New FAA Rules Mean More Efficient Flammability Testing.
Flammability testing for an aircraft's interior components have always met with mixed emotions by manufacturers and completion centers. On one hand, these tests are critical to ensuring passenger safety in the event of a cabin fire. On the other hand, nobody likes seeing so much time, material and money go up in flames.
Fortunately for all concerned, in August of 2012, the FAA issued a new policy statement: PS-ANM-25.853-01, "Flammability Testing of Interior Materials."
"The new policy statement allows the streamlining of testing for various material types," explained Skandia's Flammability Manger, Judy Johnson. "It's making quite a splash in the industry mainly because it has taken a lot of ambiguous topics and narrowed them down into a concise document. It's a major improvement."
Ms. Johnson said that ever since the first day the new policy was released, it has become an integral part of every flammability-testing plan Skandia has implemented. "It covers all materials used in an aircraft's interior. If you have questions about circuit boards or wires, it's all in one document now," she said. "Even as a leader in flammability testing, there were so many different regulations and policy guidelines to search through. Now the FAA has not only consolidated the guidelines, they have streamlined the testing procedures. We save time and money all around."
How have the tests been "streamlined?" It's quite simple. "For example, if an aircraft manufacturer was using multiple panel designs all made from Nomex - say it was the same composite panel, but it may have extra plies of pre-preg in some areas or possibly the cell structure may be a little different in other areas - but overall it is the same material," Ms. Johnson said. "Prior to these new guidelines being issued, the manufacturer would have to produce and test samples each of these panels. That's very expensive and time consuming."
"With the new rules, we can just do a flammability test on one of the —particular samples and qualify the rest," she said. "So instead of the manufacturer having to produce maybe 15 or 18 samples, now they only have to produce, say three of them for testing."
"It has and will continue to produce some cost savings for sure. Especially for cabin refurbishing projects where there are a lot of unique components," Ms. Johnson said. "We are going to be able to do the qualifications testing quicker, easier and at less expense. That's going to be extremely beneficial especially to the aftermarket industry."
Skandia introduces Smoke & Toxicity testing.Company is now a one-stop-shop for flammability testing.
Jarod Triplett Skandia's Vice President, has announced that the company will soon be completing their array of flammability tests with the addition of Smoke and Toxicity testing capabilities.
"Adding these new tests, Smoke Emissions and Heat Release, is the direct response to requests by our global customers," Triplett said. "This now makes Skandia one of the very few single-source testing facilities that can offer the full complement of services."
These tests are required for any commercial or regional aircraft that is certified to carry 20 or more passengers. "We're extremely proud that our tests are some of the most highly respected, in terms of validity and quality, by the FAA, EASA and the aircraft manufacturers, in the entire industry," Triplett said. "Now we are adding an elevated level of capabilities from a smoke and toxicity testing standpoint. Our global customers are excited to have these capabilities so readily available."
Currently Skandia is installing state-of-the-art testing equipment and is completing certification for its team of FAA Designated Engineering Representatives (DER's).
"Once everything is in place, we will be able to write a test plan and do all of the required testing," Skandia's Flammability Manger, Judy Johnson said. "Currently, the vast majority of testing facilities do not offer both planning and testing services. Soon, we will be one of the very few in the world that can offer manufacturers a totally one-stop solution."
"That will save our customers time and money," she said. "Instead of having to deal with two companies for planning and testing, they can just simplify the process by coming directly to us."
SKANDIA EMPLOYEE PROFILE - TANYA MORRISWhether it's running a race or providing customers with the best service possible, Tanya's goal is always to be one step in front of the competition.
As Skandia, Inc.'s, Accounts Manager for the eastern U.S. and Canada, Tanya Morris approaches her job with the same high-level of commitment she uses to help her improve as a competitive runner. Small advancements add up to big gains.
"I started with Skandia in February of 2004 as a Customer Service Representative in the Product Sales Department," she said. "We work closely with our customers primarily meeting their needs for cabin products like DAX foams, upholstery supplies and acoustic materials. We get to know their needs pretty well."
Tanya's very strong customer service skills soon earned her a promotion into the company's Acoustics Division. Skandia's Acoustics Division is well known throughout the aviation industry for its considerable expertise with not only sound proofing materials and systems, but also sound frequency testing. Along with that, Skandia is also one of the very few acoustics providers that can also perform flammability testing on all materials.
"We were heavily into research and development during those years, developing a lot of new materials to meet the new Radiant Panel burn requirements," Tanya said. "We were working closely with our suppliers and customers to meet these new rules."
After a couple of years in the Acoustics Division, her Skandia career path took two quick leaps in short succession. First, to Supervisor of the Product Sales Department, and soon after that, yet another promotion into a key position in the Flame Treatment Department.
"I like new challenges," Tanya explained, "so when the opportunity became available in the Flame Treatment Department I went there for a little over a year. Then just this last December I moved into my current position as Account Manager."
Tanya said that one of the things that really attracted her to her current role is the opportunity to meet her customers.
"Now, instead of only dealing with customers from the inside, I will be traveling out to visit them. It's very exciting to finally get to put faces with the names and voices I've come to know so well over the years," she said. "We really want to work closely with our various customers to identify new ways Skandia can help them in ways they may not have considered."
For example, she said that many of their smaller upholstery shop customers only know the company for it seat foam and upholstery supplies sales. "They don't realize that Skandia is one of the biggest flammability testing facilities in all of aviation," Tanya said. "My goal is to change that understanding."
"It's not just selling and it's not only problem solving - it's about helping each customer be the best they can be," she said. "We are a very relationship driven company with strong mid-western values. While Skandia has certainly grown a lot during my nearly 10-year career, one thing has not changed - and will not change - our commitment to treating all of our customers with the highest levels of respect and consideration."
Just don't expect that level of "consideration" if you ever happen to come up against Tanya during one of her 5K races.
Skandia's new look"Give the customer quality. That's the best kind of advertising."
~ Milton Hershey, Founder, The Hershey Chocolate Company
If you think there's something different about Skandia today, you're absolutely right. In fact, everything from our business cards, to our website, to this very newsletter is different.
"We've spent over 30-years providing the best in flammability testing and interior manufacturing and refurbishing services to the biggest names in business, commercial and general aviation," Jarod Triplett Skandia's vice president stated. "We felt that now is the time to update our company image to match the quality of our testing and production services and programs."
To help with the process, Skandia turned to the aviation marketing expertise of M2 Business Development (www.iflym2.com). "More than ever, it's critical for a company to have a brand image that immediately separates them from the competition. Our goal was to give Skandia a new look that reflects the company's quality commitment and leadership position in their target markets," Mark Matheson, M2's founder stated. "The result was a complete rebranding of every element of Skandia's marketing, advertising and media relations."
Matheson said that the process started with a new website design and then branched off to include everything from business cards to new sales collateral materials.
"The website is now the cornerstone of a company's image," Matheson said. "Everything has a common look, feel and voice. That's very important in today's market. Customers and prospective customers can find a company at many different locations. Skandia doesn't segregate their quality commitment by service and their external branding needs to reflect that."
Matheson said that the development of Skandia's dynamic new look was the strategic part of the integrated plan and that the tactical element will be in the form of an aggressive and ambitious advertising and media relations program. "Now that we have the tools, we need to get them in front of the right business prospects," he said.
"We're extremely happy with the outcome of our rebranding efforts," Tripett said. "The new look is modern, clean and distinctive. It's the perfect complement to the quality and capability message we're trying to get to our customers and prospects."
Please visit Skandia's new website at: www.skandiainc.com
Skandia looks to capitalize on growing regional airline market
Regional airlines around the world are making a comeback and Skandia is poised to take advantage of that growing opportunity.
"There are a lot of regional-type turboprops and jets in operation around the world and those operators are going to need the broad range of capabilities we provide," explained Jarod Triplett. "These aircraft see very high cycle times and that puts a lot of wear and tear on the seats. We can quickly and cost-effectively provide seat refurbishing and reupholstering services and programs."
"We have the specialized equipment and skilled craftspeople to fabricate foam to meet any operator's requirements," Triplett said. "That's a capability very few large airlines even have in-house. In fact we currently provide foam replacements and seat refurbishing services to many of the major air carriers around the world. Now we're offering those services to regional airlines."
Along with custom cut foam seating inserts and upholstery options, Mr. Triplett said that Skandia can supply maintainers of regional airliners with all of the materials and hardware they need to cost-effectively repair and refurbish the aircraft's seats. "But, if they prefer, they can ship the seats to our facility and we can do all the work for them," Jarod Triplett said. "Regional airlines are ‘right sized' to fit their markets, and we are ‘right sized' to meet their cabin and seat repair and refurbishment needs."