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Hands-free lavatory door aims to improve aircraft hygiene2nd of May 2012
A hands-free door for aeroplane toilets has been developed by a German company in a bid to improve on-board hygiene.
Diehl Aerosystems has designed an electrically-driven toilet door aimed at reducing the risk of bacterial contamination and improving passenger comfort.
The system can be used on bi-fold doors where the top corner slides back and forth within a rail. This design is used mostly on wide-body aircraft whereas narrow-body ‘planes tend to be equipped with lavatories with single-blade doors.
The electric motor, which is installed on the inside lavatory wall above the opening, drives the door via a tooth belt. The doors are operated via buttons situated both on the inside and outside of the lavatory wall, but these could be replaced by touch-free sensors in the future.
Aside from improved hygiene, Diehl claims the drive system will also reduce wear and tear since the mechanical components are strained more evenly than through manual operation. A certified version of the door should be available in early 2015, according to the company.
Diehl is one of a number of companies working on smart solutions for the aircraft washroom. US maintenance provider Timco Aviation Services has developed the FeatherWeight aircraft toilet which is said to be around 20 per cent lighter than standard equipment due to innovative materials and precision engineering.
And UK-based aircraft interior specialist MacCarthy can provide touch-free switches for the flushing mechanism, water taps and waste bins in the aeroplane washroom.