Boeing engineer: Plastics to play key role in improved aircraft interiors

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 1, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Thermoforming, Design

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (Oct. 1, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Commercial airline passengers will be in for a treat when they fly, as Boeing engineer Jim Griffing described sleek plane interiors with smooth, rounded lines and mellow lighting, speaking at the SPE Thermoforming Conference.

He showed images of the designs for a cabin of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, sporting larger overhead storage bins and smooth, curving lines outlined with sleek lighting.

Thermoforming already plays a major role in sidewall panels and other parts, said Griffing, a 25-year Boeing veteran. One of his first projects at there was to analyze thermoformed parts for meeting fire requirements.

Boeing has one thermoforming machine to make spare parts, and outsources the rest, he said.

Griffing is the current president of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Boeing wants to improve the flying experience—and not just with more overhead storage space, to speed passenger loading and unloading. Passengers will notice right when they enter the plane. Right now, you have to squeeze past the crowded food and beverage area. But on new planes, the service counter will be set apart, in a restaurant-style island.

Griffing said that lighting will change dramatically. The trend, he said, is to use lighter, white surface colors on the ceiling, and use blue lights, or other colors to set the mood overhead. The effects can be changed on long flights to offset jet lag, he said.

“Our designers are really driving toward that white-white color,” he said.

Airline designers would love to have translucent ceilings and luggage compartments, he said, but added that the materials will have to meet fire and heat release standards. Griffing said some suppliers are working on that application.

Another wish-list feature for airline interiors: sidewall panels that incorporate the sound-deadening insulation right inside the panel. Currently, the installation is installed first, covering wiring, then the thermoformed panel goes on top. That makes it hard to get access to the wiring for maintenance and to fix problems, often requiring crews to remove seats, he said.

“We’d love to be able to snap these in and out,” Griffing said.

He said first-class seats are a good opportunity for thermoforming, since airlines design special marketing there. Thermoforming also plays a key role in flight deck components, a critical area but one with low volumes. Griffing called flight decks “a great opportunity for thermoforming.”


Comments

Boeing engineer: Plastics to play key role in improved aircraft interiors

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 1, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Oxford Polymers adds compounding capacity

January 30, 2015 1:16 pm ET

Materials maker Oxford Polymers has increased its compounding capacity by installing a new single-screw extrusion line.    More

Image

Marval's next generation expands capacity

January 30, 2015 1:27 pm ET

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — There’s a lot of history at Marval Industries Inc., but the 59-year-old compounding firm also is looking toward the...    More

Image

Lubrizol buys Brazil-based coatings technology manufacturer

January 30, 2015 11:50 am ET

Specialty chemicals company Lubrizol Corp. of Wickliffe, Ohio, said it has acquired a Brazilian company that makes coatings technology for products...    More

Image

2014 sees modest sales increase, but profit decrease, for Dow Chemical

January 29, 2015 4:20 pm ET

UPDATED — Dow Chemical Co. delivered modest sales growth in 2014, but the firm's profit took a tumble.    More

Image

Resin prices continuing to tumble

January 29, 2015 2:24 pm ET

The ongoing slide in crude oil prices is taking commodity resin prices down as well.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events