Aerospace is a critical industry on a global scale but it’s also one of the most pollution-heavy. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions it produces around 2% of all human-induced CO2 emissions. There has been global pressure for every industry to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, especially the aerospace industry as a result of these challenging figures. So how does cable management have the potential to affect this?
Green goals for the aerospace industry
Responding to pressure to make the sector as a whole greener and more responsible, new regulations on noise and fuel emissions have become a common theme. More energy efficient planes will reduce the negative impact on the environment and also help to increase margins for a sector that has been heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Improving fuel efficiency is one way to achieve this and considering that fuel accounts for around a third of the industry’s operating costs there is a significant financial incentive for the sector too. Biofuels are likely to make a big difference to this – and so could cable management.
Cable management and aerospace – a greener future
One of the simplest ways to increase the fuel efficiency of a plane is to reduce the drag, as it’s this that increases the amount of fuel required for each journey. Cable management offers a simple solution to this, especially as planes are full of wiring (e.g. the double decker Airbus A380 contains 320 miles of wiring). Plane wiring controls all essential functions, from the emergency lighting to the inflight entertainment, communication and power. Each of these wires comes with its own set of connectors and other vital pieces of equipment that help to keep the plane running. Given that a plane’s wiring accounts for around 3% of its weight, a more innovative approach to cable management could contribute significantly to reducing weight, which will reduce drag, which will increase fuel efficiency.
Cable management – the way forward
Lighter wires and cables are going to be essential for the future of cable management and will provide the aerospace industry with an effective way to help reduce the weight of each plane – as well as its environmental impact. There is a lot of research and development currently taking place around this, including carbon nanotube technology, which can replace copper wire in wiring harnesses and motor windings, helping to reduce the overall weight of the plane. Innovation such as carbon nanotube technology used to be incredibly expensive and so was not a realistic option for widespread use. However, recently this has begun to change and over the next five years carbon nanotube technology should only command a price premium of 20-30%.
Cable management has a lot of potential to impact the aerospace industry when it comes to green goals and a more environmentally sound future. Given the central importance of cables to all designs of planes, innovation in this field could make it much easier for the industry to meet its targets.