2016 has been another great year working closely with a range of companies in the plane, train and automobile (and a bit of boat...) industries. We've even been giving some advice to a company building a flying car.....
Dan started Light Black Design, just over 7 years ago, with the aim of helping the boat world reduce costs and improve efficiency by passing on some of the advances in composite technologies that the car world had made. That knowledge has now allowed Light Black Design to help almost all possible modes of transport. And the best thing about being involved in so many different projects is that each and every one does something differently and allows us to pass on that information to others.
Starting with Planes..... Most of 2016 has been with Acro Aircraft Seating again. This year we have been continuing the work we started with the all composite, economy Series 6 seat backs, working closely with the material suppliers and part manufacturers to help them develop the designs to suit the materials and processes. This will be the first all composite seatback that really is cost effective for economy aircraft seats whilst still giving the weight savings possible from using carbon fibre composites, which is so important in the commercial aircraft seating industry.
This seat has been shown all over the world and goes into full production with a world leading airline in the coming months. We have also been work with Acro on their future Premium Economy seat, Series 7. Once again, this is a seat that has been shown all over the world and has had some amazing reviews. Dan has been helping them with materials and processes as well looking at some of the smaller details in the overall setup of the seat.
To trains..... Working with Acro lead us to some work with Transcal. Their CEO, Robert Aitken, questioned why Train seats are not as comfortable as Plane seats, especially when one considers the price paid for train tickets compared to the low cost plane tickets that the Acro seats seen on.
With this in mind, and working closely with Factory Design in London, Dan helped engineer this revolutionary Rail seat, that was unveiled at InnoTrans earlier this year.
To Cars.... Having finished working with Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup team in February (that's the boat bit...) Dan was extremely lucky to been given the opportunity to work with an Italian road car company, helping them develop some structural, composite parts that could form the basis of future cars of their production lines.
Alongside this ongoing project, Dan has also been working with a UK manufacturer on an all composite, driver-less taxi for the US markets. Working closely with a world-class team, Dan has generated the conceptual geometry for the chassis and all the BIW (B?) that could form the basis of the prototype vehicles that will be built in the coming months.
As proud as we are of both these projects, we obviously cannot say who we are working with but as soon as the projects go public we will of course show as much as we can.
And finally, to somewhere between cars and planes.... Dan has been contacted by a new European company to help them with some production materials and processing choices for their highly advanced carbon fibre chassis/cockpit. The engineering of this car/plane is being run by an old friend, who Dan worked with at McLaren Automotive.
Although our part in this amazing project is only in its very earliest stages, and there is not much more we can say at the moment, we really look forward to having this chance to work on something that really is out of this world.