Thompson Aero Seating, a United Kingdom-based supplier of Business and First-Class seating, has announced plans to invest $8.9 million (£7.5 million) to develop a new innovative seat crash test facility.
The Dynamic Test Facility (DTF), which is dedicated to serving as an aircraft seat crash test simulator in the Thompson brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down, is currently in the construction phase. The work is estimated to be completed in spring 2023, according to a statement released by the company on November 21, 2022.
With the test equipment to be installed in the summer, the new facility is expected to open in autumn 2023.
Currently the company sends products for testing in Europe and North America as there is no appropriate test facility in Ireland. The DFT will provide Thompson Aero Seating with an enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness “without a need to leave the factory”. It will also play a key role in aircraft seating research and development work.
“Having enhanced in-house dynamic testing capability will give Thompson greater opportunity for innovation and will allow designs to be optimized, reducing weight and, therefore, reducing the carbon footprint of the seats in the flight. Furthermore, testing on site will be positive for the environment,” the supplier explained in the statement.
The DTF will be equipped with sled testing technology that will allow engineers to reproduce the dynamic conditions of a full-scale crash event in a controlled environment. According to Thompson, the reverse accelerator will be able to produce up to 100g accelerations.
The company also plans to launch a recruitment drive to fill several aircraft interior product engineering roles.