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  SEATING MATERIALS

XTREME Aircraft and XLIGHT Aircraft, BOXMARK’s two leather seating products were developed for seats in First, Business and Economy Class, as well as for seating on VIP airlines (pictured)

What’s in

a seat?

With improving the passenger experience top of mind, airlines are looking to innovate their seating and the companies that manufacture the materials are delivering competitive components by

A

lthough a traveler will spend hours sitting in one, it is hard to say whether many give any thought to exactly how it was made — what materials were used, what technologies were applied — caring more about how comfortable it is during the duration of their flight. The ‘it’ in question, is of course, the aircraft seat. It is no secret that the need and wants of both passenger and airline often vary when it comes to aircraft seating. While passengers predominantly seek comfort and space, airlines often prioritize longevity and look for lightweight options to reduce costs. Even though the needs and

Divinycell F, a structural foam core developed by Diab, is currently used by four of the major First and Business Class (pictured) seat manufacturers for seats on the 777, 787, A330, A350 and A380

14  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

MELISSA SILVA

wants may vary, a shared focus of many airlines as of late is improving the passenger experience; and the seat in which the subject of this experience sits, is a good place to start. “The passenger experience is becoming more important than it was in the past,” says Chris Kilbourn, Market Segment Manager of Global Aerospace for Diab. “I think weight and longevity is a given thing that is always important, but nowadays airlines look for more, like comfort and ease of use.” With comfort being the most important seat attribute for arguably most passengers, airlines are looking for ways to incorporate a higher level of comfort into seating — especially in Economy Class — to better the experience on board. “I think the most important thing is comfort,” says Kilbourn. “Nothing is worse than sitting on a long-haul flight in a seat that is uncomfortable. Secondly, the space between the seats and also to the seat in front of you is important. It is very annoying with food trolleys bumping in to the seats because the space in the aisle is too tight. Many airlines try to tighten the aisle space so additional seats can be installed. This is understandable from a revenue

perspective, but airlines have to find a balance so as not to create unhappy passengers who will end up avoiding a specific aircraft or airline as a result of a bad experience.” Diab, a company that has been in the aerospace industry for more than 30 years as a supplier of foam core to business and VIP jets, has been involved in many commercial aircraft programs with its legacy product Divinycell HT, which was used to manufacture overhead bin doors on 747s and is still used for radomes. Recently, Divinycell F foam core has been introduced in several commercial interior applications. Divinycell F, a structural foam core developed and produced by Diab, is used in several Business and First Class seats due to several benefits versus honeycomb, including: it offers design freedom as it is easier to produce curved and machined parts with; it is lighter, more ductile and resistant to impact loads; and it features thermal and acoustical properties. Divinycell F is used in other commercial aircraft applications as well, such as galleys, overhead bins window frames, and edge close outs on honeycomb parts. “The surface of a part made of Divinycell F gets better use out of the tool, which then requires less sweep and sand,

PAX International Seating IFE and Connectivity 2016  
PAX International Seating IFE and Connectivity 2016