Ball screws provide improved aircraft seat adjustment

Written by: Justin Cunningham | Published:
The complex mechanism is unlikely to take over The complex mechanism is unlikely to take over

Most current aircraft seat adjustments operate using two to three separate mechanisms to adjust back rests, slide the seats, and also pull out a foot rests. However, Swiss linear motion specialists Eichenberger has developed an adjustment system controlled from a single central point, using three small, highly precise and robust carry type ball screws with matched ball screw nuts.

The solution provided a design challenge in that ten highly accurate drill holes, of just 1.52 mm in diameter, on the ballscrew nuts were needed. The problem is that metal expands and contracts during the hardening process, resulting in slight changes in position and size of the all-important holes. These changes are very difficult to predict, but, after successive cycles of measuring and vacuum hardening to 59-63 HRC, Eichenberger’s developers succeeded in adjusting the drill holes to the required size and with an impressive tolerance of just ± 0.015mm.

While the mechanism proves to operate more accurately and smoothly, it is unlikely to be applied to aircraft seats more widely due to its complex nature and higher costs.

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