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Aircraft Painting Getting Better In Interiors Too

Soft leather feel, flexible finishes to exploit LED lighting.

Aircraft liveries are getting snappier, with multiple colors, sparkling mica highlights and base-coat, clear-coat systems preserving good looks longer. But there is also a quiet revolution going on in paints for the interiors that passengers actually look at for long periods.

Suede- and other leather-like surfaces are now possible with paint. Painting manufacturers are enabling snazzy interior looks for premium cabins. And paints are being re-designed to make the most out of LED lighting.

Sherwin Williams will launch two new interior coatings in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to sales director Chip Mullins.

The first, JetFlex Elite, is like the firm’s JetFlex coating but includes a mica additive for special treatment in areas around first-class seating and window trims. The Elite paint will be offered in almost all the colors of the current JetFlex line, except a few in which mica effects are ineffective.

The second new product, Jet Suede, gives a soft, suede-leather-like feel to areas such as armrests, cockpit dashboards and steering yokes. It can be used as an alternative to much more expensive materials. Jet Suede comes in a more limited traditional range of colors.

Also new from Sherwin is a sanding primer for composites, both in interiors and on exteriors. It can be heavily applied to hide the weave of composites, after which it is sanded smooth.

For repairs of both interior and exterior paints, Sherwin will soon introduce a convenient aircraft touch-up pen, with both paint and catalyst inside. The new Jet Pen has a spring-loaded valve and brush or felt tip to do quick touch-ups of coatings for perfect matches.

Cabin interiors do not always have to be glossy, argues Andreas Ossenkopf at Mankiewicz. The correct surface is especially important as LED lighting increases. If paint is too glossy, LED spots will be visible. If surfaces are too flat, LED light will be absorbed.

So Mankiewicz has developed a new generation of self-texturing coatings, ALEXIT SelfTex. Applied with spray guns, these coatings produce textured, homogenous surfaces that always look consistent, regardless of the equipment used and the operator’s technique. Single-coat surfaces are scratch-resistant and repairs are easy and almost invisible. And, like Sherwin, Mankiewicz has developed touch-up kits and repair procedures to do fast and invisible fixes.

AkzoNobel has also developed INTURA, a single-component waterborne premium interior cabin coating that matches the performance of solvent-based systems, according to John Griffin, global aerospace director. INTURA is highly fire- and stain-resistant, can simulate wood grain or metallic finishes and has touch characteristics such as a soft feel.

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