There are a number of factors driving the market for aerospace coatings. Airline mergers, the continuing development of lower VOC and environmentally friendly coatings and the quest for more increased efficiencies are some of the key drivers mentioned by aerospace coating manufacturers Coatings World interviewed.
As more and more airlines merge and rebrand their liveries, there is an increased need to repaint their fleets. “Airline mergers and changes in business models will continue to be core aerospace industry drivers,” said Vincent van der Laan, global marketing specialist, AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings. “As airlines review their costs and reorganize, often merging to give greater critical mass in which to face today’s challenges, this will create a demand for re-liveries and rebranding, which in turn leads to a demand for more coatings as fleets are repainted.”
“Airline mergers are particularly interesting to the aerospace coatings supply base as aircraft are usually repainted in one airline livery, or sometimes a brand new livery combining the markings of both merging airlines,” agreed Mark Cancilla, global platform director – Aerospace Coatings, PPG Aerospace. “This also provides an opportunity for aerospace coatings suppliers to offer new colors and effects as the airlines rebrand their identity.”
AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings reports that the aerospace industry is growing year on year. The company noted that the Asia Pacific region is leading growth.
“The developing markets in Asia Pacific are leading to a strong growth in demand from people who want to fly and this in turn leads to a demand for more aircraft,” said van der Laan. “Depending on whose forecast you take note of, there will be a demand for an additional 30,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years. A number of these will be replacements for older aircraft but the majority will be new aircraft to cope with the increased demand from the market. A consequence of all this is that we see an increase in demand for our products. Recent launches of products such as the reliable Aerobase and Aerodur Base Coat/Clear Coat systems and the environmentally progressive chrome-free surface pretreatment Metaflex SP 1050, have helped to drive the demand as the performance of these systems have produced proven benefits to users.”
The need for more efficient and cost saving products is also a driver of growth. “As the global aviation market continues to grow along with global wealth, the aerospace coatings business grows with this market,” said Cancilla. “Further, aerospace coatings products play an important role in the continuous improvement of aircraft efficiencies. PPG is launching our Aerocron electrocoat process and products, which have shown to improve the application consistency of primer systems, reducing the overall weight of the coatings applied. Further, the industry is moving toward basecoat, clearcoat topcoat systems, which improve the overall weight and service life of the coatings on aircraft. Lastly, PPG has developed new, green solutions replacing chromated products including our new Desoprime CF/CA7502 chrome free primer systems. As these new products are launched, demand to replace antiquated technologies increases.”
The aerospace coatings market is highly competitive and customers demand the most innovative products that will meet stringent safety standards and increase efficiencies.
With fuel costs contributing to approximately a third of airlines’ operating costs, airlines need to look where they can save money. One way to increase efficiencies is to try and save weight. This can be done by reducing the number of layers of paint on an aircraft.
“Each layer saved means less weight carried and we expect that a recent approval of a ‘Direct to Metal’ (DTM) system to AMS 3095A means that airline customers can save considerable weight compared to a typical wash primer scheme,” said van der Laan.
A second driver is time saving during the paint process. “Basically get the aircraft in and out of the paint shop quicker so that it can get back to creating revenue for the airline,” said van der Laan. “Of course all this comes with an increased paint performance and longer lasting, more durable topcoats like with the Aerobase and Aerodur Base Coat/Clear Coat systems.
Airlines are looking for longevity of the livery brand image. The livery and interior of the aircraft play an integral role in shaping an airlines’ brand image.
“AkzoNobel’s reliable base coat/clear coat systems maintain the worldwide brand integrity of airlines by getting the color mix exactly right and by keeping colors right by the protection of the clearcoat,” said van der Laan. “Environmental and health regulation and in particular the demand for chrome-free technology is another industry driver. In 2012 we had the first application of a totally chrome-free system and expect AMS 3095A qualification for this system anytime soon.”
Accordng to Cancilla, PPG’s customers continue to drive innovation toward reduced weight, faster application times for coatings, longer service life and increased functionality. “The Aerocron product can be consistently applied with uniform, thin film layers, contributing to the weight reduction of the overall aircraft components being coated,” he added. “Also, our Desothane HD basecoat clearcoat products permit the topcoat systems application to be accomplished in a faster time frame, minimizing the time out of service while enhancing the durability of the gloss level of the coated aircraft. Finally, our customers are recognizing that functionality can be designed into aerospace coatings system including the ability of the coating to reduce heat load onto the aircraft, improve the ability of the skin to minimize the accumulation of ice, and to improve the drag resistance of the aircraft. All of these key factors are considered in PPG’s innovation pipeline for aerospace coatings.”
Recently, PPG Aerospace Coatings has launched its Desothane HD basecoat clearcoat products into the aftermarket segment of the industry. “We have received qualifications to the AMS 3095A specification from independent laboratories for several systems that include this technology,” said Cancilla. “We have also launched our chrome free Desoprime CF/CA7502 primer systems. These have been qualified to both OEM and the AMS 3095A specifications. Recently, PPG proudly announced our new Andaro
technology used to enhance the new livery of Virgin Atlantic aircraft.
AkzoNobel is the first in the market with an AMS 3095A qualified Direct to Metal (DTM) system, composed of Aerodur LV 2114 primer and Aerobase Base Coat/Clear Coat. This system eliminates the need to use any kind of metal pre-treatment such as Alodine, Solgel or Wash primer technologies. The primer is applied directly to the clean scotch-brited substrate and provides the necessary adhesion and corrosion resistance to meet the stringent specification requirements. The DTM paint system eliminates mixed fleed complexities and can be applied on any type of commercial aircraft, whatever the climate and anywhere in the world. The system also provides easy stripability.
“After the successful market introduction in EMEA, we recently launched our Aerofine range of aircraft interior coatings in the Americas as well,” said van der Lann. “The water-based Aerofine products are created for the maintenance and refurbishment of aircraft internal cabin surfaces. The brand represents consistent durability, ease of application and reliable performance at a fair price.
With both the environmentally progressive cabin coatings and aircraft exterior coatings we can now offer our customers a one stop paint solution for aircraft interior and exterior.”