Shannon Gill, director of business development at MSB, discusses what customers expect from business jet tables
How has hi-lo table design changed over the years?
There are two aspects to the design evolution of the hi-lo conference table. Firstly, a much greater variety of tables are now available. Since the first hi-lo conference table was introduced, MSB has responded to customer requests for different tabletop sizes and extensions, cup-holders and cup-holder locations, extensions for the berthing position, call switches, water-transfer painting on the shrouds, edge finishing to net trim dimensions, modified base-plate dimensions and occasionally, the validation of after-delivery modifications. We can now offer more than 25 versions.
Hi-lo tables have also undergone big improvements in terms of aesthetics and functionality. We have listened to everybody from assemblers and tabletop finishers to flight attendants and pilots, to improve the ease of assembly and finishing, the reliability, appearance and operation as well as size, noise and weight.
What does the market now expect from hi-lo tables?
The end users expect to have a product that is in keeping with the style, comfort and reliable functionality of the cabin interior components. The OEMs, completion centers, VIP clients and maintenance organizations expect a product that offers a high level of strength, reliability and endurance, as well as ease of assembly, installation and repair.
What are the most challenging demands to meet?
The most challenging demand was to meet a berthing requirement representing gust loads of 4g and upward. The table had to withstand 600 lb with no permanent damage or deformation and survive an ultimate load of 1,400 lb and still be able to be stowed safely.
What is your latest innovation in this field?
Our latest innovations, which will be on display on our booth at NBAA 2015 (to be held on November 17-19, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) are a slimmer pedestal, a carpet pinch beauty ring, an override mechanism, plastic plated parts, an oval shroud and a two-stage electric pedestal with Bluetooth operation. Most of these innovations were developed in response to customer requests, but some are the result of MSB’s investment in features that we believe customers will want.
Who are your customers and how much customization do you offer?
Our table customers are VIP centers and OEMs. The level of customization we offer is indicated by the quantity of designs mentioned above, but we are ready and capable of taking on any table requirement. Whether it is a small fixed-height table, a large multi-leg hi-lo dining table or a low-stow electric table with powered folding leaves and extensions, we will work with the customers to deliver in line with their needs.
Do other industries offer clues as to what aesthetics and functionalities VIPs would like tables to offer?
The luxury car and yacht industries provide indicators of where table designs might evolve. Cell phone and tablet apps will also drive what users want in terms of table operation. We like to stay close to interior designers to see where aesthetic expectations are heading, to ensure we can provide a product that fits future design styles.
What else will you present at NBAA 2015?
In addition to our tables, we will launch our latest glass rack design at our booth. We will also show a china, crystal and flatware (CCF) insert sample, made for installation in an Atlas container.
We will also have samples of composite parts that we both manufacture as build to print and design and build. These include an iPhone charging station and magazine racks.