In-seat power behemoth Astronics will begin to manufacture its Outlet Units with a new anti-microbial formulation later this year. This includes the EmPower® system 110VAC, Type A USB, Type C USB and all combination Outlet Units.
We began reimagining our products early on in light of the pandemic. We recognized that, in addition to the many safety features already included in our Outlet Units, providing anti-microbial touchpoints would benefit the entire supply chain as well as airlines’ and passengers. As the market leading cabin power supplier, we look to stay at the leading edge of innovative solutions that both transform and enhance the travel experience.– Dennis Markert, Director of Business Development at Astronics
The company expects the first units to o roll off production lines in Q3 2021 and that all of its EmPower outlet modules will be manufactured with the new formulation by early 2022.
While more research suggests COVID-19 is not transmitted via surface contacts, the pandemic did drive a massive rethinking of how surfaces on board, particularly high-touch areas, are vectors for disease. Airlines considered a variety of options on board, from harsh chemicals (with unknown effects on interior components) to foggers and UV-C lights. Suppliers similarly began to adjust the way they produced products. Tapis and Ultrafabrics had an option to incorporate anti-microbial treatment into their seating and monument cover fabrics but no customers wanted it previously. Now it is almost a default option for new seats. JetBlue‘s A220s and new A321neo/A321LR planes are among those that feature the option.
It is not much of a surprise, then, that other vendors such as Astronics are working to include the chemical shift in their product lines. And given the production process for these outlet components, the decision to simply convert everything to the new formulation is not particularly surprising either.
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