April 8 2019  |  Lighting

Sekisui chief sheds light on sustainability

By Mary Jane Pittilla

KYDEX Lumina™ was a final in this year's Crystal Cabin Awards

The President of Sekisui Polymer Innovations, the US-based supplier of KYDEX thermoplastics, has spoken out about the future of the passenger experience and the challenges faced by the industry.

The company has developed a large portfolio of materials for the aircraft industry, working with the major designers such as PriestmanGoode, Acumen and JPA Design on high-performance materials in a bid to “build brand value for the airlines”, COO and President Ronn Cort told PAX Tech during last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

“We’re working with the supply chain to help them make better parts, using more curves and organic shapes,” he said, noting that the company’s first step into the premium seating market dates back to the British Airways lie-flat seat.

Today, Sekisui also collaborates with lighting suppliers on LED lighting systems, and its new KYDEX Lumina™ product was a finalist in this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards. Lumina a thermal plastic that can conduct light and provides mood lighting through plastic panels in the cabin.

Sekisui SPI has two facilities located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and one in Holland, MI. The company also plays a role in educating the industry’s seat suppliers on pressure forming techniques, as used today by Collins Aerospace engineers.

Sekisui also has an aggressive sustainability agenda, driven by its Japanese parent company, Tokyo-based Sekisui Chemical Co, which has developed a 100-year vision to become a sustainable chemicals group.

All the materials used by Sekisui are recyclable, and the company takes back any scrap waste from its customers to be reprocessed into other applications.

“We have an environmental obligation to help the future 3 billion middle class in Asia and not to put a burden on the planet,” he said, citing the company’s use of safe and sustainable additives in its products and the zero-landfill policy of its three factories in the US.

Speaking about the future of the passenger experience, Cort said that thanks to new technology, mass customization would be possible in aircraft cabins, allowing passengers to create their own experience. He said that passengers would be able to control their ambient lighting on the wall around them, for example.

He added that with the expansion of Business Class cabins, new, hi-tech developments would enable differentiation in finishes, design, light and color.

“The challenge is the different expectations of the different generations who are flying today. We now have the digital natives, who have a better command of tech than their parents.”

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