Revolutionizing Rail Travel: The Future of Lightweight Seating Solutions

Revolutionizing Rail Travel: The Future of Lightweight Seating Solutions

Meet Tanguy Choupin, Technical Leader in Low Carbon Mobilities at Expliseat with 10 years of experience in the industry. In this exclusive interview, he sheds light on the current state of passenger experiences in the railway industry, the challenges faced by rail operators, and the transformative potential of lightweight seating solutions.

According to Tanguy, the current seating solutions offer comfort with large seats, relaxed positions, footrests, and ample tray space. However, he notes a noticeable degradation in railway seat comfort over time, emphasizing the importance of plug and USB ports for charging devices, acknowledging the need for continuous improvement.

Weight’s Impact on Train Performance

The significance of seating weight varies with train type. While long-distance trains may not be significantly affected, for mass transit like metro and RER with frequent stops, weight becomes a critical factor. A 10% reduction in a metro’s weight translates to an impressive 7% decrease in electricity consumption. This emphasizes the pivotal role of weight optimization in enhancing both economic and environmental efficiency in mass transit systems.
Rail operators find themselves in a dilemma, aiming to increase train capacity for cost-effectiveness while passengers demand more comfort and amenities. This creates a challenge of balancing weight considerations with the need for an enhanced passenger experience.

Understanding Lightweight Seating Solutions

Tanguy defines lightweight seating solutions as those that can reduce seat weight by at least 30% without compromising comfort and affordability. Achieving this delicate balance is a significant challenge but holds the key to a more efficient and comfortable rail travel experience. The weight saved through these solutions can be reinvested in enhancing passenger comfort, incorporating features like thicker foam, induction chargers, and noise insulation, elevating the overall experience for travellers.
Expliseat’s key technology relies on carbon fibre composites, providing a unique solution that reduces weight without compromising mechanical strength. The specific resistance of carbon fibre composites, a crucial measure of resistance to density, is consistently 3 to 4 times higher (around 200) compared to aluminium and steel (approximately 600 to 800). This heightened resistance not only ensures durability but also leads to fewer part breaks. The increased durability significantly improves train availability and reduces maintenance costs when compared to competitors in the industry. Successfully addressing challenges related to meeting strict railway fire requirements at cost-effective rates is crucial for the widespread adoption of lightweight seating solutions in existing train infrastructure.
In the face of hurdles related to augmenting train capacity, enhancing passenger comfort, and integrating new technologies, lightweight seating solutions emerge as a swift and effective strategy for the railway industry.

Transforming Rail Travel Sustainably

Beyond weight reduction, lightweight seating solutions also play a vital role in addressing environmental concerns. As the rail industry looks to replace polluting diesel motors with batteries, the need for lightweight solutions becomes even more pronounced.
In an inspiring leap towards sustainability, Expliseat’s lightweight seating solutions not only enhance efficiency and boast innovative designs but also make a substantial contribution to the environmental well-being of the rail industry. The company’s commitment to operating within a circular economy framework is evident in its reuse of carbon fibre from aircraft seats to craft high-quality railway seating accessories. This forward-thinking and sustainable approach aligns seamlessly with the overarching industry objective of minimizing environmental impact. By conscientiously repurposing materials, Expliseat takes an active role in significantly reducing the carbon footprints associated with seat manufacturing, embodying a positive stride towards a greener and more eco-friendly future for rail travel.

As the modern rail industry faces challenges, lightweight seating solutions emerge as a pivotal solution for enhancing efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and ensuring a more enjoyable journey for passengers. The rail industry stands at the cusp of transformation, and lightweight seating solutions, with their innovative designs and efficiency gains, are set to play a central role in the journey towards a more sustainable and passenger-centric future.

Tanguy Choupin
Tanguy Choupin

After spending several years in the field of aeronautics as a composites materials engineer at Airbus Group and Hexcel, followed by a role in the railway industry as a project manager at SNCF, where he focused on pioneering projects related to composite materials, Tanguy CHOUPIN transitioned to Expliseat in 2023. Joining as a technical leader, he has been instrumental in driving the integration of cutting-edge lightweight seating solutions for advanced mobility applications.

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