The new and ultralight Bionic Partition from Bucher Leichtbau – successfully installed on Airbus A320

The Swiss specialist in aircraft interiors continues to focus on lightweight innovations for the aviation industry. Bucher is taking a technological lead in the market with its ultralight Bionic Partition and is contributing to the consistent weight reduction of the A320 family for extended range, increased payload, reduced fuel consumption and maximum safety for passengers and crew.

The latest A320neo model  had its maiden flight in September 2014. The NEO model seats up to 189 passengers. During the renewals, Airbus focused on modernisation, cost-effectiveness and increased efficiency. Bucher’s products meet these high standards. Inconspicuous at first glance, they are part of an important safety architecture within the aircraft cabin.

With the Bionic Partition, Bucher has developed a component that supports the cabin crew in their tasks and – figuratively speaking – backs them up in an emergency. The multifunctional Partitions have passed the strict qualification and approval programme and are now being installed in new aircraft as well as in a retrofit in the rear door 4 area in the A320.

Beat Burlet, CEO of the Bucher Group, on the first installation at Airbus:
“We are very proud, that our lightweight Partition is now part of the safety architecture within the aircraft cabin and is being used for the first time in daily flight operations. The enormous weight savings, that we have achieved with this product, are the result of several years of development. The first delivery to an aircraft manufacturer and finally to an airline fills us with immense pride.”

Through its position, the Partition separates the passenger area of the cabin from the crew’s working area towards the rear galley and the toilets. As a final element, the Partition can be integrated holistically into the cabin design by using decorative foils or paintwork with airline-typical colouring or logo.

It’s the inner values that count – In another function, the Partition is the carrier of a wall-mounted cabin attendant seat and various holders for emergency equipment. The emergency equipment includes, for example, fire extinguishers, smoke masks, oxygen supply or life jackets.

Functional lightweight construction and bionics
In bionics, construction methods and mechanisms from biology are analysed and their findings are transferred to technology. If it is possible to recognise the interplay of individual elements in the overall design, waste can be reduced and previously unused potential can be released.

Driven by the idea of innovation, the bionic structural concept of the Partition had to withstand varying static and dynamic loads as well as load changes. To obtain approval, the structure was not allowed to fail under dynamic accelerations of more than 16 g in the direction of flight.

n addition, flexible positioning of add-on parts in zones to be defined had to be taken into account. The lightweight structure was to allow a low structure weight with the highest possible payload. To meet all these requirements, a modern fibre composite sandwich panel of the latest generation had to be created.

After more than  two years of development at Bucher the result is a sandwich panel with a honeycomb core and carbon fibres (CFRP). Radically rethought and unconventionally constructed, it offers a multi-layer composite of various different fibre orientations. These are used over the entire surface or locally, with the wall thickness of the sandwich remaining the same.

Thanks to this new type of construction, weight savings of more than 30% could be achieved in the sense of bionics by using less material than conventional products on the market.

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