VRR unveils first inflatable AKE container

Published: Sunday, March 8, 2020

The world’s first inflatable AKE was officially displayed by VRR. The Air7was supposed to be unveiled at the annual World Cargo Symposium, but due to the event’s postponement, will be now showcased at a later date.

“Current methods of relocating ULDs are expensive and time consuming,” explains Geert van Riemsdijk, managing director of VRR. “But a container that can be collapsed quickly and easily and then stacked seven high on a lower deck is a game changer for fleet managers. That’s really going to help to cut costs and increase capacity. And then we have not even discussed the cost saving when it comes to storage of the containers”.

The prototype won the interDESIGN excellence award at the 2019 World Cargo Symposium in Singapore, but since then improvments have been made to the AKE. The Air7has several improvements over the prototype. It has a lower folding height, hence its ability to be stacked seven high on a lower deck. Significant other improvements have also been carried out to make it weatherproof, ready for series production and ready for certification.

The Air7is inflated within seconds, automatically taking shape with just air pressure. It then takes two people just two minutes to collapse. The ease of construction has not sacrificed the robustness, strength or safety of the structure.

VRR is also working on incorporating other features such as a fire-resistant and thermal cover. These will make the Air7 either a fire-safe or an insulated container, which will be able to transport dedicated cargo. Ben Lakerveld, sales manager at VRR says: “We’re exploring these options since specialised cargo, like perishables and lithium batteries, are mostly transported on imbalanced routes with one-way direction freight. The collapsible feature of the Air7 would definitely benefit specialised freight carriers.”