CPI’s new technologies could change the future of flight

Imagine a cabin where the windows are display screens, relaying a choice of views from around the aircraft. If you’re not sitting in a window seat, your large seat-back display becomes your window on the world as well as a source of entertainment.

Supplement this with subtle cabin lighting from gently glowing walls and you create a unique travel environment. Screens that are ultra thin, very light and highly flexible are integrated with the fuselage or the seat backs with no unsightly, clumsy or heavy housings.

Less weight more savings

Weight is a constant issue on any aircraft. Over 80% of the fully laden weight of a commercial airliner is the aircraft itself and its fuel. For every 1% reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75%. If you save weight, you save fuel. And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost… everyone wins.

CPI is working on technologies now that will deliver this vision over the next ten years

High Definition Displays on plastic

· High quality flexible displays that can be embedded into fuselage lining panels

Continuous, roll-to-roll processes that can deliver all the components required

· Cost effective roll to roll processes of lighting and display screens that can be incorporated into fuselage lining panels

· Innovative protective coatings that ensure that these displays and lighting last for the service lifetime of the aircraft

· Lightweight printed wiring looms can provide multiple conductors for security

· Digital print systems that can provide not only the highly detailed designs necessary to make displays, but also to do this over large areas, so that designers have flexibility over the size of the screens that they use in the cabin

· Real time, continuous testing systems that ensure that maximum yields are achieved in manufacturing these components

Concepts

How this would be achieved

Using roll to roll manufacturing techniques that are currently in development at CPI, these screens could be produced at a cost that is unlikely to be any more than current displays. It will take around five years to take these processes to the point at which they are ready for full production. Of course, pre-production screens can be produced in the meantime using plastic bond/de-bond techniques and panel based lithography techniques.

CPI believes that these effects could be achieved with 50 cm high screens that match the technical specification below.

Technical specification

· 150 dpi colour resolution

· 100 cd/m2 display luminance

· 20,000 hours lifetime (before replacement)

 

 

How this would be delivered

CPI is a member of the UK’s prestigious High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a network that combines seven world class centres of industrial innovation to accelerate the commercialisation of new and emerging technologies into world beating products, for aerospace and other high value industries. CPI owns or has access to the best research and development facilities in the UK, aviation products and processes can be tested for proof-of-concept within CPIs laboratories and validated at scale through to commercial exploitation, on the ground and in the air.

CPI and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult would use their extensive networks to create a consortium of partners to deliver the benefits of such a programme. By creating an efficient manufacturing supply chain for windowless fuselage technology, the solutions developed can be rapidly commercialised.

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