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Modern Technology in the Cabin: An Up Close Look into Airlines

Posted by Bead Electronics on Jun 10, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Did you know that the global demand for aircraft cabin lighting is expected to rise by $797 million? From the cabin crew to the seating to the Wi-Fi, a great in-flight experience for air travelers needs a combination of factors. However, lighting is one part of the cabin that plays a major effect on your travel experience, even if you are not aware of it.

Our eyes are susceptible to light and can detect even minor color variations. These differences can go unnoticed, but they do have a strong effect on our mood and comfort.

Providing reliable airline services requires knowing how technology in the industry has changed. Here is an up-close look at modern technology in the cabin.

Improved Lighting

Cabin lighting not only determines passenger comfort but also establishes mood lighting and sunrise and sunset lighting.

Older aircraft use only red, green, and blue colored LEDs, which have less color stability than white LEDs. As the lighting fixtures age, you'll see streaking and other color variations.

Sensors are now used to ensure that each LED in the device is completely in tune with the configuration. It must also deliver the correct color temperature with extreme precision. The technology places four LEDs, red, green, blue, and white, at either end of a one-yard optical light guide. That allows it to create many different color shades.

You blend individual primary LED colors into the desired color shade within the light guide. That is then regulated and controlled to achieve a more uniform color than traditional LED strips.


How it Works

This airline lighting technology has taken off and will continue to do so for years to come. LEDs have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours, and individual LEDs can be quickly substituted as required.

Standard LEDs age at varying rates. That is due partly to temperature stresses within small airplane chambers. This results in color streaks and other color differences over time. However, when each LED is assessed and monitored, it can create a consistent color sensation over time.

These more uniform colors make a huge difference to our eyes. For airlines, these new developments produce an in-flight experience like no other.

Interconnect Everywhere

The most common interconnect connector is a simple power cable and molded plug. This plug will have a mating socket (receptacle or housing). The plug has solid blades or pins in various configurations for a making socket with internal contacts.

Also falling under plugs and sockets are jacks and plugs. You may have noticed some flights have upgraded their headphone jack inputs to fit the standardized pin sizing from Apple and other manufacturers. To meet consumer needs, airlines have also started to install USB plug outlets to facilitate in-seat charging.

Each of these upgrades go miles toward improving the passenger's experience onboard but they also require the smallest connector components to facilitate a successful, lasting connection.

Self-Dimming Windows

If you fly often, you'll note that the windows in certain aircraft are slightly different. You may have discovered there isn't a window shade at the top of each window after reaching for it. Instead, passengers can choose how much light they want to let in by pressing buttons (image from Aviation Pros).

avp dimming windows

But how does this work if there isn't a solid shade covering the window to block out the light?

The windows are not constructed of a single panel of glass. You wouldn't want a single sheet of glass anyway, given what would happen to the pressurized cabin if it cracked. Two bits of glass are sandwiched together in these windows, with gel between them.

This gel is connected to an electric current by connector pins. The electric current increases or decreases based on the dimming frequency selected by the passenger.

The greater the current, the thicker the gel gets and, as a result, less light can pass through it. When the current is reduced, the gel loosens up, much like your vision when you go outside.

The gel turned a solid blue at its darkest setting when the windows were first added, but it didn't go absolutely dark. Window manufacturers have enhanced this design's technology, allowing the gel to turn black. That totally blocks out the sun and provides the same or equivalent darkness in the cabin as conventional window shades.

Window Dimming Master Control

The cabin crew may also adjust the gel color of a single window, a portion of windows, or the whole aircraft using a master control.

That master control is useful for a number of reasons—like when a plane is preparing for launch or landing and requires porthole visibility—then the crew can raise the blinds in an instant. Alternatively, if the crew wants to keep the sunlight out as long as necessary to ensure travelers get the most sleep possible, they have the ability to dim the lights and set the maximum brightness. This is particularly useful on a short red-eye flight that crosses several time zones. However, the disadvantage of this being that it deprives each passenger of their own preferred lighting choice.

When you fly on a newer plane, take a look out the windows, which are 65 percent bigger than those on older aircraft, and experiment with the dimmers. Boeing claims that these windows should last about 20 years, and the manufacturer hopes to collaborate with other companies to improve the passenger experience in similar ways.

Technology Flies Higher

There is no end to technology. It is an ever-changing world!

In order to stay competitive, aviation industry manufacturers are adopting the latest technology in the cabin of aircraft. They constantly develop novel ideas, programs, trials, and innovations to assist them in providing the ultimate future travel experience.

As consumer demands become more unique, evolving to keep up with trends is more important than ever. The needs for customizations are increasing so finding a high-quality interconnect pins manufacturer that can deliver cost-effective, custom solutions is must.

Contact us and let us understand your electrical application, engineering, and manufacturing needs. We will create the custom solution you need to fit any application.

About Bead Electronics

Bead Electronics, is a global manufacturer of electronic connector pins and has been manufacturing in Connecticut for over 100 years. The award-winning company carries over 500 patents and is best known for inventing its manufacturing process called swaging. This process is a high-speed, virtually scrap-less, cold-forming process capable of producing a wide size range of metal electronic components that are consistent and cost-effective. The family-owned business is led by its fifth generation. Click here to speak to a connector pin specialist today.

Topics: Custom Connectors, Bead Electronics, Aerospace, Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

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