Thompson Aero Seating has revealed its plans to create a world-class Dynamic Test Facility (DTF) in Northern Ireland.
The building works for the £7.5 million investment have already begun to extend the premises for the DTF at the Thompson brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down. The building works are planned to complete in spring 2023 and testing is due to begin from autumn 2023.
The company will be recruiting for several test engineering roles, with the DTF providing Thompson enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness and to carry out research and development work without needing to leave the factory. Thompson says currently there is no DTF on the island of Ireland. Neil Taggart, CEO of Thompson Aero Seating, says: “Having our own Dynamic Test Facility will give us a huge opportunity to save on lead times in the development of our new seats and improve sustainability – which have to be positives for our airline customers.”
Having enhanced in-house dynamic testing capability will give Thompson greater opportunity for innovation and will allow designs to be optimised, reducing weight and, therefore, reducing the carbon footprint of the seats in flight. Furthermore, testing onsite will be positive for the environment.
Sled testing allows engineers to reproduce the dynamic conditions of a full-scale crash event in a controlled environment. The reverse accelerator sled being installed can produce up to 100g accelerations.
Taggart commented: “The majority of the funding for the project has come from Thompson’s shareholder, with Invest Northern Ireland is part-funding the project. This is a very exciting opportunity for Thompson Aero Seating. It will enable us to push the boundaries of design and bring further innovation to the aircraft interiors industry.”