Mankiewicz is continuing a decades-long sustainability effort in its paints and coatings business. Stefan Jacob, Sales Director Aviation, explains
While natural, sustainable materials are making their way into business jet and VIP aircraft cabins, there are still important roles for paints and coatings to play. Traditionally solvent-based and involving unavoidable waste, they have in the past been difficult from a sustainability point of view. Recent developments have seen less reliance on solvents, however, and improved technologies mean less overspray and a more pleasant environment for those working with the materials.
Stefan Jacob, Sales Director Aviation at Mankiewicz, explains: “Our coatings feature in the large cabins of airliner-based VIP and VVIP aircraft, and in smaller jets, where we work with the OEMs. Depending on the individual cabin design, our coatings may appear on the ceiling panels, seats, walls and monuments. We also have products for treating polycarbonate panels where special lighting effects are required.
“Considering sustainability, using green energy during production was an easy but important first step for Mankiewicz and we are careful to use other energy sources – the heat generated by our machinery, for example, is used to warm our facilities in winter.
“Looking at our products, they are all available on water-based technology, with very low VOCs [volatile organic compounds], which is good for the environment and the people applying them. We’ve been working on this basis for more than 20 years. We also source our raw materials responsibly and we are examining the possibility of using more natural raw materials.”
Interestingly, Jacob says there is a balance to be struck between performance and sustainability. If a product considered sustainable at the time of application, because it was made using natural raw materials, has a limited life and requires regular replacement, then the process of stripping, cleaning and reapplication is itself unsustainable. Continuing the subject of cleaning, within its facilities, he says Mankiewicz recycles materials internally for reuse.
And even though its products are water based, Mankiewicz has engineered them for easy drying so that MROs and OEMs need not ‘bake’ parts at high temperatures to ensure a high-quality, durable finish, saving energy by ‘turning their ovens down’.
Perhaps most significantly, where once a coating may have been regarded as a ‘cheaper’ option compared to other materials, Jacobs says modern coatings may offer an optimised, more sustainable and equally high-quality solution. “Using the appropriate coating can reduce weight by two thirds compared to some traditional products, helping reduce fuel consumption. And coatings are also suitable for replacing environmentally damaging techniques in some cases – our metallic finishes, for example, are very durable and avoid the need for electroplating, which is highly toxic, expensive and wasteful.”