Q: How complex are the latest VIP, business jet design schemes?
A: The complexity of the design schemes varies as widely as the personalities of the aircraft owners. Many want the aircraft paint scheme to project a certain effect or image, while others prefer a simple design, but always a high-quality finish. As a coatings supplier, our key focus is to ensure that we provide accurate and fast response for colour matching as well as colour design options to the design team. PPG utilises our expansive colour palette crossing multiple industry segments including not only aerospace, but also our automotive and other decorative coatings businesses.
Q: How demanding are they in terms of multiple colours and overpainting?
A: Business aircraft customers demand high-quality products that produce high-quality finishes with very good application robustness. These are key features that PPG addresses in our product formulations, application development, and manufacturing processes.
Q: How do you meet your customers’ needs?
A: PPG Aerospace’s global network of Application Support Centers and sales offices in 28 locations around the world are committed to providing customers with rapid and responsive service. The sales and customer support staff collaborates with our global Aerospace Coatings product line management to ensure that we have complete capability within the business to support our customers’ needs, which includes colour styling and technology, application development capabilities and facilities, and product technologies to optimise performance and appearance. Our global colour matching and batch production facilities provide quick response to customer requests for specific colour needs, and our global product technical services organisation is available to assist our customers in the application of our products.
Q: How do you work with ‘difficult’ customers?
A: All customers are demanding, but we understand this. We are a demanding customer to our suppliers, as well. Our goal is to understand our customers’ needs and ensure that our capability to support their needs is optimised. With our global sales, customer service, product technical services and product line management staff, we are well equipped to best understand our customers’ needs and to develop approaches to meet their requirements.
Q: What does the personal jet owner expect in a unique aircraft paint design?
A: Just as the colour and paint appearance is important to a car owner, the owner of a personal jet will generally want to have his or her own aircraft colour, design and paint appearance to meet the style they are seeking. Everyone has their own vision of what they would like to project. It’s as different as the way each person dresses. But all personal jet owners expect very high quality and consistency in the final finish of the aircraft paint scheme.
Q: What is the process of preparing an aircraft design scheme?
A: The process of preparing an aircraft design scheme works best when the owner, design organisation, and coatings supplier meet together to discuss the ideas of the owner and the potential options provided by the coatings supplier, permitting the design organisation to create the style and effect being sought by the owner. This is the most efficient approach to achieve the best final solution. Often, there are iterations that are required before the final product is realised, but this close communication is important to achieve the best results.
Q: Are there special colours they expect? Are there custom colours involved?
A: Customers absolutely expect coatings suppliers to achieve the effect that they want to achieve. This can often involve specific colour matching to reference materials, objects, or even the owner’s favourite car! To achieve this, the coatings supplier must have significant colour matching and product production capability. Custom colours and effects can be provided by the coatings supplier to aid the owner’s vision. PPG has provided a wide variety of mica and metallic products that provide from mild to brilliant sparkle effects in the final colour. We can also provide colours using our Andaro® Special Effect Pigments to further broaden the design options for our customers.
Q: Are there any special paint requirements or expectations – speciality formulas being used, like micas or metallic?
A: The growth of micas, metallic and other special paint effects, such as those provided by our Andaro® Special Effect Pigments, is increasing rapidly. Just as it is difficult to purchase a car without such effects today, we are finding that our business aircraft customers are requesting these same effects in their aircraft paint designs. To support this need, the PPG Aerospace colour technology and styling organisation consults regularly with the PPG Automotive OEM and Refinish businesses, ensuring understanding of design trends and that the colour capabilities can be translated into the Aerospace formulation schemes with good application characteristics and performance criteria.
Q: How does privacy/security of VIPs affect their design?
A: Most often, customers who are seeking anonymity relative to their personal aircraft request very simple designs. This often involves the application of a white colour variant for the fuselage and a simple stripe or stripe pattern. Of course, these applications are quite easy to support as a coatings supplier.
Q: What is the nature of the training process/consultation process between the paint house and the manufacturer that helps to ensure that the designer’s vision can be implemented successfully?
A: PPG’s global Application Support Centers, which house our sales and customer service staff, along with our global technical service team, are positioned to ensure that the organisations who apply our products to the aircraft are successful. Before a product or technology reaches a customer application, it goes through an extensive application development process in PPG paint spray booths that have full temperature and humidity control, ensuring our understanding of actual field performance characteristics. Our global technical service team surveys customer paint shops to characterise the unique elements of the shop that can impact the paint application and interacts with the application development team in the production of the application guides used to set up the application parameters of our paint products. This approach helps to ensure that application proceeds as planned with no surprises!
Q: What new paint technologies are being looked at in the lab right now, which might have a bearing on how designers approach the task of producing the ‘dream design’ at a future date?
A: The PPG Aerospace Coatings business continues to develop new technologies and invest in capabilities that impact our ability to supply a wider array of colours and effects. We have developed and launched solar reflective technologies that allow designers to consider darker colours that may not have been considered previously due to heat load impact or other issues. PPG’s focus is to be able to provide all customers with any colour, design or effect that they are trying to create.