Formula 1-inspired aircraft seat maker Mirus snaps up $100m contract with Air Asia
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
A pioneering aircraft seat manufacturer has secured a $100m contract with Air Asia to kick-start production of its Formula 1-inspired seats.
Hingham-based Mirus will launch production in August, with the first of more than 50,000 seats being delivered to the budget airline's city-hopping aircraft in September.
For Mirus, which received a £360,000 New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership grant in December, it signals the start of what chief executive Phil Hall said was 'long overdue shake-up' of the industry.
Mr Hall, who previously worked as a design engineer in Formula 1, said: 'Our customer base is long overdue a bit of a shake-up.
'All the comments have been really positive. People are crying out for change.'
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Mirus, launched early last year, combines Formula 1 engineering with automotive industry processes to create a lightweight seat which cuts fuel costs and efficiency, according to Mr Halls,
And at full capacity, its newly-renovated factory, in Ironside Way, on the site previously occupied by the Caterham Technology and Innovation factory which closed in November 2014, is designed to produce a set of three seats every 15 minutes using computer-aided engineering.
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'We applied some of my knowledge of Formula 1 to a different industry and product,' said Mr Hall.
'It gained momentum but we knew we needed to offer more. So we brought in the other arm which is the automotive production side.'
Mr Hall said 80pc of its components were being manufactured in the UK, and added local support had been 'second to none'.
And he said the firm's first seat - the Hawk - which is designed for shorter flights, was likely to be the first of many, with plans to branch into seats designed for longer journeys. They are between 20pc and 40pc lighter than existing seats.
'It's a conservative industry,' he added. 'Safety regulations mean it has to have a degree of caution, but we can really bring a great deal of positive change to the industry.'
Mirus currently employs 23 people, and will be recruiting between 15 to 20 people in the run up to the launch of production. At capacity, Mr Halls said the factory would employ between 100 and 120 people.
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