CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

ACME, fly with me, fly with ACME

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ACME (ACME, fly with me, fly with ACME)

Berichtszeitraum: 2019-03-01 bis 2019-06-30

Vanema with Octaspring technology identified the opportunity and potential for Octaspring technology in the aviation industry. The industry is consistently challenged and pressured to reducing the CO2 emissions, that is from authorities and from the end consumer.

One of the ways to reduce the CO2 emissions is to reduce the weight of the Aircraft. When focusing on reducing the weight of the seats, challenge is to how to reduce weight and keep the same or similar comfort.
It is safe to say that with traditional foams and technologies goal was not achieved and passengers started not only to complain about personal space but also about comfort or discomfort the cushions provide.
Traditional technologies face the challenge and Chairman of Vanema Sandi Cesko puts it best: “It’s Catch 22, how to improve comfort and reduce weight”, with Octaspring technology that is possible.

The 2nd goal was to tackle the challenges in the Cabin Crew Compartments. The challenge with Cabin Crew Mattresses are similar to seat cushions with additional problem. Mattress producer needs to achieve comfortable product in very constraint space (height is normally between 7 cm and 10 cm), placed on firm base (floor), which has to be durable without user bottoming up.
To achieve that producers are forced to use firm foams which do not comfort to the body. Consequently mattress is heavier as firm foams are normally made in higher densities.
At the end product can be uncomfortable and relatively heavy.

The 3rd challenge was to create better quality travel and everyday use accessories. With products like travel pillows, seat cushions, lumbar support, etc. We planned to create a range which would improve passengers every day busy life and as well lift the awareness that travel can be more comfortable.

The 4th and last challenge was how to actively promote and tell to the world our development phases and success to get an opportunity to convert the development into serial production.

With the above categories there are 3 key elements benefiting the society:

1) Environment:
With less material used and lower cushion weight, we are actively helping with reducing the CO2 emissions. In Numbers that would mean that Aircraft would save 150 tons of fuel which translates 460 tons of CO2 every year.
In some of the cushions we proved better durability which could mean that some of the products could be used longer. After life cycle product is something we already successfully implemented with end to consumer products (mattresses, pillows, toppers) and actively working on the solutions for the Aircraft products. In worse case, there is less material to recycle.

2) Comfort and wellbeing:
Thin and firm cushions can cause pressure discomfort at the cushion cannot distribute the weight evenly. Octaspring coils offer individual support and springs move in 3D way with the passenger. Octaspring enables to make proper zoning to help to reduce the high pressure points. This allows user to seat more comfortable for longer period of time. Better breathability helps to avoid high temperature.

3) Safety:
Safety is something we haven’t foreseen at the start of the project. However we learned with discussions with the industry leaders that poor quality products could interfere with cabin crew and pilots being fully alert and how incredibly important is that Cabin Crew can rest on quality products in the short valuable periods of time on the long haul flights
At Vanema we set a very ambitious objective, to prove that Octaspring can be certified to fly and bring the benefits to sky, and create independent business unit, that would create R&D and production unit, opening new positions for engineers and workers in Europe. Logic was that if we can make it in the most demanding environment with the highest quality standards, we can make it anywhere.

Diving in the project, we were not aware of the complexity and challenges of bringing products to the stage of being air worthy. The difficulties and complex testing requirements are much tougher to deal with as anticipated and timelines connected (up to 10 years to get product into the air) with certification is much longer than expected.

During the period Vanema & Octaspring achieved 10 awards, the most prestigious being the Crystal Cabin Award in 2017.

During the project we developed first prototypes of Octaspring aircraft seat cushions, mattress and accessories. In partnership with Airbus, Stelia and Boxmark we managed to bring the products to the industry standards and all the products were pre-certified. We learned about the difficulties of new/untested concept entering the aviation industry and the potential carefulness that industry is welcoming innovation – even they know they require it. The full product set was presented to the industry stakeholders at several events, which is now finally – after the end of the project finally converting into the first real business. We have just signed the 1st Airline to install Octaspring products on the Aircraft in September 2019 and stay tuned for more news.

After the project we proved, that Octaspring seat cushions and mattress are:
- More comfortable vs existing products;
- Can bring up to 30% weight saving
- Pass all the mechanical tests: durability and dynamic tests
- Pass Oil Burner Tests
- Achieve to be airworthy technology for Business and Economy Seats, Pilots Seats, Cabin Crew Mattresses
- Can be price competitive
- Achieved recognition of technology within the industry and beyond

The journey through testing and certification phase could never be successfully achieved without close partners as Airbus, Stelia Aerospace, in kind contributor Boxmark.
Progress beyond the project was achieved by being able to expand original product range and develop products demanded from the industry, this includes pilot seats for the STELIA AEROSPACE and developing bedding collection that is already offered to airlines to be used in the first and business class cabins.

We believe that we will be able to launch Octaspring technology in aircraft seating and cabin crew mattresses by the end of 2019 (Cabin Crew Mattress have been confirmed to fly by 1st of October). This will mean that Vanema has over-achieved to launch completely new comfort concept in aviation in 2.5 years, which is beyond the normal innovation launch in aerospace (average time is 10 years). Which means, that Vanema will contribute in CO2 emission cut of cca 46tons of CO2 per plane per year, but will also enable a more healthier sitting for the passengers and the crew – helping contributing in improving health of passengers.

We believe solution developed for the aviation industry will contribute to overall change of mind of the current seat manufacturers to seek and implement new materials, that could help save both fuel, weight and CO2 emissions. We hope that our achievements will also encourage other small companies to try to bring more innovations into the aerospace, and will not be put back by the obstacles, that are known to stop innovations from entering air travel.
Aircraft Seat Cushion Economy
Economy Class Seat
Travel Pillow
First Class Seat
Cabin Crew Mattresses
First Class Sleep Solution
Business Class Seat
Seat Cushion
Pilot Seat