June 6, 2023

Thompson’s commitment to sustainability

Thompson’s commitment to sustainability

At AIX 2023, Thompson Aero Seating is demonstrating its commitment to prioritising sustainability in all aspects of its business.

The Thompson Aero Seating stand at AIX includes a green wall dedicated to its eco-credentials. While the company readily admits that this is the start of its journey into sustainability, the first steps are solid.

There are many ways in which Thompson Aero Seating’s products may already be considered sustainable – through its chosen materials, processes, practices and suppliers. But there is more that can and will be done.

Innovation as a route to sustainability

Thompson Aero Seating believes that innovation is a key route to sustainability, allowing new, more sustainable products and materials to be brought to market, along with lighter-weight designs. In 2023, Thompson Aero Seating will complete its new Dynamic Test Facility. A significant investment and the first of its type in Northern Ireland, this will support further progress in sustainability, along with enabling reduced lead times for development and innovation.

Dynamic Test Facility

The new Vantage seat – increased sustainability through material collaboration

The Vantage seat was the very first seat designed and built by Thompson Aero Seating. It offers fully flat business-class comfort while maximising cabin efficiency. For AIX 2023, Thompson Aero Seating aimed at also maximising the sustainability of this iconic seat.

The new Vantage fully flat business-class seat has increased sustainability through the material choices made. Thompson Aero Seating has collaborated with four industry-leading suppliers that are actively engaged in looking at alternative materials and processes leading to increased sustainable manufacturing.

Hainsworth by Replin is exploring the use of natural shades of wool, from sheep, alpaca, and hemp, to create sustainable seating and vertical surface fabrics. This use of 100% undyed wool means the fabrics are luxurious and attractive with none of the waste created in the dyeing process.

Seating fabric: 100% undyed wool

This is a modern take on a classic construction, using the warm colour palette of undyed sheep’s wool. The finish is natural, soft and made without the use of traditional chemical dyestuffs and mordants. This fabric is a more sustainable option, without compromising design, handle, or performance.

Eclipse vertical surface fabric: 55% Nomex, 31% Wool, 14% Alpaca

Alpaca is a fine, soft fleece with a wide colour palette that lends itself to creating fabrics that feel luxurious. It is used in this vertical surface fabric alongside undyed wool and Nomex, to find a balance between meeting technical standards and being more sustainable.

KYDEX® 5555RCL is a proprietary, integrally coloured, high-performance thermoplastic sheet made using recycled Kydex thermoplastics. New research enables this product to be used in more areas of the cabin. All Kydex thermoplastics are 100% recyclable, supporting circularity and waste reduction.

Sekisui Kydex has been recycling Kydex thermoplastics for over 20 years and supplies recycled products to a breadth of other industries. All Kydex thermoplastics are 100% recyclable, including materials created with the company’s Infused Imaging technology. Because Infused Imaging is monolithic (embedded in it, not on it) and not a secondary layer or cap, it can be recycled in the same stream as all other Kydex materials.

Sekisui Kydex now has a new flight-ready, recycled product line, named Kydex RCL. Kydex 5555 RCL is made using recycled Kydex thermoplastics. It is specifically formulated to exceed low heat-release requirements for aircraft interiors. For the Vantage seat, Kydex 5555 RCL will be used on visible parts for the first time, aided by Kydex’s research into new ways to keep colour consistency.

Muirhead makes the world’s lowest-carbon intensity, high-performance aviation leather due to its industry-leading circular manufacturing process. LightCore™ is a 33% lighter, low-carbon, full-substance leather, helping customers to save weight without compromising luxury or durability.

Leather is a 100% by-product of the food industry and has a 76% bio-based renewable carbon content. Muirhead’s world-class tannery uses 50% less water per hide than the industry standard. The patented process ensures zero process waste.

Muirhead’s pioneering take-back scheme can reclaim energy from end-of-life leather in a patented circular process. The energy from Muirhead’s waste and customers’ end-of-life/non-repairable goods allow energy to be recovered (ie. not disposed of) and the circular production of a new, low-carbon intensity leather for new leather goods. Life Cycle Analysis measures the impact of production as CO2e/m2. Muirhead’s LCA of 8kg is the lowest published in the world for leather.

ANKER’s AIRlight Eco carpet uses Econyl yarn, which is made of 100 % recycled fibre. Environmentally superior, the carpeting can be recycled after use. The carpet is also light weight and uses a PVB binder from laminated glass that otherwise would go to landfill.

Sustainability, ecology, recycling and environmental friendliness are key pillars of the ANKER corporate strategy. ANKER’s vision for the future is to achieve complete sustainability based on resource-neutral and socially responsible production. ANKER has created the world’s first flame- retardant aviation carpet using a recycled binder. 

Speaking at AIX 2023, Andy Morris, Chief Commercial Officer, Thompson Aero Seating, said: “Sustainability is a significant challenge for the aviation industry, but we can all drive change to reduce waste, increase the possibilities for recycling, and lessen our environmental impact. Thompson Aero Seating is taking a collaborative approach and using innovation and thoughtful design to improve the sustainability of our products and practices wherever possible.”