Aircraft interiors need lightweight materials
When designing the interior of an aircraft, lightweight and sturdiness are key factors to consider. This was certainly the case for Hiller Inc., an established furniture manufacturing company with design engineering capabilities specializing in luxury aircraft, when working on upgrading a lavatory door design.
The original linear guide for the lavatory door did not perform up to Hiller’s high standards that coincide with luxury aircraft. The weight of the door put too much load on the slide and caused it to sag over time. This would result in misalignment and improper operation. As the problem progressed, the door would be unable to latch, causing further maintenance issues.
The PBC Linear solution
Hiller identified PBC’s Low Profile Redi-Rail® (LPRR) linear guide system as a viable improvement. LPRR is a compact (19mm) cam roller system equipped with high performance, double row bearing rollers for increased load capacity and rigidity. It also features steel inserts embedded within the lightweight aluminum rail to ensure durability and long life. However, to adapt the LPRR into the Hiller application, PBC needed to make some custom refinements to the standard design to further decrease weight while maintaining strength.
To lighten the LPRR, Hiller proposed designing air pockets along the rail. This achieved the goal of reducing the weight without sacrificing in load capacity or performance. After testing the first prototype, Hiller asked if PBC could machine for higher volume production. Equipped with a 150,000 ft² manufacturing floor, PBC Linear can provide several unique machining capabilities and had no problem mass-machining the custom rail.
Results / ROI
Initial testing of the linear guide system proved to be successful. On static pull tests, the LPRR was able to perform at 2.5 times the specified weight (around 300 lbs.) without bending or misalignment. Pleased with the performance, Hiller started using the door with the new linear guide system in their upcoming aircraft designs.