Crystal Cabin Award 2011 goes to…

Seven snow-white trophies were presented to beaming winners

Crystal Cabin Award 2011 goes to…

180 invited guests from the aviation industry witnessed the excitement and tension of the award ceremony for this year’s Crystal Cabin Award in Hamburg’s prestigious traditional hotel, the Atlantic. After a formal dinner, seven snow-white trophies were presented to beaming winners. The unique prizes for innovative products and concepts in the field of aircraft cabins were awarded to Elektro-Metall Export, Lufthansa Technik, RECARO, Thales, The IMS Company and the Munich University of Applied Sciences. A total of 52 entries from ten countries were received by the Crystal Cabin Award Association in Hamburg. 21 of them reached the final round. "It is surprising that, although there have been many improvements in the past ten years, there are still new innovations coming to light every time. It is often said that allowing for variation in body posture poses a difficulty in airplanes, but the finalists have proven that this is not necessarily the case," comments Prof. Dr Peter Vink from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (Industrial Design Engineering), a member of the Judging Panel.

The trophy in the "Entertainment and Communication" category was presented by the new Secretary of State at Hamburg’s Ministry of Economic and Labour Affairs, Dr Bernd Egert. And the winner was The IMS Company from the USA, for its RAVE (Reliable Audio Video Entertainment) product, an embedded on-board entertainment system with only two part numbers. The Seat Display Unit (SDU) stores all content and has all of the system’s functionality built in. This makes it independent from the System Control Unit (SCU), which has the sole task of downloading the content for the coming month in the background and providing an interface to the aircraft. A localised system failure is no longer possible. There are no more LRUs and there is no unnecessary weight. And the installation is simpler, too.

In the "Industrial Design / Interior Concept" category, Rainer von Borstel of Diehl Aerosystems presented the trophy to RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG. The Swabian manufacturer’s winning BL3520 seat has three key characteristics: reduced weight, more space and increased comfort. Scientific research and intelligent design have created the patented solution that makes all this possible – a slimmer, space-saving backrest. And the new seat weighs in at 3 kilograms less than the previous model.

And the RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG team got to go straight back up onto the stage again when they won the trophy in the "Passenger Comfort" category for their Air New Zealand SkyCouch. The SkyCouch is a trio of economy seats that create a flexible space for up to three passengers. The leg rests can be raised to 60 or even 90 degrees, giving passengers the choice: three seats, or one couch. Relax, stretch out, or sleep. The trophy was presented by Dr Dierk Hickmann, an engineer and a member of the judging panel.

Germany’s Elektro-Metall Export GmbH won a trophy in the "Greener Cabin, Health and Safety" category, presented by Peter Bishop from the Judging Panel, for their Non-Touch Waste Flap product. Working together with Schüschke Solid Surface, Elektro-Metall Export has developed an automatic flap for waste bins in aircraft lavatories. A capacitive sensor responds to the proximity of the user’s hand to activate the flap, so that aircraft of the future can offer a more hygienic and thus more pleasant environment for passengers and crew.

Lufthansa Technik from Germany took out the “Material and Components” category with their Galley Light. The world’s thinnest floor path marking system has been tuned for its environment so well that it blends flush into the galley floor and can withstand the physical loads, fluids and temperatures that it will be subject to in an airliner’s galley. The system operates without electricity and is available in a wide range of colours. Dr Jörg Schuler from Airbus had the honour of congratulating the team as he presented the trophy.

The "University Category" is still very new, and the students delivered a photo finish. Marina Fischer, Bianca Herberth and Veronika Ruml from the Munich University of Applied Sciences won by a whisker. The focus of their Airgonomic interior design concept study, produced in cooperation with EADS Innovation Works, was on the basic needs of passengers on short-haul flights. The materials used for the seat, with an integrated hightech  gel, ensure an optimal, ergonomic posture for every passenger – even in Economy. Electrical impulses adjust the firmness of the gel pads, making it possible to tune the seat to the needs of the individual passenger and the phase of the flight. The Airgonomic integrated design concept’s principle advantages are that the seats weigh less and have fewer components than a normal seat. Moving parts have been avoided. Rolf Dieter Sellge, Aviation Consultant and member of the Judging Panel, presented the trophy to the three young graduates, whilst Carmen Krause, Crystal Cabin Award Project Manager, presented them with a cheque for 3,000 euros.

The "Judges Commendation Prize" was presented to THALES for the Touch Passenger Media Unit by Christian Körfgen, Chairman of the Judging Panel and Vice President of Product Management & Innovation at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. TouchPMU is a menu-driven handheld device running the Android™ operating system and controlled with a 3.8 inch (9.7 cm) touchscreen. The system presents airlines with a vast degree of flexibility in terms of both the entertainment and information they provide for their passengers and the way they communicate. TouchPMU represents a whole new level in the development of on-board entertainment systems, enhancing both functionality and ease of use at the same time.

The Crystal Cabin Award 2011 is supported by Airbus, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, Assystem, Bishop GmbH, DIEHL Aerosystems Holding GmbH, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, HTG Media Hamburg, Jetliner Cabins and SGS Germany GmbH.