• Enabling the FALCON 6X certification trials, achieved in partnership with Dassault, a veritable technological triumph and a world first.
  • Industrial production planned for Michelin’s facility in Bourges Saint-Doulchard, in the heart of one of France’s most dynamic aeronautical and defense ecosystems.
  • To fuel its growth, AirCaptif envisages doubling its production capacity starting in 2023 and the hiring of new talent.

Michelin’s start-up AirCaptif, a specialist in ultralight, inflatable structures, pursues its growth projection and today, in partnership with Dassault, unveils its latest brain-child - a world first. As part of its growth plan, the company announces Michelin’s facility in Bourges Saint-Doulchard as the center for the industrial production of this novel technology. In addition, the company plans to double its activity on the site starting in 2023 and to invest in the recruitment of new talent.

A revolutionary device, born out of the collaboration between Michelin and Dassault Aviation, to facilitate the certification trials for the FALCON 6X aircraft range

Prior to being commissioned, such aircraft are required to perform extremely demanding certification trials. One of the tests checks the reliability of the aircraft cabin’s lightning resistance. This test, the HIRF for High Intensity Radiated Field, is mandatory for the plane to be compliant with the electromagnetic standards from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In these certification trials for such aircraft, Dassault verifies the resistance of critical systems (flight commands and calculations) to electromagnetic interference. Whereas the classic trial method requires two weeks of tests for the FALCON 6X, the revolutionary technology developed by AirCaptif reduces this time to just 3 days at a much reduced cost.

The innovation comprises three elements - a huge 8 meter-high inflatable Faraday cage with a 900 sq. meter footprint, an inflatable mechanical mixer placed alongside the aircraft to mix the electromagnetic waves, and a system of inflatable coaxial insulation to provide an earth connection for the lightning strike.

The AirCaptif technology has several advantages. With its super light structure, being easily transportable and capable of being installed directly in the aircraft’s assembly hangar, investment costs and trial time are significantly reduced. The speed of installation is a real plus.

Whereas it takes 2 years to build a conventional Faraday cage, this novel solution is operational in a single day.

AirCaptif’s solutions soon to be in industrial-scale production in Michelin’s facility in Bourges, in the center of France

Future developments for the Trappes-based company involve enlarging the Bourges facility and starting industrial production early in 2024. The choice of Michelin’s emblematic aeronautic site, celebrating 70 years of pioneering activity in the sector, will enable AirCaptif to take full advantage of the region’s dynamic aeronautic and defense ecosystem and continue the Group’s extensive industrial experience.

In addition, the geographic location of Bourges, situated midway between the technical teams in Trappes and Michelin’s R&D facility in Clermont-Ferrand, will further strengthen the existing synergies.

With its considerable know-how in aeronautic construction, coupled with experience in the medical and event planning sectors, AirCaptif is able to propose solutions in a whole panoply of areas.

To fuel its growth, AirCaptif envisages doubling its production capacity starting in 2023 and the hiring of new talent

As part of its expansion, AirCaptif is budgeting to double its turnover starting in 2023 and to hire some thirty skilled professionals in France’s Yvelines ‘département’, to the west of Paris.

The expansion of AirCaptif’s activities shows that Michelin opens up new opportunities for highly-skilled labor. The company is currently hiring for its existing facility in Trappes and its future extension in Elancourt, planned to be operational in January 2023. Such complex activities require highly-skilled people with very specific know-how - industrial seaming, machine operation, plastic cutting and welding.

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