– 430sqm large-structure test area; 70% increased capability; significant investment –
AIM Aviation this week officially opens its new static test facility, marking substantial financial and intellectual investment in the future and providing 430 square metres of large-structure test area.
The facility at Bournemouth doubles AIM Aviation’s static test capability and will accommodate all current galley and cabin furniture modules for the Airbus long-range, A380, A350 and A400M and the Boeing 747, 757, 777 and 787 aircraft. In additional, AIM Aviation has also expanded its galley and monument cooling test facilities.
The opening of the structural test resource has been timed to meet the scheduling requirements of one of AIM Aviation’s major customers, for a substantial test programme.
John Heath, Group Design and Technical Director for AIM Aviation, says: “We have provided an additional 134 square metres for static and endurance testing of cabin interior monuments, galleys, sofas, seats and components. The total large-structure test area is now 430 square metres, which give us great flexibility both in terms of the items we can test and our scheduling of work. In addition, there is a 90 square metre dedicated metal fabrication and machine shop.”
With the introduction of a third large test cube, galleys and cabin furniture up to a size of 3m wide, 3m high and 9m long, can be static tested. Or, two monuments sized 3m x 3m x 3m, can be simultaneously tested, whilst further monuments are pre-loaded into a further three test cubes, ready for testing. The maximum applied static load capability has been increased from 14,000kg to 24,000kg. Three endurance test machines are available to validate mechanism long-term wear tests.
AIM Aviation has also expanded its galley and monument cooling test chamber at the Bournemouth site. The chamber has an internal size of 5.3m x 4m x 3.5m and is equipped with a high capacity Lauda Chiller providing the cooled Galden fluid used in A340-500/600 and A380 distributed galley-chilling systems.
The structural test service complements the extensive Fire, Smoke and Toxicity test house and automated test range for radar transmission testing of radomes, at AIM Composites. Located in Waterbeach, Cambridge, the AIM Composites test centre is the only full-service cabin fire properties test facility in the UK, listed in the FAA Materials Fire Test Handbook.
The FST facility is qualified by Airbus in its QTML for flammability testing and approvals include UKAS ISO 17025 fire testing capability for cabin materials. A mechanical test facility for assessing composite panels, joints and insert-strengths supplements this capability, as does its NADCAP accredited NDT service.