The Glue Talk Blog

Adhesives, Inflatables, and Saving Lives

Posted 12 Jun 2018 by Karl Huelsenbeck, General Manager, Industrial Solvent & Water-based Adhesives

While we certainly hope that no one would ever need an emergency inflatable slide on an airplane or ship, we understand that it is important to be prepared. Life is unpredictable, so if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, we want you to be safe. This is why we have partnered with inflatable slide manufacturers to help build slides that will get you to safety.

The Details

 There are numerous types of inflatable slides used on various types of aircraft. Each one is designed differently depending on the door and configuration of the aircraft. At H. B. Fuller, our division in Wayne, New Jersey, manufactures the adhesives and coatings used to fabricate many parts of the emergency inflatable slides.

The majority of the evacuation units are made from polyurethane, and our two-part polyurethane adhesives are used to bond the coated fabrics. Additionally, there are slides made from polychloroprene (neoprene) coated fabrics, and our two-part polychloroprene adhesive is used to fabricate those.We also make several two-part aluminized coatings that are used on the slides and that act as a radiant heat reflective coating to ensure the slides remain inflated under severe heat conditions that could be present from an engine or aircraft fire.

Inflatables in Action

Evacuation slides need be ready for emergency situations at all times. In fact, according to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, “no person may cause an airplane carrying passengers to be moved on the surface, take off, or land unless each automatically deployable emergency evacuation assisting means is ready for evacuation.”

One of the more historical events that involved the use of inflatable slides that used our adhesives was the Miracle on the Hudson, where the evacuation slide/rafts were successfully deployed after US Airways Flight 1549 lost all engine power northeast of the George Washington Bridge in January 2009. All 155 people onboard were rescued. The slides were used as rafts, which are present on planes that travel over water.

Each year, there are numerous incidents where this technology saves lives by allowing passengers to safely evacuate a plane, including crashes, engine fires, sliding off of the runway, or landing gear failure. H.B. Fuller is proud to be involved with the manufacturing of adhesives that save lives. Our adhesives pass the Technical Standard Order (TSO) requirements mandated by the FAA, and the specific performance characteristics our customers require.

Learn more about how H.B. Fuller continues to perfect adhesives that are saving lives, and contact us today.

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