SABIC Reveals a 3D Printed Seat for the Aerospace Industry

21st April 2015

As airlines seek every opportunity to reduce weight, differentiate their brands, minimize costs and enhance their customers’ flying experiences, they need versatile materials, creative design options and global support from suppliers who understand the desired outcomes.

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business is showcasing a number of new and inspiring offerings that are helping aircraft customers meet regulatory requirements and OEM standards, enhance safety and sustainability, and optimize the passenger experience. These include a range of high performance engineering thermoplastics in a number of forms – resin, sheet, film, foam and fiber – that are compatible with a range of processing techniques such as injection molding, thermoforming, and additive and composite manufacturing.

Beyond material solutions that are lightweight and compliant, SABIC is highlighting two services that can help its customers achieve their commercial objectives: the company’s global application development resource, which helps customers design parts and systems with an eye toward weight-out and cost-savings; and customized color and aesthetic services, including color management throughout a customer’s global supply chain.

“Our customers have told us that they are interested in a total solution that goes beyond providing a material,” Kim Choate, Market Director, Mass Transportation for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business, said. “Historically, this has been our approach – to look at each customer’s need, and bring our years of global experience – including solutions that have worked for other industries – to the table.”


SABIC's 3D Printed Aircraft Seat
SABIC’s 3D Printed Aircraft Seat


SABIC will be highlighting a range of innovative customer solutions using its materials. Among them are:


  • A seatback made from SABIC’s LEXAN LIGHT F6L306 sheet. With a specific gravity of 0.85 g/cm3, this product is the lightest thermoplastic sheet option available today, up to 40% lighter than PVC/PMMA sheet products. The material complies with typical industry FST and Boeing/Airbus toxicity requirements and is thermoformable into complex 3D-shaped parts with very thin walls, down to 0.6mm.


  • A 3D printed economy class seat prototype using filament made from SABIC’s ULTEM™ 9085 resin. To inspire seating tiers to take a fresh look at seat design and fabrication, SABIC licensed the Studio Gavari design for a sleek and ergonomically advanced seat. The seat was printed by Stratasys, using SABIC’s ULTEM 9085 resin. ULTEM 9085 resin is highly compatible with 3D printing and is FAR 25.853 and OEM toxicity compliant and offers low moisture absorption and design flexibility. Use of 3D printing enabled the rapid prototyping of the Studio Gavari design, resulting in a seat with less than 15 components.


  • A range of wicking, cushioning and acoustical materials, made with ULTEM fibers, selected for its low moisture absorption, high heat tolerances and compliance with industry and OEM standards, sound absorption, lightweight and recyclability.


The dynamic nature of the aviation industry demands flexible high-end solutions that can address multiple challenges, including the ever-present need to control costs. SABIC’s continued investment in innovative material technologies, together with a commitment to closely collaborate with aerospace customers, underscores SABIC’s leadership in developing space-age thermoplastic solutions for next generation aircraft.