As part of its 2020 acquisition of Air-Craftglass, Gentex gained a laminating technology designed to yield durable, lightweight, ultra-thin glass with various applications for aircraft cabins – including for partitions, mirrors and wood veneer.
Gentex is a long-time supplier of electro-optical products for the global automotive, aerospace and fire protection industries. Within aerospace, the company is best known for supplying aircraft manufacturers with electronically dimmable windows that darken on demand to cut sunlight while still providing an exterior view.
The new laminating technology and related patents were included in the acquisition of Air-Craftglass, a Belgium-based start-up that was founded to develop glass solutions for private and commercial aircraft. The company ultimately developed a lightweight, chemically strengthened, thin-glass laminate designed to offer improvements over polycarbonate structures, including in terms of noise reduction, durability, UV resistance, antibacterial performance, and flame/smoke resistance.
“This new laminating technology complements our expertise in glass processing while opening the door to new features within the aircraft cabin,” said Neil Boehm, Gentex’s chief technology officer. “Gentex is now in the process of bringing Air-Craftglass’ proprietary production techniques in-house to develop a comprehensive collection of glass, mirrors and wood veneer products for aerospace and potentially other industries.”
Gentex foresees numerous potential aircraft uses for its new technology, including glass dust panels, class dividers and monitor protectors, as well as mirrors for use in lavatories, cabins and galleys. Other applications include tabletops, cabinet doors, ceilings and decorative glass elements.