GE Plastics Offers Advanced Material Solutions for Aircraft Interiors to Meet Stringent Industry Standards and Reduce Weight

HAMBURG, GERMANY - Apr. 4, 2006 - GE Plastics is showcasing its latest product innovations for the aircraft interiors industry here at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in hall 6, stand B11, Apr. 4 - 6, 2006. These high-performance engineering resin and sheet materials have been designed to help aircraft OEMs in the development of next-generation aircraft interior components. Beyond interiors, GE Plastics also offers an impressive portfolio of advanced thermoplastic materials that deliver cutting-edge performance for critical applications ranging from structural components, passenger window and seat assemblies, lighting, and wiring components. These products are also being featured here.

The increasing use of GE's thermoplastic resin and sheet materials in the aircraft industry is being driven largely by the fact that these products are excellent candidates to help the aircraft OEMs meet key challenges of weight reduction; resistance to impact and chemicals; high heat performance; flame retardancy; superior smoke and toxicity properties vs. competitive materials; and overall outstanding performance. Supported by the exceptional depth and breadth of its renowned global research and development organization, GE Plastics is able to offer highly specialized materials with an excellent combination of properties required by different interior, exterior, mechanical, and systems components.

Here at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, GE is displaying several applications featuring Ultem* polyetherimide (PEI) resin, a work-horse material known for its profile of high-performance properties, including inherent flame resistance with low smoke emission, exceptional strength, and outstanding chemical resistance. This GE resin is already widely used in a broad range of aircraft interior applications, such as personal service units, retractable video displays, window trim, and air valve panels. Applications featuring Ultem resin on display in the GE booth include a passenger service unit, a gasper air valve panel, an air nozzle assembly, and window trim.

Additionally, GE Plastics offers extruded Ultem PEI sheet, which provides design flexibility, outstanding mechanical properties, and excellent flame, smoke, and toxicity performance. Ultem 1668A sheet, a material also on display at GE's booth, can be thermoformed, pressure-formed, twin-sheet formed, or used in flat or cold-formed applications. In aircraft interiors, this material is used to mold aircraft window reveals, air ducts, seating and flight deck components, galleys, stow bins, and sidewalls. Ultem 1668A sheet meets commercial aircraft interior requirements, including FAA smoke and flammability testing and toxicity standards BSS7239 and ABD0031, and has an OSU heat-release rate below 65/65. This material is paintable and is now available in a low-gloss version called Ultem 1668L sheet.

From an aesthetic standpoint, GE's Ultem 1668L sheet provides color consistency across a range of gauges and may enable elimination of painting for cost reduction and faster cycle times. The material is easy to clean and resists chemicals found in cleaning products. Ultem 1668L sheet is an excellent candidate for aircraft seating applications.

In addition to showcasing its existing high-performance product portfolio, GE Plastics is previewing a new material for aircraft interiors based on AZDEL's thermoplastic composite technology and GE's Ultem resin. Called AZDEL* Aero-Lite* composite, this advanced materials technology is comprised of long glass fibers that enable the creation of extremely sturdy components with approximately half of the specific gravity of alternative materials used in interiors like aluminum or GRP/FRP (glass reinforced plastics/fiber reinforced plastics).

AZDEL Aero-Lite composite is a thermoformable, lightweight composite that is an excellent candidate for large, semi-structural interior panels such as window masks, ceiling and side-ceiling panels, seat backs, armrests, tray tables, luggage racks, partitions, and other interior trim components. Because of its low weight and excellent flame, smoke, and toxicity performance, the composite is an excellent potential replacement for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyester, vinyl ester, phenolic FRPs or GRPs, high pressure laminates, and aluminum type materials traditionally used in interiors.

Another popular GE material for aircraft interiors is Lexan* polycarbonate (PC) sheet. An extremely durable material based on GE's tough, virtually unbreakable Lexan resin, this GE sheet product offers unmatched impact strength, outstanding dimensional stability, excellent aesthetics, and high stiffness for a range of interior applications. GE's Lexan F6000 sheet, which is being featured at the expo, is very durable yet easily formed into complex shapes using standard thermoforming equipment. This material also provides high impact resistance and high heat performance, and is available in custom colors. GE's Lexan F6000 sheet applications that are being shown at the Aircraft Interiors Expo include several seat cladding parts, an airline literature rack, a window track and reveal, and an emergency door light fairing.

GE has invested several years in researching and developing resins and compounds suitable for conversion into high-performance fibers. When converted into fibers for textiles and non-wovens, GE's Ultem and Valox* resins offer suppliers and OEMs new solutions for critical issues such as compliance with stricter flame, smoke, and toxicity regulations, improved cabin air quality and comfort, system cost reduction, and greater design flexibility. For aircraft interiors, these GE materials offer new approaches to compliance with regulations on flame, smoke, and toxicity, including environmental mandates for flame retardants that eliminate the use of brominated additives. These regulations have become increasingly strict following the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111, which was attributed to a cabin fire caused by faulty wiring.

About GE Plastics

GE Plastics is a global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building & construction, telecommunications, and optical media applications. The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP* line of high-performance specialty compounds. GE Plastics, Specialty Film & Sheet manufactures high-performance Lexan* sheet and film products used in thousands of demanding applications worldwide. In addition, GE Plastics' dedicated Automotive organization is an experienced, world-wide competitor, offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments: body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component; structures and interiors; and lighting. As a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games, GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of innovative products and services that are integral to a successful Games.

* Ultem, Lexan, Valox, and LNP are trademarks of General Electric Company.
* AZDEL and Aero-Lite are registered trademarks of Azdel Inc., a 50/50 joint venture of General Electric Company and PPG Industries.

Specialty Film & Sheet
Banu Kukner
GE Plastics, Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 164 291 605

Helen Vandebovenkamp
GE Plastics, Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 164 29 2097

The Americas
Christopher Tessier
GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass.
Tel: +1-413-448-6926

Cecilia Siu
GE Plastics, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 3222 4500 Ext. 216

Agency Contacts
Folke Markus
Marketing Solutions, Bergen op Zoom,
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 164 317 038

The Americas
Jim Allison
AH&M Marketing Communications,
Pittsfield, Mass.
Tel: +1-413-448-2260, Ext. 25

William Li
Ketchum Newscan, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 5289 5838 Ext. 105

Mitsu Sugino
Tokyo PR Inc., Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81 3-3273-2731

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