What are Aircraft Seat Actuation Systems and How Do They Work?
Aircraft seat actuation systems have been in growing demand due to the increasing evolution that majority of airlines are going through. Different types of actuators are used by these actuation systems which help in movement of aircraft seats to suit the passenger needs. The actuators used in these systems also differ on the basis of the energy source which power the actuators, thereby helping in the movement of these aircraft seats.
The basic purpose of designing any product is to introduce a level of comfort and ease in people’s lives. Be it the invention of the wheel in pre-Christ era or the designing of a small pocket-sized Wi-Fi router, all products in the market are designed in a way which suits the lifestyle of the times in which they are designed. As the lifestyle and needs of people change, the design of that specific product changes. Sometimes, the product reaches a level where it can’t be modified further, as a result of which, the product becomes obsolete or less useful which is then replaced with a new kind of product. Take the example of a chair. A chair must have been designed in the first place to provide comfort to a standing person by offering a place to sit on. Over time, chairs have been designed in such a fashion that they have headrests, armrests, cushioning, extended leg-rests, etc. From regular chairs to the seats used in automobiles and aircrafts, designing has introduced simple yet effective modifications to the original structure of the chair and raised its comfort level. One such modification which has been frequently used in the designing of seats of aircrafts is called the aircraft seat actuation system.
Aircraft seat actuation system, just like any actuation system, employs an actuator whose primary function is to operate or move a specific object with the help of an energy source. Aircraft seat actuation systems, thus help the passenger to change the alignment of his/her seat by providing recliner and seat adjusting mechanisms. These systems are generally available in first-class, business class, and economy-class sections of aircrafts. Currently the demand for aircraft seat actuation systems is rising profoundly, which is fueling the growth of the global aircraft seat actuation system market.
Types of Aircraft Seat Actuation Systems
Aircraft seats, especially the high-end seats, provide a combination of various applications for seat adjustment, seat comfort and security, etc. For this, different types of actuators are used so as to move and operate the seats as per the passenger’s needs. Some types of actuators are given below:
- Linear Actuators:
Manufacturers of aircraft seat actuation systems use this type of actuators to enable linear forward-backward movement of the seats. A linear moving piston which is attached to the base of the seat helps in this movement. Linear actuators are also used to help in recliner movement of the aircraft seat.
- Rotary Actuators:
These actuators help in circular or rotary motion of the aircraft seat. A circular plate capable of rotating when an energy source is applied to it is attached to the base of the seat which helps in the circular motion.
Different Energy Sources Used for Powering Aircraft Seat Actuation Systems
Actuators can be classified on the basis of the energy source used to power the actuation systems. These include electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic actuators. Electric actuators as the name suggests use some form of electric energy to power the actuators which, in turn, triggers the aircraft seat actuation systems. Hydraulic actuators, on the other hand, work on the energy provided by kinetic energy provided by movement of liquids, and pneumatic actuators use compressed air as the energy source.
The Bottom Line
Different aircraft seat actuation systems employ different types of actuators based on their operability. Smart seating functionality coupled with principles of ergonomics have helped in the evolution of these systems. As airlines become “smarter” and more passenger-friendly, the demand for these actuation systems is bound to grow.
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