Materials Science

SABIC showcases advanced thermoplastic materials and manufacturing processes at Aircraft Interiors Expo

The progression of ‘light weighting’ aircraft components is a vital enabler in allowing airlines globally to minimize costs and reduce maintenance and refurbishment cycles, while maintaining the highest levels of safety excellence, design flexibility and improved passenger experience. Advanced thermoplastic composites are an emerging solution for such applications. Widespread adoption of thermoplastic composites depends on new material technologies, upscaling of efficient production processes and expert application know-how. SABIC is focusing heavily in all three areas.

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, April 10-12, SABIC will highlight a number of innovative applications jointly developed with our customers, enabled by SABIC´s unique product offering of high-performance thermoplastic solutions. To help increase fuel efficiency, component longevity and aesthetic creativity while being fully compliant with stringent flame, smoke and OEM toxicity regulations. The thermoplastic offerings – comprising of resin, sheet, film, filament and foam compositions – are compatible with a range of processing techniques such as injection molding, thermoforming, additive manufacturing and composite manufacturing.

Latch covers for overhead stowage bins are required to protect latching mechanisms in order to ensure they can support the significant loading of passenger carry-on baggage and sustain repeated impact of baggage into the bin, as well as preventing excessive shifting of the baggage during flight. An innovative new latch cover, developed by Harper Engineering, a leader in engineering and manufacturing capabilities for the aerospace industry, has been shown to have oustanding toughness and excellent fire performance. These critical features are delivered through SABIC’s innovative ULTEM polyetherimide (PEI) resin, a key constituent of TenCate Cetex TC1000 Premium, the advanced thermoplastic composite from which the latch cover is made. In addition to durability and flame-retardant properties, ULTEM can contribute to significant weight reduction and a shorter production cycle.

SABIC is also exhibiting an application giving an outlook on what is possible when combining the latest manufacturing technologies and latest product developments such as a developmental filament material designed for fused deposition modeling. Offering improved performance versus other products on the market, the polycarbonate filament can be used in applications that comply with flame, smoke and toxicity compliant for use in demanding aerospace applications.

Additionally, SABIC will be highlighting its competency for hybrid composite manufacturing through the presentation of the latest seat backs and arm rests produced by this method. This automated manufacturing approach combines the processes of laminate forming and over-molding with thermo-composite material, saving significant production time in forming, assembling and bonding of laminates and thermo-composite plastics. The innovative process also enables considerable weight reduction by enabling replacement of metals with composite materials.

SABIC’s LEXAN LIGHT F6L300 sheet is the lightest thermoplastic sheet available. With a pioneering closed cell structure, it can be thermoformed into complex 3D parts with very thin walls – down to 0.6mm. Along with gravity of 0.85g/cm3, the LEXAN LIGHT F6L300 sheet can deliver weight savings of up to 40 percent when replacing traditional polyvinyl chloride and acrylic blend-based sheet products. Applications include seating parts, cockpit dashboard enclosures, cabin partitions, luggage compartments and passenger service units.

“SABIC has long been a forerunner in developing innovative material technologies and manufacturing processes to support the aircraft interiors industry”, said Florian Jung, Global Segment Leader, Mass Transportation at SABIC. “We are proud to present some of our most advanced and versatile offerings at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo – and delighted to be featuring our LEXAN LIGHT F6L300 which represents a leap forward in thermoplastics development.”

SABIC’s LEXAN LIGHT F6L306 sheet, used in an actual Cockpit Dashboard from AXYAL, its ULTEM resin, along with the company’s hybrid composite manufacturing solution, can be viewed at SABIC’s booth 6C100 in Hall B6 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from April 10-12, 2018. Harper Engineering can be found at booth 4UB41 in Hall B4 and AXYAL at booth 5E45 in Hall B5.