Industry leaders believe a model of a lightweight aircraft trolley could boost in-flight security and save airlines thousands of pounds per year.
Prototyping company Ogle, based in Letchworth, was asked to create an accurate model of a trolley with the aim of making the equipment more secure and more cost-effective.
Wrexham-based company Flightweight Limited, which specialises in lightweight trolleys and security solutions for the aviation industry, had identified that standard airline trolleys suffered from a number of design flaws.
Flightweight’s pioneering trolley, which won the best onboard catering equipment prize at the Onboard Hospitality Awards earlier this year, is fitted with an electronic, multi-point lock and security seal, replacing the cable ties which airline staff currently use. The company has also been awarded the Made in Wales Green Award for their innovative flax-based FibriRock, a pioneering new material that is aerospace approved and 98 per cent recyclable.
The radical lock system, created by Elelock Systems Limited, an associate company of Flightweight, is able to record the opening and closing of the trolley, which will prevent theft, while also making it easier to track the sale of duty-free products.
The trolley is 30 per cent lighter than standard trollies, which could make a fuel saving of up to £400 per year, per trolley, providing airlines with a vital carbon offset.
Chrys Chrysostomou, director of design and manufacturing at Flightweight said: “Having worked with Ogle over many years they were a natural choice. We are extremely impressed with the Ogle model and are very excited about what it could mean for airlines in the future.”
Flightweight’s groundbreaking design is also easier to repair than current trolleys, which have to be sent away for repair in a lengthy and costly process. The flat-pack, modular design means each individual panel can be taken out and replaced easily.
Ogle marketing and sales director Dave Bennion said: “We are very proud to have worked with Flightweight to create this model, their inspiration and outstanding design will undoubtedly deliver significant savings for airlines. We also believe this trolley will be kinder on the environment and help make life easier for cabin crew.”
The main body of the trolley was CNC machined from lightweight composite FibriRock. Using production-spec parts meant the finished prototype was as close to the final, full production item as possible in terms of weight and durability.
For more information about this project, view the case study here.