Thermoplastic polymers such as acrylic materials are used in numerous aircraft and rotorcraft applications because it readily accommodates the manufacture of clear lightweight complex-shaped transparencies. As-cast acrylic is typically used for helicopters and non-pressurized aircraft transparencies.
Stretched acrylic is obtained by stretching as-cast acrylic sheets, a process which re orientates the long polymer chains. Stretching drastically increases the material properties. Stretched acrylic offers an improved craze resistance, increased stress tolerance, crack propagation and solvent resistance than as-cast acrylic. It is therefore suitable for windshields, outer cabin window panes and other transparencies for pressurized aircraft.
Acrylic is a highly versatile polymer with endless applications beyond aircraft and aerospace. Although CLI has benchmarked its experience on these industries, we have the capabilities and resources to develop acrylic products for any vehicle where safety, durability, light weight and reduced production costs are an essential requirement.
Due to the very high speeds and high level of hazards involved if flying, the products we have supplied to iconic aircraft and rotorcraft corporations are of the very highest quality and must be flawless. Indeed no product is put into production prior to rigorous testing because no other industry demands a higher standard of product quality. Yet, for the past thirty years, this is where CLI has exceled and secured its impeccable award winning reputation.
We are masters at our craft further developing our expertise offer our services and products to other OEMs, such as agriculture, road construction vehicles, heavy machinery, dockside equipment, warehousing machinery, and boating and marine products which in a different way, albeit equal measure, are all exposed to hazardous environments.
So whatever your transparency requirement may be, we can create your product from acrylic, with the benefit of a hard coating finish to afford it durability and a trouble free life-cycle. There are so many benefits to using acrylic as a substitute to glass and at considerable less production costs too.
Polycarbonate materials possess exceptional strength and provide high impact resistance which make it the ideal material for the design of windshields subjected to high velocity bird strikes. It is lightweight and provides excellent high-temperature tolerance. Susceptible to stress-solvent crazing, it is recommended polycarbonate items be used only with an applied protective coating.
Protective Coatings for acrylic and polycarbonate are used to prevent deterioration from weather extremes including ultraviolet rays, solvents and chemicals as well environmental conditions such as abrasion caused by sand and dirt. Coatings can be applied by means of flow, dip or spray and are generally thermally cured.
Polycarbonate can of course be applied to any vehicle or industry calling for hazardous impact protection, such as those found in performance vehicles, warehouse fork lift trucks, agriculture, roadwork, or other heavy construction machinery. Not only is it light-weight, but its high impact resilience properties means polycarbonate is a perfect substitute for safety glass, which can often shatter into thousands in pieces when subjected to a hard blow. Due to the limited strength of glass, further protection of the driver cabin is frequently required, almost imperative, and thus many of these machines have cabins completed encapsulated by protective steel cages, which can of course reduce visibility substantially thus increasing the probability of an accident occurrence. However, polycarbonate is a perfect substitute for the glass, thus in most cases the steel protective cage may no longer be required, or where a large pane is necessary, a far less obtrusive cage could be implemented.
CLI specializes in forming stretched acrylic, cast acrylic and polycarbonate for optical applications. We also form fiberglass laminate for window edgings. CLI employs various techniques to achieve precise control of contour while maintaining defect and distortion free optics.
Within the transparency industry, our specialty is working with bi-axially stretched acrylics, (MIL-PRF-25690), a stronger, crack propagation resistant acrylic, cast acrylics (MIL-PRF-8184 and MIL-PRF-5425), and polycarbonate. CLI employs various industry standard techniques such as drape forming, vacuum forming, wet forming and blow forming to achieve precise control of window contour while maintaining defect and distortion free optics. We can form products on customer supplied tools or assist in the development and build of new tools for specific applications. Working within the structure of our AS9100 certified quality system; we meet or exceed customer requirements for process controls and product inspection.
PROTECTIVE HARD COATINGS
Hard coats are applied to formed transparencies in our class 100 clean room providing protection from surface damage and environmental degradation. CLI has invested heavily in the technology of hard coats. This investment of time and money allows us to provide solutions for even the most difficult application.
As a Post-Coater (applying our coatings after they have been formed), we offer the industries' highest level of performance coatings.
1. Abrasion Resistance
2. Chemical Resistance
4. Anti-Fog Performance
Our exclusive Polycarbonate Hard-Coat gives you the highest level of performance available today. Our hard-coat repels water better than any temporary window treatment, and will withstand the use of wipers when necessary. CLI can meet customer requirements for silicone based hard coats on polycarbonate and acrylic transparencies. A well-developed process has been perfected to ensure coatings provide lasting protection without negative effects on optical characteristics. Coupon testing is performed after every batch coated to test for adhesion, chemical and environmental resistance, and clarity. CLI has developed a meticulous five-step cleaning process to prepare windows for coating in our class 100 clean room. Fluids are tested every session and environmental conditions are well controlled to give consistent, superior results in the field. CLI has never had a part return for poor performance of the hard coat.
BONDING AND ASSEMBLY
Thermoformed transparencies are custom routed to final size and faying surfaces are carefully prepared for bonding. Formed edgings are then hand-crafted to match the formed windows with precise tolerances. CLI has bonding experience with fiberglass, ABS, kydex, nylon and several other edging materials. We can build assemblies ready for final installation with attachment holes machined, or with excess material for final installation in the field.
We are certified to the following Bell Helicopter process specifications:
4102; 4446; 4458; 4403; 4434; 4351; 4302; 4302; 4581; 4352; 4138
CLI has experience with many adhesives including acrylic based epoxies an urethane. Our plant is also equipped for spray application of military grade primers, top coats and protective coatings.