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Dash develops state-of-the-art aircraft seat shrouds with Unum

Leveraging rapid development and employment of robotic 3D printed tooling

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Leading advanced engineering company Dash is collaborating with Unum Aircraft Seating to produce epoxy-glass fibre business-class seat shrouds. Using Formula 1-derived processes and innovative composite engineering, Dash was able to provide designs and prototype seats within just six months – an extremely short timescale within the aerospace industry. The partnership leverages Dash’s well-established experience in lightweighting, composites, and the rapid development and employment of robotic 3D printed tooling.

Tim Robathan, Chairman at Dash, commented: “This has been a very exciting project for Dash, harnessing our engineering skills and composites know-how to develop an innovative solution for modern commercial aircraft. It presented our team with a variety of interesting challenges, including design, material selection, and production to comply with aerospace regulations. We look forward to our continued work with the Unum team as customer orders benefit from our proven development and production system.

Dash develops state-of-the-art aircraft seat shrouds with Unum via rapid development and employment of robotic 3D printed tooling.

Unum Aircraft Seating is one of the world’s foremost designers and manufacturers of premium lie-flat business class seats for both wide-body and increasingly capable single-aisle aircraft. Customers include airlines, aircraft leasing companies and private jet operators. The company received CAA regulatory approval last year before launching its new specialist facility near London Gatwick Airport.

Seeking to disrupt the aircraft seating market, Unum’s collaboration with Dash allows it to quickly design, engineer, develop, and manufacture novel seating solutions thereby reducing project lead times.

Chris Brady, Founder and CEO at Unum, added: “Dash are central to our approach to the aircraft seating industry. Through system thinking engineering and rapid adaptation to customer specifications, we are able to offer supremely comfortable and refined solutions to airline retrofits including small fleet and short lead time projects. We are eager to show off the efforts of this collaboration at AIX 2024 and strengthen our partnership with Dash over the coming years.”

The current projects – Unum One (herringbone) and Unum Two (staggered) – have both benefitted from Dash’s performance engineering experience. The shrouds will be manufactured in specialist epoxy-glass fiber and comply with all aerospace design requirements, including fire resistance, smoke production, and 16G dynamic tests. From cable runs to inserts, the Dash team engineered creative solutions to many design and manufacturing challenges.

With Unum seat families requiring adaption across multiple aircraft fleet types, Dash needed to develop a number of different configurations. This complexity will increase further with Unum customer orders, as specifications – including hardware location and position – can be customized for each. From a production perspective, this translates to a high volume of tooling that will be required at short notice – perfect for Dash’s approach.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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