Daher – Airfreight Container
Daher – Airfreight Container
DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM
Daher’s UK based teams specialising in Aerostructures & Systems were working with a major aerospace engine manufacturer to find a solution to replace an ageing fleet of containers used for transporting large aero engine parts around the world.
The existing fleet, made from plywood and steel is used to transport components by road from the UK to France and by Air-Freight all over the world. The conditions in which the containers are used lead to damage and decay as they are open to the elements and mechanical handling equipment. Hence, regular repairs and refurbishments are naturally an unwarranted ongoing cost. In addition, the total weight is an important issue to control due to the airfreight payload penalty.
With innovation at the core of its DNA, Daher was looking for a step-change in technology to create a more durable and universal solution for its client. They approached Brett Martin Daylight Systems in Coventry for a solution having seen a polycarbonate barrel vault on their website.
Using polycarbonate in a new context, this bespoke project achieved its key objectives through innovation. Firstly, a ‘lightweight solution with maximum strength and rigidity’ was achieved through using materials of the highest quality and specification.
Secondly, a ‘solution offering easy maintenance and repair’ was achieved by designing a system to take account of potential handling damage. The structure enabled standardized components to be replaced in the event of a repair being necessary.
Thirdly, a solution which showcased ‘visibility and security’ was developed through the integration of an access door with a 3mm Marlon FSX Longlife Clear panel in each unit. A double locking system was also devised to prevent the possibility of the door opening in transit.
Finally, ‘longevity’ was achieved through using a material with a lifespan in excess of 20 year’s UV protection. All in all, such a dynamic and flexible solution for freight containers can be easily adjusted for other applications around the world.
Following a site meeting and an exchange of ideas and specifications the Marvault AF, was proposed. Due to the requirement for portability, strength and rigidity the natural choice for the glazing was 4mm Marlon FSX Longlife Opal polycarbonate. An all-aluminium reinforced base frame and glazing bar structure was designed to mate with the custom built container base constructed by Daher. Two prototypes were built initially as proof of concept and the design standardized for subsequent production versions thereafter.
As the units required polycarbonate sheet longer than that available in small quantities it was necessary to devise a waterproof jointing system. This was accomplished by using a polycarbonate H section and MS-Polymer adhesives. Also, as the prototype custom-built base unit was being made in Derby and, at the same time, the Marvault was being constructed in Coventry, it was necessary to manufacture a special interface fixture to replicate the base unit. This enabled the Marvault to be assembled with two elements combining perfectly which in turn reduced prototype lead time.