Commercial aircraft livery is an important part of marketing as well as providing protection for the structure of an aircraft. Akzo Nobel Aerospace Coatings (ANAC) has established a new facility to provide guided color expertise to livery and help operators create airline liveries more quickly.
The dedicated color design studio within the ANAC Color Center at the company’s Sassenheim facility in the Netherlands is equipped with a range of representations to help designers select colors and finishes to provide an effective solution to meet the requirements of an airline and ANAC as an OEM applicator. The color representations can then be converted into paint samples (“spray outs”) using ANAC digital color “fingerprinting” techniques.
The fingerprinting techniques involve the use of a spectrophotometer to measure the characteristics of a color. Results are interpreted as spectral data, the most precise description of a color. An object’s color appearance results from light being changed by an object and reflected to a viewer. Spectral data is a description of how the reflected light was changed. This data can be saved digitally and is the color’s fingerprint.
The effects of the spray outs are viewed under various light sources that can simulate full daylight, dusk, and hangar lighting conditions. The light sources were created to allow designers to make better decisions for overall livery designs—particularly useful for judging different combinations of solid and special effect paints.
At the center, “Designers are made aware of the huge range of finishes, colors, and effects available to them through new coating technologies,” said Hans Peter van Wilsem, Plant Manager of the ANAC Color Center. “It gives them the time and opportunity to experiment and to access the technical resources and product knowledge of the global ANAC color team—and to expand their knowledge of aircraft coatings and how they will perform in service.”
Working together with designers is also valuable for ANAC, said van Wilsem, who explained that in face-to-face discussions and when using the right techniques, it was easier and quicker to select the correct color, thus reducing the number of colors that have to be sprayed out and ultimately shortening the process time, which could take weeks.
“Once designers are satisfied with the coatings and colors they have chosen, and confident that their concept is achievable, they leave the site with a complete set of ‘spray outs’ and actual paint references to present to their airline clients,” he said.
ANAC claims to be the only aerospace coatings business to offer a dedicated color design studio accessible by customers. Idea of creating the facility came from suggestions made by livery designers. ANAC describes itself as the “global leader” in the manufacture, development and supply of coatings for the commercial, general aviation, and military aerospace markets.