When we began to develop our line of Fire-Resistant Containers back in 2017, it was apparent that many unknown factors remained surrounding the life cycle of an FRC. These uncertainties ranged from design variables to testing parameters and performance in daily operations, as well as repair ratios and methods.
Still, it was apparent that any FRC would be subject to the same abuse in daily operations as standard containers. Hence we based the design of our FRC on the well proven S-series design platform, ensuring a robust base to start from, while also allowing commonality between spare parts. An additional benefit of this solution is the option to retrofit existing ULDs to FRCs, enabling a major safety increase with minimal investment.
The value of durability
Staying as close as possible to standard ULDs to keep the total cost of ownership optimized, while ensuring the compatibility of repair processes to industry standard methods, we chose to use high performance aluminum for our panels. This lightweight material is robust and, unlike more exotic composites, not susceptible to degradation by sunlight.
Keeping the cost of panel repairs to a minimum is critical when maintaining the airworthiness of FRCs, as fewer damages are allowed on FRCs due to their added function of fire containment. Repairs will therefore necessarily be more frequent, and a significant part of the ULD’s operating cost.
Our design efforts initially focused on the weakest link in the chain of fire resistance performance — the container’s door. Standard canvas ULD doors are made from the same PVC-coated polyester fabric as is used for truck tarpaulins. These are heavy-duty and commonly available, but not at all resistant to fire.
We spent over a year developing an alternative door material. The result was an ultra-high-performance, fire-resistant fabric, coated in the highest-grade silicone compound. It is highly flexible, lightweight, and stronger than standard door fabric. It is also completely UV stable and, as wear and tear will always occur during the ULD lifetime, conveniently repairable using industry standard methods, which fully restore the original performance of the fabric.
The performance of the individual components, as well as the combination of them in a Fire-Resistant Container, has been tested and approved by independent external laboratories.
Quality inspires confidence
The sum total of these design decisions and innovations has made our line of AviusULD FRC products possible. This series of containers is so dependable, and of such high quality, that multiple airlines have already replaced their entire ULD fleet with AviusULD FRCs, providing an extra layer of safety for everyone onboard.
Such proactive measures are noticed and appreciated, particularly by staff, who see safe, high-quality products as a sign that they and the passengers they serve are truly valued. Beyond the tangible benefits of well-designed FRCs, therefore, is the very real cultural impact that comes from an investment in organizational excellence.
If you’d like to learn more about the award-winning AviusULD FRC, and how we can improve the safety of your cabin cargo, visit https://www.aviusuld.com/fire-resistant-containers/