Northwest Aerospace News August | September Issue No. 4 | Page 51

CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SPOTLIGHT A ccording to Del Pinto, things have been changing for a long time. He said that the emphasis in mechanical engi- neering in the 1960s was on the use of aluminum, titanium or metal. He said that now people are using composite materials more than elemental materials in aircraft production. That concept has created better efficiencies. He said, “On a plane everything needs to communicate together, yet none of the systems are working together yet. All sup- pliers are using different systems; nothing is communicating. Everyone should be using the same equipment and relays.” He added that universities will need to react by changing their training programs more rapidly than in the past. “The basic understanding of composites has to be expanded in the universities. Students will need to understand how this works with different materials to gain efficiencies. Knowing polymers, resins and carbon materials … and an understanding of thermoplastics and thermosets are being expanded in schools,” Del Pinto said. He added that changing materials in aircraft design and manufacturing is immediate and critical, “Materials science is becom- ing more important.” At Zodiac Aerospace, they make AeroSystems, cabin systems, seats and related services and they engage with the educational community, through contracts with groups like JCATI, or recently with the Air Force Academy and Brigham Young University to look at the human factor in overhead bins on aircraft. To understand Del Pinto’s approach, it’s helpful to know that he is educated with a Master’s degree in Organic Chemistry, Master’s in Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Thermodynamics. He asks, how could the brackets hold- ing the overhead bins be more organ- ic? “It seems that things should have a naturally occurring shape,” he said when talking about a more efficient and functional bin. For anyone who has tried to cram a too-big carry-on into the hard plastic bins, it seems that some inno