October 19, 2023

Game-changing Dynamic Test Facility declared open!

Game-changing Dynamic Test Facility declared open!

Today saw the official opening of Thompson Aero Seating’s world-class dynamic Test Facility in Banbridge, County Down. Marking a new era of innovation in the aircraft seating industry across Ireland and Great Britain, the prestigious event commenced with the unveiling of a plaque by Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Part of the new Thompson Engineering Centre, the Dynamic Test Facility itself represents an investment of over £7.5 million. The facility will give Thompson enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness at its own premises (testing that until now has had to be carried out in the US or Europe) and to carry out research and development work.

Keith Anderson, CEO, Thompson Aero Seating, said:¬†“We are delighted that our new Dynamic Test Facility is officially open and operating. The significance of this new state-of-the-art facility cannot be over emphasised in terms of the opportunities it provides. Our orderbook is very strong and the growth trajectory we have over the coming years will be underpinned and supported by our new in-house capability. We are very grateful to Jayne Brady, an engineer at heart, for taking time out of her busy schedule to attend the opening as our esteemed guest and speaker.”

Jayne Brady, Head of Northern Ireland Civil Service, said: “The Dynamic Test Facility is an exciting advancement for Thompson Aero Seating and for Northern Ireland. As a region, we already play a significant part in the aircraft industry, and this new facility will further enhance capability and innovation.”

Funding partnership 

The majority of the backing for the project has come from Thompson’s shareholder, with Invest Northern Ireland part-funding the project. Support has also been received from local MPs; Councillors; business leaders; the Makers Alliance; ADS, i.e. the national trade body for Aerospace, Defence, Security & Space; and Sharing in Growth’s business transformation coaches.

Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth Group, Invest NI, said: “This investment in engineering and business capability represents an important and ambitious milestone in Thompson’s Northern Ireland story. It is a great example of the Department for the Economy’s 10X in action, enabling the company to continue its ethos of innovation with an investment which will also boost economic growth in the Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council area.”

In-house testing

The Dynamic Test Facility allows engineers to reproduce the dynamic conditions of a full-scale crash event in a controlled environment. Having this facility on site gives Thompson a huge advantage in the industry, enabling the engineers to continue exploring innovative, lightweight and market-disruptive seating solutions.

Thompson Engineering Centre

The Thompson Engineering Centre provides extensive opportunity for research, design, development, testing, and verification. It is a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility on Thompson’s existing site in Banbridge, County Down.

Employment opportunities

The Dynamic Test Facility and Thompson Engineering Centre will support new engineering roles integral to creating the next generation of world-class aircraft interior products.

Sustainability

The new facilities will enable Thompson’s designs to be optimised, reducing weight and, therefore, reducing the carbon footprint of the seats in flight. With the nearest alternative facilities being overseas, this onsite Dynamic Test Facility makes the whole process more environmentally sustainable for Thompson.

Keith Anderson concludes: “We are looking forward to sharing with our airline customers the positive benefits that will be achieved in terms of innovation, lead times, and sustainability.”

Further information can be found at https://www.thompsonaero.com/innovation/