June 18 2024  |  Cabin Equipment

Journey to the future of cabin interiors with Diehl Aviation

By Robynne Trueman

Inside Diehl Aviation's Future Cabin display at AIX

Diehl Aviation pulled out all the stops at its booth at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this year. With a booth that was 40 percent larger than last year’s display, providing an extra 100 square meters for exhibits, the company’s aim was to take visitors on a journey through time, from the present to the future.

On the exhibition floor

Diehl Aviation's ECO Sidewall on display at AIX

The ECO Bracket and the Crystal Cabin Award-winning Eco Sidewall along with Diehl Aviation’s Future Cabin were some of the highlights of visiting Stand 7D20.

The ultra-lightweight ECO Sidewall, designed by Diehl’s Sabrina Schaible is a lightweight cabin solution that uses Kepler honeycomb material and carbon fibre for a cabin sidewall that reduces weight by 10 percent. Innovative manufacturing processes cut prepreg waste by 33 percent, minimizing wasted material. The sidewall uses an eco-powder coating on the inside to achieve the lightest weight.

The Future Cabin showcased displays, projections and lighting features to enhance passenger comfort.

The ECO Grey Water Reuse System 

The booth also displayed its ECO Grey Water Reuse System that enables airlines to reduce water waste and consumption, saving approximately 25 percent by reusing the hand wash water for flushing the toilets. According to the company, it offers up to 250 litres (estimated for a state-of-the-art aircraft, such as a 787) in weight savings per flight.

As Iris Hollinderbäumer, VP Innovation & Digitalization Management at Diehl Aviation, explains, it was important for the company to demonstrate how it is making the passenger experience more seamless with technological advancements for the cabin—but also how the products make things easier for the crew and make cabin maintenance more efficient and affordable.

In pursuit of a more sustainable future

Guido van Geenen and Iris Hollinderbäumer pose with the ECO Sidewall at AIX 

Hollinderbäumer says in the modern day there is still a trade-off between circularity and lightweight products. But Diehl’s in the future is to minimize, and eventually eliminate, that tradeoff with lightweight cabin products made of recyclable or recycled materials, she tells PAX Tech.

Guido van Geenen, VP Corporate Communications, adds that while much of what visitors saw at the booth is a future concept, the company is introducing new materials and data-driven and AI-integrated solutions that are attracting attention in the industry.

“What airlines say at the moment is that lightweight products are creating the most impact [for sustainability],” Hollinderbäumer says. “And if we manage to also use recycled or recyclable materials, or ideally both, then that's another step.”

She cites Diehl Aviation’s ducting solution made of thermoplastic particle foam as an example of a lightweight material that is fully recyclable.

“We see ourselves as lightweight specialists and every gram counts when it comes to sustainability,” van Geenen adds.

Market moves

As for what is next for the company coming off a successful show at AIX, van Geenen says that airline customers are asking for development from the company in the North American market. This is in the works through the recently announced Mexico site, which Diehl established to be in the same time zone as more of its North American customers.

“Construction work will start quite soon and we hope that we will start production in the middle of next year,” he says. “The A220 XL bins will be the first product we will be producing in Mexico.”

Hollinderbäumer notes that a future goal for Diehl Aviation is to further collaborate with the company’s customers and partners, in Mexico and beyond. She explains that there is currently a collaboration space in Seattle and another one is about to open in Hamburg for the company’s European customers. The space lends itself to innovating and co-creating, designing the future cabin to specific customer requirements, she says.

“The one in Seattle is already a great success and we hope to reach the same level of success in Hamburg as well,” concludes Carsten Laufs, SVP Product Innovation and Digitalization, of Diehl Aviation.

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