Technavio predicts the global commercial aircraft window and windshield market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3% for the next three years. Advancements include lighting for temperature control, air-conditioning and heating in addition to just blocking UV rays. Here are some current and newly debuted window and transparency products and repair services on the market.
1. Sliding Windows
Company: PPG Aerospace
Specifications: PPG Aerospace introduced redesigned sliding cockpit windows for the Airbus A320 family in 2015, which include a simplified clamp design for windows to allow the frame retainer and window panel to be installed as a complete assembly. Undamaged PPG frame retainers can be reused when window panels need to be replaced. The cockpit windows have been redesigned to include stainless-steel Z-retainers and proprietary PR-2060 polyurethane sealant to defend against moisture ingress and delamination. Introduced in 2010, the sliding window includes similar technologies and materials to those used on the main windshields; the price remains the same. PPG delivered the first repaired aircraft to IndiGo, an India-based airline, in October. To date, there have been no reported age-related failures with the updated designs.
2. Controlling the Mood
Company: Fokker Services
Specifications: In October, Fokker Services, a business unit of GKN Aerospace, debuted the Electronically Dimmable Window System at MRO Europe in Amsterdam. The window transparency replaces the window shades and controls light, heat and noise that come through an aircraft. The technology was developed with Inspectech Aeroservice and Research Frontiers and is certified for single-aisle and widebody aircraft. Typical installations include wiring to power the dimming levels through the cabin management system. They can be conducted during multiple overnights or a heavy check. The cost is determined by the number of windows to be retrofitted and options available such as sensors to measure light intensity, mood-lighting systems and wider cabin upgrades to replace the interior panels and windows.
3. Coatings and Maintenance
Specifications: Nordam, an aerospace manufacturing and repair company, recently developed multiple coating technologies for passenger, cabin and emergency, door windows, including NORClear material, enhanced abrasion resistance and solar reflection. It also introduced a process to print various designs on passenger windows to enhance the views. For maintenance services, Nordam uses the “Diamond Mill” process to remove scratches and erosion from window surfaces and to add up to 25-50% more life to the windows. Current customers include Tier 1 suppliers, airlines and MROs such as Airbus, Embraer and Rockwell Collins.
4. Advertise and Interact with the Passenger
Company: Vision Systems
Specifications: In September, Vision Systems created a business unit dedicated to embedded multimedia systems. Smart-Info Window offers airlines a way to interact with passengers by displaying travel information, points of interest or stock indices on a touchscreen. Additionally, specific advertising can be addressed on the window to a particular passenger, who then can buy products directly from the advertisement or order snacks and drinks in flight. At the National Business Aviation Association convention in November, Vision Systems announced its Acti-Vision Window for business aviation. The electronically dimmable window includes suspended particle-device technology that changes the window from fully clear to a 99.9% light-blockage state instantly.