, the national trade body for Aerospace, Defence, Security & Space and our Sharing In Growth business transformation coaches.


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Benedict is editorial assistant, social media manager and staff writer across several aviation, automotive and performance technology titles published by Mark Allen Business. He is a graduate of the University of Southampton and spends his free time organising comedy shows, playing basketball loudly and guitar quietly.

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