firefighter extinguishes a fire

Case

Smaller, lighter, cleaner firefighter

A minuscule world first custom fit halon-free extinguisher for aircraft everybody said could not be delivered in time. Until umlaut, the new kid on the block, did.

Defying the odds. And beating them.

Back in November 2014, aerospace OEMs were scrambling to find an eco-friendlier fire extinguisher to equip their planes with.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had just determined that new aircraft be equipped with -free fire extinguishers as of December 31, 2016, in response to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

But, with time already running out, manufacturers were in fact asking for more than just a Halon-free extinguisher as demanded by forthcoming regulations. It was also to be smaller and lighter, reducing operational costs, and at the same to be more flexible to install than any other alternative in the market.

An extinguisher meeting these criteria was nowhere to be found. And all the established players in the market said it could not be done.

Enter umlaut. A new kid on the block, by all means. But established in the market and renowned for its out-of-the-box technological thinking, innovative solutions and a never say die attitude towards extreme challenges. Its engineering division had already been a Tier 1 aerospace supplier and a risk share partner for cabin product developments for many years.

Undeterred from common opinion that everyone was demanding the impossible, umlaut set up a partnership with extinguishing experts FIREMARK and manufacturers ANAFGROUP, with umlaut adding their own aviation qualification and integration expertise on top to round off the set up.

With no burdening past as extinguisher manufacturers, no production lines to fill and without ideological blinkers, umlaut and co. went about their business finding the very best solution, eventually defying the odds and proving mission possible: the HAFEX was born. The smallest, lightest and most flexible, eco-friendly fire extinguisher, a red-hot future-proof solution for the aviation industry, that would significantly help airlines reduce costs for the obligatory introduction of halon-free fire extinguishers.

In proactively dealing with this sensitive issue, umlaut was well ahead of schedule. The ICAO and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) both eventually re-set the deadline for the transition to eco-friendly fire extinguishers from 2016 to mid 2019, with all remaining aircraft required to retrofit by 2025.

umlaut was the only supplier to succeed in meeting the original deadline. And in 2017, umlaut was recognized with the Airbus Innovation Award in the category „Systems & Equipment, Cabin and Propulsion” for the development of the HAFEX.

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