Marsh Brothers Aviation has inked a four-year deal with Aviation Fabricators (AvFab) to supply seat actuator valves after helping them resolve a supply chain issue.

In a development that affirms the growing reputation of Marsh Brothers Aviation as a provider of innovative engineered solutions utilizing proprietary polymers, AvFab has commissioned the Burlington-based company to supply a bespoke seat actuator valve to support AvFab’s maintenance, repair and overhaul of private and commercial aircraft seats.

The valve is integral to the smooth movement backwards and forwards of these seats when moving between upright and reclining positions.

However, as Nicholas Choo-Son, Director, Business Development for Marsh Brothers Aviation, explains, the complete redesign of the actuator valve was not the original intention during the initial discussions.

“AvFab approached us due to problems with its usual supply line and asked if we could quickly manufacture the component. We took one apart and found that the OEM part was overly complicated and would bring unnecessary risk to its supply chain and manufacturing operations.

“Drawing on our engineering strengths and materials science expertise we proposed a redesign. A new, simpler, and unique valve design was found to better meet the customer’s integration and functionality requirements, while mitigating against any future manufacturing risks.”

The new valve is manufactured using Marsh Brothers’ proprietary AeroLas™-White polymer material, selected for its elastomeric characteristics, high abrasion resistance, and resistance to shock loading and vibration.

The resilience of the material supports long-term use in demanding environments, says Choo-Son. He adds that the new valve leverages the key qualities of the existing device while providing significant improvements.

“We redesigned a key component within the actuator. It’s a replacement valve that meets the original seat recline actuator’s fit, form, and functional requirement. This project highlights our ability to quickly respond to market demand for innovative engineered solutions,” he says.

“In developing an alternative valve manufactured of durable engineered polymer material, Marsh Brothers Aviation solved a real issue for AvFab,” says AvFab VP of Operations, Hayden Lowe.

The new valve design had to meet strict quality standards, including the ability to withstand the regular overhaul processes that seat actuators undergo at AvFab.

Due to the success of the project, Marsh Brothers has now secured a multi-year purchase order (PO) for 3,200 valves over the next 48 months.

Choo-Son remarks: “As a manufacturer with a long history in polymer and materials design and engineering we constantly strive to develop new, innovative solutions. Engineering teams from both companies developed a close working relationship, and we are confident of future collaborations.”

AvFab has supplied interior refurbishment products as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul services on actuators and cabin equipment for corporate and general aviation use since 1980. The company has more than 150 unique Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) products and Foreign Approvals for its products, many of which are offered as optional equipment by aircraft manufacturers on their new production aircraft.

Marsh Brothers’ AeroLas™-White polymer material installed in seat actuator valves

About Marsh Brothers Aviation

Marsh Brothers, a Thomson-Gordon Group company, designs, engineers and manufactures proprietary self-lubricating and grease-free polymer technologies to improve the performance, reliability and service costs for aircraft owners, manufacturers and maintainers. Marsh Brothers’ polymers replace traditional metal bearings, seals and washers reducing component weight by over 80% in comparison. Less weight equals more fuel savings. Typical application includes landing gear pneumatic struts (bearings, dynamic seals and piston wipers), landing gear structures (link bushings), hydraulic actuators (seals, glands, piston rod wipers), flight controls (hinge bushings, rollers), passenger and cargo door hinge bushings and rollers.