Sekisui Kydex develops recycled-grade aviation thermoplastic


Sekisui Kydex has been demonstrating its full range of Kydex Thermoplastics at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) this week, including SurfaceGrip, a collection of Crystal Cabin Award-winning Infused Imaging Technology designs, and custom decorative textures. There has also been something new at their stand: Kydex 5555RCL, a recycled-grade product.

Sustainability is a hot topic, and many people relate sustainable materials to using recycled products through a circular economy. Recovering materials to be recycled is a challenging process, but one that is an essential step towards material traceability. It is a challenge to provide recycled materials without the infrastructure in place to provide a closed-loop supply chain, which has led some companies to resort to sustainability marketing gimmicks or ‘greenwashing’ to accommodate the demands for recycled products.

Sekisui Kydex wanted a genuine recycled offer so it has worked with the Green Cabin Alliance (GCA), a cross-industry group within the aircraft interiors supply chain that is addressing the challenges of sustainable cabin interiors. One of the GCA’s core goals is to increase transparency, build a common language, and improve the reporting of carbon footprint data throughout the industry.

Collaboration across the entire supply chain is key to achieving these goals, and Sekisui Kydex, a founding member of GCA, has been recycling its Kydex Thermoplastics for over 20 years. All aviation-grade Kydex Thermoplastics are 100% recyclable, including materials with Infused Imaging Technology.

Developing recycled materials for use in aviation interiors presents many challenges, including material traceability, maintaining physical properties, and meeting stringent flame and smoke certifications. However, Sekisui Kydex has overcome the challenges and has developed a flight-ready, recycled product line, named Kydex RCL. The initial product launch is Kydex 5555RCL, comprised of recycled Kydex 5555, so it is specifically formulated to exceed low heat release requirements for aviation interiors.

The company also worked with Stelia Aerospace (a brand from Airbus Atlantic) and Team Plastique, to meet the technical requirements and validations required to bring this product to launch.

The teams set out to develop a truly recycled product that would pass the technical requirements and provide the same level of reliability customers expect with virgin Kydex thermoplastics, helping enable a closed-loop supply chain in the cabin industry.

AIX visitors can stop by the Sekisui Kydex stand (5D40) at AIX to find out more about sustainable and customisable thermoplastics, and see how the materials are applied at Stelia Aerospace’s stand (7A30) and Team Plastique’s stand (6C50A).

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About Author


Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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