Aviation Glass is outgrowing its premises

Grubby, scratched plastic windows and fogged-up mirrors; this was, until recently, what you were facing when travelling by plane. There must be a better way, recognized Jaap Wiersema, COO of Aviation Glass & Technology. He started a high-tech production site for laminated glass (specifically intended for the aviation industry) together with investor Marcel Boekhoorn, at the Appelseweg in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, in 2012 – and with remarkable success.

Armed with all required test results, and European and international certificates, Wiersema embarked on his mission to upscale the interior of aircrafts to a superior on-board experience. Not an easy task, considering the highly traditional industry which prefers to keep doing what it always did. Major aircraft manufacturers and completion centers, which handle the new design as well as the renovation of aircrafts, were the first to see the benefits of laminated glass. Not only is it much more transparent, but also more durable and lightweight.

So, no more plastic in aircraft interiors then? If it is up to Wiersema, yes, plastic is on its way out. “In the past years, our company has grown significantly. We have expanded our machinery substantially, and recently added a fully automatic magnetron sputter coater for mirrors, as well as a laser installation. Meanwhile, our team has tripled in size and we now have permanent contracts for a number of models of commercial aircraft manufacturers.” Wiersema continues: “We are seeing a month-by-month increase in demand for our glass mirrors and aircraft transparencies and we are attracting many new customers. Our company’s innovative strength is an important contributing factor in this growing demand. We have, for example, developed an aircraft transparency that complies with the strictest fire requirements in the aviation industry. And yes, this one is definitely better than the plastic ones that are currently being used. We also developed an entirely new ceiling lighting concept for a new commercial aircraft model – with a thickness of only 1 mm. This concept will make the interior of these new models radically different and more beautiful.”

Innovation is, however, never straight-forward. Which is precisely why Aviation Glass employs a fulltime Research & Development Manager who works closely with the people in production. This way the entire company is contributing their bit to the new developments. One specific example is the option to show hidden messages, such as the ‘return to seat’ sign, behind the mirror. The sign will only become visible if the pilot decides to turn it on. For the rest of the time the sign is invisible, and passengers will only see the full mirror. Another component of the company’s recent innovations is the integration of screens and touch screens behind the mirror.

Therefore, it will not be long before an extension of the production facility is necessary; Aviation Glass is outgrowing its present premises. Thanks to the clean-room conditions and high-tech machinery, all aircraft mirrors, aircraft transparencies and room dividers are currently the best out there; you will not find any dust or stains on them. And no scratches for that matter, because the glass has been chemically tempered and can withstand just about any form of vandalism. Grubby, scratched plastic windows and fogged-up mirrors are now definitely a thing of the past.