Airline cuts costs with in-house thermoforming
The Maintenance Operations Division of United Airlines is responsible for the production of thousands of plastic components and parts for United's entire fleet of 600 aircraft. Recognizing that thermo...
The Maintenance Operations Division of United Airlines is responsible for the production of thousands of plastic components and parts for United’s entire fleet of 600 aircraft. Recognizing that thermoforming is a cost-effective production method, the division thermoforms its own parts, including several high volume parts, such as tray tables, chair parts, armrest covers and light lenses.
The majority of the parts produced by this division are formed of Kydex 100 from Kleerdex, a flame-retardant, FAA-approved material.
United recently purchased a new 5 ft. by 8 ft. single station thermoformer from MAAC Machinery to accommodate the large size and high volume of parts.
United presents the example of galley pans (which are used in the bottom of an aircraft to contain moisture) to demonstrate the cost savings of in-house thermforming. If United were to buy galley pans for a 747-400 from an outside source the cost would be approximately $1100 each. Forming the parts in-house brings the per unit cost down to $150 to $250. Over a three year period, United officials calculate the cost savings to be in the range of $400,000.
MAAC Machinery Corp. 800/588-MAAC