Lighter weight and fuel efficiency
Even though fuel costs have fallen, the quest for profitability, the pressure from low-cost carriers, tougher regulations on noise and greenhouse gas emissions are forcing all operators to use lighter more energy-efficient aircraft.
Moving away from using aluminum in airframes, wings, trailing edges and other flight surfaces is one reason that manufacturers are replacing it with lightweight carbon fiber composites on planes. Composites also provide a smooth finish for components and thus less drag.
Apart from these many initiatives to save weight on aircraft, one important component – largely metallic – is hidden out of sight: cables. According to model, size, passenger capacity and specifications, every airliner contains from 200 to 600 km of cables interconnecting vital equipment throughout the airplane.
They provide everything from power, data, sensor information, flight management control, avionics, and communications to overhead and emergency lighting and in-flight entertainment. The challenge is how to make lighter-weight cable designs to meet every airborne need, with no compromise on safety, performance and reliability.