The Structural Benefits of Forging for Seating Products and Thin-Wall Investment Castings Using High Strength 17-4PH Alloy for Aircraft Seating

Aircraft Seating

Aircraft Seating

Passenger numbers on typical civil aircraft range between 120 for an Airbus A318 and up to almost 700 for an Airbus A380.

A typical aircraft seat can vary between 10 kg (economy) to over 20 kg (wide-body) in weight. With seat masses between 1200kg and 14000kg, it is apparent lighter seat designs are critical to an airline's commercial performance, particularly when fuel prices escalate.

Today, aircraft seat designers have a multitude of materials that can be selected to fulfil structural and aesthetic requirements, ranging from ferrous and nonferrous alloys. This range of materials can be supplied using various processes, such as forgings, castings, pressings, machined billet and extrusions.

The designer’s ultimate challenge is to design a seat that is lightweight, manufacturable and commercially viable and meets the mechanical strength requirements needed to pass stringent testing.

Investacast has over thirty-five years of experience in supplying the aircraft seating industry with precision high strength structural investment castings, forgings and pressure die castings.

Typically high strength 17-4PH grade stainless steel investment castings are utilised within the seat structure. Our precision casting technique can achieve extremely thin-walled castings down to 1.5mm locally, with a mechanical strength of > 1100 MPa, and with excellent ductility, this grade of steel is recognised as the most suitable alloy for demanding structural components of the seat.

Other seat components such as food tray arms and slides are typically manufactured by the closed die forging method in 7075T6 grade high strength aluminium. Investacast offer fully finished machined and anodised products for these aesthetically, mechanically demanding applications.

Pressure die casting products in Aluminium alloys such as A380 and A356 can also be utilised for both structural and aesthetically demanding areas of the seat such as armrest pivots and food tray arms. The ability to achieve tight tolerances and excellent surface finish and the repeatability of the process makes it an excellent choice for aircraft seating manufacturers.

With a network of global suppliers, Investacast can offer the best commercial solution to aircraft seating manufacturers.

If you would like further information about the content of this blog or to understand more about our casting capabilities, please contact Investacast +44 (0)1271 866200 or email