On the new Molon Labe S2 Economy Class Seat, the headrest vent is engineered to provide fresh cabin air to the passenger’s face.
Three pioneering aircraft interior companies have announced a collaboration to improve the safety of travelers concerned with COVID-19 infection. Tapis Corp from Armonk, NY, SIMONA Boltaron from Newcomerstown, OH, and Molon Labe Seating from Denver, CO are working on a solution for safer travel.
The design aims to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on aircraft through the use of physical distancing, anti-microbial surfaces, and respiratory protection.
They achieve this by combining Tapis’s anti-microbial Promessa Ultrafabric with thermoformed Boltaron 9815N FAR-rated sheet, and the staggered layout of Molon’s S2 economy class seat design.
Upholstery, Promessa Antimicrobial Ultrafabric
The Promessa product, manufactured by Ultrafabrics and supplied by Tapis will cover the seat back, seat pan, armrests and headrest.
The headrest features a unique curved design that reduces contact with neighboring passengers and creates a barrier to the transmission of coronavirus particles. To reduce the risk further, the headrest is covered in Promessa which has anti-microbial technology built into the surface. Matthew Nicholls from Tapis Corporation explained how the technology works “The Promessa product has anti-microbial silver ion technology built into the top skin of the product. It is inherent in the polymer to ensure maximum efficacy and prevent any leaching throughout the lifetime of the product”.
The Promessa material can also be cleaned with a wide range of EPA registered cleaners and disinfectants and is the reason why they are the market leader in the healthcare industry for surface materials. Nicholls continued “working with the Molon team was a great partnership of innovation and technology and together we believe we can restore passengers’ confidence in flying commercially and offer them a safe and sanitized experience on every flight.
Lightweight and Cleanable Hard Surfaces
With a heightened focus on the cleanability of surfaces that passengers come into contact with, including tray tables, armrests and video touch screen bezels, selecting a material that can withstand rigorous cleaning procedures and provide reliable durability from scratches and impact was key for the new economy class seat. New Boltaron 9815N FAR-rated material was specially engineered to withstand frequent cleaning with strong chemicals, in addition to UV-C disinfection and electrostatic fogging. 9815N can be customized in an unlimited range of textures and colors.
Molon Labe worked with SIMONA Boltaron’s scm360° prototyping and specialty design team to optimize the engineered design of the unique S2 seat shell design.
“When there is a unique seat configuration that could present engineering challenges for the thermoformed seat part, like the new Molon S2 seat, it’s great for us to be involved early on in the design stage of the development process,” said Mike Robinette, SIMONA Boltaron Director of Product Development.
“We were able to be very hands-on with the redesign of the 3-piece modular design, and make recommendations for optimizing the geometry of the part so that we could get the best possible material yield that would result in more efficient manufacturing and allow for more passenger space.”
In addition to providing the materials, SIMONA Boltaron engineered the 3D tooling data, built the tool and thermoformed the prototype parts for the seat.
Social Distancing – Touchless Travel
Much attention has been given to touchless travel during ticketing, boarding and check-in but once seated this becomes difficult due to the confines of the cabin.
Molon’s S2 seat with its staggered design help to reduce the physical touchpoints between passengers, including arms, elbows and legs.
Molons’ large, one-sided headrest can act as a physical barrier that be rotated 180 degrees to open up the seats between traveling friends and family, or used to act as a physical barrier between unknown passengers. It also offers a patented headrest vent which would distribute fresh cabin air directly in front of the passengers face rather than from an overhead vent. This fresh air vent would have volume and direction adjustments similar to current overhead cabin air vents.
The unique attributes of this design include:
Tapis, SIMONA Boltaron, and Molon expect this design will address the long-term concerns that have developed as a result of the global pandemic and plan to complete the design by the early of 2021. Our aim is to look at a long-term solution by making these post-COVID specific changes to our design addressing both passenger comfort and confidence.