Maximising use of space in an aircraft has always been a key consideration for airlines, but so has offering fast and efficient service and products that meet the ever-growing expectations of passengers.
When it comes to the design of aircraft galleys, in addition to being functional, galleys need to meet many other requirements. They should be durable, user-friendly and ideally as light as possible in weight to reduce fuel consumption.
When planning galleys, making most of the available space while combining competitive features with efficient service is important, and some of the new products in the market promise to do just that.
Smart technology advancements are leading the way in which galleys are evolving. One example of this is offered by Safran Cabin, which presented its new Smart System Integrator Galley during a Boeing ecoDemonstrator event at Frankfurt Airport on board the 2019 Boeing ecoDemonstrator 777 aircraft.
Safran Cabin developed the Smart System Integrator Galley for the Boeing ecoDemonstrator programme; this assesses innovations and new technologies that can enhance safety and solve real-world challenges for airlines, passengers and the environment.
The galley’s features include an access point for communication to Boeing and the iCabin network, a connected electrical oven, connected E-Locks, connected E-Panel and integrated and connected sensors for monitoring noise, temperatures and humidity.
The galley also includes a smart trolley solution named Sophy that controls and optimises catering operations by collecting, sharing and communicating real-time, accurate data with other Sophy-activated equipment through a ‘mesh network’. The company says the solution helps operators save on catering costs as it prevents and minimises inefficiencies due to mishandling, misplacement or misinformation.
Sophy detects multiple processes such as catering handovers, cabin service durations and the trolley’s location, while the Smart System Integrator Galley provides real-time updates on non- value-added tasks for cabin crew during turn-around time, efficient control and health monitoring of galley systems, and improved monitoring, automation and quality increase of galley and catering processes. The company says it allows for seamless communication between the intelligent cabin and the Boeing network.
Sergio Gomez, senior product manager at Safran Cabin, explains that the reception of the smart trolley solution in Frankfurt by both Boeing and the event visitors was “very good”, noting that Safran Cabin has performed catering and on-board research for more than five years, resulting in the creation of Sophy.
“We have partnered with Undagrid, an internet of things specialist, to develop the backbone of Sophy’s smart technology. This development allows connectivity with our Smart Galley, portable devices and other systems throughout the catering process.
More than 20 airlines have also provided input onto our development and now the product is finally ready to launch to market.”
“Safran Cabin’s vision is to ensure that the integration of our technology will allow airlines to improve their on- and off-board processes with Sophy,” states Gomez. He says that Sophy will be commercially available during the course of 2020. “As we speak, we are running trials together with some key partners.”
Matter of sustainability
Another major consideration for galley suppliers is sustainability. Airlines around the world are working hard to reduce emissions caused by flying, and one way to do this is to reduce the weight of the aircraft, leading to less fuel consumption. Diehl Aviation showcased its Skypax cabin monument product, which it developed in cooperation with Lufthansa Technik, at the German Aerospace Day in Potsdam last September.
The cabin monument is a solution for the optimal use of space by means of a combined arrangement of galley and toilet in the tail of an aircraft. The monument’s reduced weight has a positive effect on fuel consumption.
At the beginning of June last year, the Skypax concept was awarded the German Aviation Innovation Prize in the Emission Reduction category. The clever arrangement of the cabin monument also frees up more space for additional passenger seats in the aircraft.
High-quality catering is, naturally, another key consideration for airlines. With social media and review websites enabling customers to share their experiences, it’s increasingly important to offer premium choices. Collins Aerospace’s Essence galley inserts does just that, promising an unrivalled inflight food and beverage experience.
The range includes ovens, beverage-making equipment such as espresso machines, and refrigeration products, and promises intuitive features and technology enhancements with ease of use, reliability, reduced weight, increased power efficiency and improved ergonomics.
Brian Schmalz, vice-president of sales and marketing for galley inserts at Collins Aerospace, says that while galley inserts have historically been measured on reliability, low weight and energy efficiency, what really sets the Essence inserts apart is the ability to consistently and conveniently produce the highest-quality inflight food and beverages for passengers.
As examples, Schmalz gives a perfectly extracted shot of espresso with frothed milk for a cappuccino, a meal with bright, crispy vegetables and tender, juicy meats prepared at the same time in the same oven, and a bottle of wine maintained at just the right temperature to bring out the best aromatics and its full palate of flavour.
Schmalz says the products were very well received at the Dubai Air Show in November.
“Collins Aerospace had a number of highlights at this year’s Dubai Air Show. It was the first time we attended as Collins Aerospace after Rockwell Collins and UTC Aerospace Systems came together last year,” Schmalz explains. “Our Essence galley inserts were well received as another Collins Aerospace innovation to help enhance the passenger experience.”
The company announced that Turkish Airlines had ordered the inserts for the airline’s widebody aircraft: Collins Aerospace will provide galley inserts on 25 new Airbus A350s and 25 Boeing B787 Dreamliners. Ahmet Bolat, Turkish Airlines chief investment and technology officer says:
“The new galley inserts will support us in providing our passengers with expanded offerings, such as espresso and cappuccino beverages, while enhancing our award-winning dishes from our world-famous, talented chefs.”