This would be Avion and FLEXcon’s first time working together on a custom project of this magnitude, and the stakes were high, so Mark immediately put Pete in touch with Aaron Elman, one of our Application Development Engineers. We didn’t already have an adhesive that had been tested for flammability, but in a matter of days, Aaron and Pete were able to map out the specs and identify a short list of FLEXcon adhesives that might be suitable. Now it was time for testing.
Step 1. Qualify for Adhesion. The first thing was to be sure the adhesive met the needs of end users. It had to stay adhered for the duration of the campaign, but then remove cleanly without damaging the polycarbonate surface. The end users are outside of the U.S., which added a level of complexity, but despite some challenges associated with time zone differences and language barriers, FLEXcon and Avion were able to obtain feedback from end users and confirm which adhesives would make the cut.
Step 2. Flammability Testing. Once adhesives were qualified in terms of adhesion, they had to be submitted for testing pursuant to FAR 25.853, the FAA’s flame retardancy standard for the interior compartments of aircraft occupied by crew or passengers. The testing involves subjecting a sample to a flame for a specified period of time. During that time, the sample must not burn more than a specified distance, and it must self-extinguish within a specified time period. Several adhesives got burned before the most appropriate one could be certified, and FLEXcon’s® V59-FR, a new non-halogenated, flame-retardant adhesive, was born!
Step 3. Process Testing. Once the adhesive was qualified, the team had to be sure that the full construction could withstand Avion’s high-heat lamination process. It was evaluated by the customer and determined to be a fit for the application.
The process took only a matter of weeks to complete. More importantly, Avion was able to protect an important piece of business at a cost only slightly higher than what they’d been paying off-the-shelf. “To get a custom product from FLEXcon for a comparable price to the off-the-shelf product we had been buying speaks volumes of FLEXcon,” says Pete.