November 22 2022  |  Seating

Thompson Aero Seating unveils Dynamic Test Facility plans

By Alex Preston

An artist’s rendering of Thompson Aero Seating’s new Dynamic Test Facility set to open in 2023

Northern Ireland-based Thompson Aero Seating has revealed plans for the creation of a £7.5 million Dynamic Test Facility (DTF) at its brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down.

In a press release, the company confirmed building works have already begun to extend the premises for the DTF with completion expected in Spring 2023. The test equipment will be installed in the Summer with testing due to begin in Autumn 2023.

The majority of the funding for the project has come from Thompson’s shareholder, with Invest Northern Ireland part-funding the project.

The DTF will give Thompson enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness and to carry out research and development work, all in-house. Currently, there is no DTF on the island of Ireland and Thompson has had no choice but to send products and team members to test facilities in Europe and North America.

In a press release, Neil Taggart, CEO of Thompson Aero Seating, called the plans “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.” He adds that “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 has to be positives for our airline customers.”

The DTF’s testing capabilities will include sled testing which 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 100 g accelerations.

The company has also announced it will begin the recruitment of several test engineering roles.

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