When you get ready to sit and relax you don’t often consider the engineering that goes into the stools, benches and chairs that you land on. Even though you are not considering the design of the place where you sit your tired body, an entire industry is, in fact, concerned with your comfort and the durability of the seating options available in ever part of our lives.
Marine fabric suppliers, for example, are constantly working to produce fabric that is mold and stain resistant, while at the same time having the durability to last through years of harsh conditions. Engineers for new movie theaters concern themselves with the “pitch” of the seating as well as comfort. In fact, every aspect of seating, from the comfortable chair you land in after a long day’s work to the bench you share with three others on the wildest ride at your favorite amusement park, involves engineers who design the form and fabricators who create the material.
Imagine if you will someone deciding to recover their boat upholstery with a designer fabric from a local craft store. While the initial results might be beautiful, the life of that reupholstery job will be very short. Textile engineers, working with marine fabric suppliers, know that durability and waterproof finishes are far more important than design color and pattern. Industrial textile manufacturers and industrial textile solutions teams create, follow and improve industry standards for everything from mass transit seating solutions to fabrics that serve as a rain cover to playgrounds.
Once the marine fabric suppliers have done their best to provide a durable textile option, other engineers take over the process of seating design and comfort. In the movie theater industry, for instance, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) estimates that there are roughly 5,317 indoor movie theaters. Those movie theater seats are covered in fabrics designed by textile experts and they are designed and installed by engineers who have researched seating options that optimize customer comfort and viewing. Pitch is typically defined as the distance between one point on a seat and the same point on the seat behind. A typical seat pitch in coach class of most major airlines measures from 31 to 35 inches. This attention to detail of the pitch in the airlines, has to be taken several steps further when you need to also plan for stadium seating in movie theaters and lecture halls where engineers must mainly focus on customer viewing angles.
Adults ages 21 or older may be almost three times more likely to go to the movies than to bars/nightclubs once a month or more, and 33% of domestic business trips in 2012 may have included air travel compared to just 11% of leisure trips, but the bottom line for most of these movie goers and air travelers is the same: getting a comfortable seat!