Over the past few weeks, a number of airlines around the world have made announcements about their onboard catering offerings.…
Crystal Cabin Awards 2022 Winners Announced
The Crystal Cabin Award (CCA) is THE international prize for innovation in the aircraft cabin. A panel of renowned industry experts judges innovative cabin concepts and products each year at the Aircraft Interior Expo since 2007.
There are eight categories in the award; “Cabin Concepts”; “Cabin Systems”; “Health and Safety”; “Passenger Comfort”; “IFEC & Digital Devices”; “Material & Components”; “Sustainable Cabin” and “University.” The winners were announced on June 14, 2022.
Winner Cabin Concepts: Teague and NORDAM “Elevate”
Elevate uses floating furniture attached to give a free, more organic and more immersive feel than comparable premium accommodation concepts for narrowbody aircraft. Apart from the visually appealing design, the idea promotes more open space and lighter structure in each suite.
Teague achieved these through NORDAM’s patent-pending Nbrace wall brace. The U-shaped composite structure enables furniture attachment to the sidewall, which provides more possibility for areas like the footwell and under-seat storage previously constrained by the seat-track attachment.
Winner Cabin Systems: Caeli Nova “Cordillera”
As the name Cordillera – “mountain ranges” indicates, the company’s mission is to disrupt established processes and protocols in operations over mountain ranges. According to their patent, this system may be mixing oxygen with extracted components from exhaled air so that oxygen supply time can be extended without increasing oxygen reserve.
This system is a potential game-changer for airlines that enables direct routes over high terrains such as the Himalayas, Rockies or Andes. In time, the company anticipated annual savings for airlines of $500m and 1.2 million tonnes of CO₂.
Winner Health and Safety: Safran Cabin “Fire Resistant Cargo Container”
Safran Cabin’s Fire Resistant Cargo Container offers fire containment for Class D fires for up to 6 hours. Therefore giving passengers, crew and operators an additional level of protection from a threat that has the potential for catastrophic consequences during flight.
Fire is one of the biggest enemies of inflight safety. More digital devices containing lithium-ion batteries are traveling in air cargo. Therefore, the chance of a more violent fire incident becomes higher. FAA recorded 354 incidents involving lithium-ion batteries between January 2006 and February 2022. One of the most extreme accidents caused the total loss of a UPS DC-8, where lithium-ion batteries made the fire uncontrollable.
Winner Passenger Comfort: Collins Aerospace “SpaceChiller”
From the press release
Innovations in this category seek to give all passengers a feeling of exclusivity and luxury, regardless of whether they’re sitting in first or economy. The winner this year in the Passenger Comfort category was SpaceChiller by Collins Aerospace. This personal refrigeration unit for individual passengers or larger aircraft cabin areas eschews traditional air-cooling technologies. Offering customers cooled snacks and drinks within arm’s reach was long considered difficult to implement.
SpaceChiller requires half the power of traditional designs. Its modular architecture offers a premium passenger experience and gives airlines added flexibility for services and crew workspace. Conceived primarily for premium seat classes, SpaceChiller can be scaled in size as required, another factor that impressed the jury. This enables airlines to provide self-service catering areas for passengers without encroaching on flight attendant workspaces or passengers’ personal space.
The core technology behind SpaceChiller is a heatsink developed for DARPA. The quiet thermoelectric cooling system operates at higher efficiency and offers better performance in a small space than previously possible, without the use of environmentally unfriendly refrigerants.
Winner IFEC & Digital Services: Anuvu coop. Southwest Airlines “Dedicated Space”
Dedicated Space uses proprietary technology that combines aircraft hardware and intelligent software in a different approach to using satellite bandwidth onboard an aircraft. The software analyses bandwidth demand and dynamically assigns traffic based on individual aircraft requirements. Thereby promises a five-fold increase in available personal bandwidth, a dramatic latency reduction and better stability.
This system is one of the few finalists that is a certified product. According to a report by Runway Girl Network, Southwest was planning to install the system on 50 aircraft by the end of May. Despite confirming the installation, the Dallas-based airline later selected ViaSat as its line-fit internet supplier.
Winner Material & Components: Thales Avionics “Pulse”
Like Dedicated Space, Pulse also employs patented technology that dynamically allocates resources to individual outlets. The system provides USB-A, USB-C and wireless charging options. The charging solution’s patented power management technology reduces the power supply weight by 30%. On top of its functionality, the visual quality of its material was also a contributing factor for it to win in this category.
Winner Sustainable Cabin: Diab “100% Recyclable Panels for Cabin Interiors”
Swedish manufacturer Diab won this category with its partnership with AkzoNobel, Rescoll and Roctool. The group has pioneered a thermoplastics manufacturing process to produce 100% recyclable panels for cabin interiors. In addition, the thermoplastic sheets are welded directly to the foam core, offering improved acoustic insulation for the finished material.
One can usually improve sustainability in aviation in two ways, weight reduction or waste reduction. This product achieved both aspects, boasting zero waste and an 8% to 10% weight reduction.
Winner University: Ken Kirtland “Portal”
The University category is usually home to some of the wildest ideas. Ken Kirtland from the Georgia Institute of Technology won this category in 2022.
Portal envisages a new type of zero-emission electric-powered aircraft to ferry passengers which also looks much like a ferry boat. The concept utilizes underused regional airports for air travel between local hubs. This concept provides an enticing vision for the future of regional flight.
One of the commonalities these winners show is sustainability. All these products in some way reduce emissions and decrease consumption while providing better passenger experiences.
CCA usually showcases some of the most innovative ideas in the industry. While not all the ideas turn into reality, the winners will undoubtedly provide a glimpse of the future.
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