Aircraft painting has always been a special field, requiring tough paints that can take the punishment that wildly varying temperatures, chemicals and physical treatment inflict on aircraft, yet can be applied quickly and economically. A handful of firms have specialized in aircraft paints, and they are always improving their products.
The big change in recent years has been the base-coat, clear-coat system, which speeds up application of, especially, multi-colored liveries and usually lasts longer than traditional painting. BC-CC is gaining ground and is favored by many of the low-cost start-ups that use vivid, multi-colored liveries to establish their brands.
Mankiewicz, which originated the BC-CC system for aircraft exteriors, is now offering a novel treatment for cabin interiors.
The firm has developed an antimicrobial interior paint that reduces bacterial growth, thus lowering costs of disinfection and reducing the frequency of cleaning. The new paint meets all the fire, smoke and toxicity requirements of aviation and comes in many colors and shades. Airbus and Boeing are already using the antimicrobial paint for lavatories in some models.
Andreas Ossenkopf, Mankiewicz director of aviation, thinks it could also be used for other parts of aircraft interiors such as meal trays.
Sherwin-Williams, which has long supplied paints for demanding corporate aircraft, recently introduced a new JCX line of paints designed specifically for commercial airlines. The firm is also interested in improving cabin-interior paints. It has a new line, JetFlex Elite, that can have flecks of mica in it. The mica flecks give a sparkling surface to first-class cabins when lit by the new, multi-color LED lights, notes Aerospace Sales Director Chip Mullins.