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Airbus and French organisation develop “smart” work wear

Some Airbus employees may soon have a new high-tech line of clothes for work.

25 July 2013 Feature story

A specialised “smart” outfit has been developed for Airbus quality inspectors on the A330 final assembly line in Toulouse, France, resulting from the Airbus Innovation Cell project in partnership with the French clothing industry organisation – the Institut Francais du Textile et de l’Habillement (IFTH).

The blue-coloured jacket and pants are specifically designed with fabrics that allow for ease of movement, and also include knee and shoulder protection. In addition, the jacket contains USB ports, a camera, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a smartphone, a light, and a heated back support. 

“The work wear provides innovative functionality,” said Quality Operational Manager Christophe Rives.  “Working conditions can be restrictive, and we spend time in confined spaces, so our main criteria for the work wear were: safety, efficiency and comfort.”

An osteophone – which transmits voice calls through vibrations in facial bones and provides quality reception in areas with loud background noise – also is part of the uniform. 

The latest prototypes of this “smart” clothing are scheduled to be presented for approval to the A330 final assembly line committee in September, before production starts on the final design early next year. 

“We chose ‘smart’ clothes to bring fast, tangible improvements,” said Alain Fontaine, who led the project. “IFTH worked with sports textile manufacturers to let us try out new comfortable, breathable materials and we wanted the work wear to be attractive, so employees feel proud to wear it.”

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