Transportation Transformation: Kiel North America delivers seats for double-decker makeover in DC
Fleet of pre-owned double-deckers get a chance at a new life in the nation’s capital; open-top buses equipped with pioneering Kiel plastic-injection molded seats
Kiel North America, a trendsetting seat provider to transit systems around the world, announced today that its pioneering seating solutions are being incorporated in an innovative retrofit project in the nation’s capital.
For this project, a fleet of six pre-owned Van Hool double-decker buses has been converted into open-top buses and enhanced with state-of-the-art seating technology by Kiel North America. Within an unusual short timeframe for transportation projects of only six weeks, Kiel delivered 210 extremely durable, weatherproof IDEO seats that are especially engineered to withstand the elements and brave UV-radiation with a color-resistant technology.
The seats’ ultra-light weight of only 26 pounds per double seat is made possible through a pioneering plastic injection molding process which gives the seats remarkable durability yet proves to be structurally light enough for an upper deck application. Also contributing to the seat’s great popularity among bus and rail applications across the world is its streamlined, lean back that leaves ample foot room while it's ergonomically designed back provides maximum comfort.
Retrofitting well-maintained vehicles is an increasingly attractive, cost-effective way to maximize the return on investment for transportation businesses across North America. The resourceful concept also is an important component of corporate as well as global sustainability as is helps to reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy used in the manufacturing process for new vehicles.
Since no CAD data existed for the buses, Kiel engineers applied a process called “reverse engineering” before they could start the design process for the project. Kiel’s resources and engineering teams in Germany and Poland and the company’s long-established relationships with Van Hool in the Netherlands were a tremendous asset and timesaver in fitting the seats onto the bus decks.
“We greatly enjoyed providing the full range of our values to this project, from the design process to engineering and manufacturing each seat,” says Thomas Schwank, General Manager of Kiel North America. “It has been immensely enjoyable to work with such an amazing team and experienced partners who have an in-depth understanding of how to give these vehicles a new life.”
Founded in 1945 in Nördlingen, Germany, Kiel is a leading manufacturer of innovative passenger seating systems for commercial vehicles and public transportation, including seating solutions for buses and trains on the local, regional, and intercity level. Kiel seats distinguish themselves with their high quality, sophisticated technology, and their contemporary design while meeting the highest requirements both in safety and passenger comfort. Kiel conducts business worldwide with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Turkey and dedicated sales teams in Greece, France, Austria, and the UK.
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