Don Williams, left, and Troy Webster prepare the first Next-Generation 737 beam for processing in the new plating facility at Boeing’s Portland, Ore., site. The plating shop treats metal parts to make them more corrosion and wear resistant. The facility is investigating the possible use of an aqueous, or water-based, degreasing system to reduce the use of solvents, along with other possible chemical-reduction strategies. (Boeing photo)
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Meaningful progress in reducing the aerospace industry's environmental impacts requires cooperation among airplane manufacturers, their suppliers and customers, and regulators around the world.
Boeing is leading global collaboration that is finding solutions for often complex environmental challenges.
International Aerospace Environmental Group
Aerospace companies are required to identify and report chemicals and other substances used in the manufacturing of their products. It can be a daunting task: thousands of suppliers provide parts for airplanes. Boeing’s 747 has six million parts.
Boeing led the 2011 formation of the International Aerospace Environmental Group to help the industry develop common standards for working with the global supply chain on chemical regulations and other environmental issues. It has grown to 25 members -- including Airbus and several jet engine manufacturers -- who together represent over half of total aerospace market revenue.
The collaboration on chemical requirements is timely. The European Union, under the chemical regulation called REACH, has published a list of more than 100 chemicals and substances potentially used in aircraft manufacture that aerospace companies must report. To help the industry meet these requirements, IAEG has created a voluntary, standardized approach for companies to use with suppliers in collecting the data.
The common industry standard improves efficiency, reduces costs by eliminating the need for each company to develop its own system, and encourages the industry to identify environmentally responsible ways to replace these chemicals.
Later this year, the IAEG will release a common standard for collecting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. The group also is developing a standard environmental vocabulary to replace multiple forms of jargon used throughout the supply chain.
Boeing is leading industry efforts to find alternatives for hazardous materials used in manufacturing and operating aircraft. A major focus of research and development is on finding replacements for halon, used in aviation for fire protection.
Halon alternatives are available or undergoing testing to meet stringent requirements for use in the passenger cabin and flight deck. Two new industry collaborations launch in 2013 to find halon replacements for wider use in the engine, auxiliary power units and cargo compartments.
Boeing is helping to establish an industry research consortium to accelerate the development of an industrywide non-halon solution for propulsion systems fire protection. Boeing is also leading an industry working group to establish a time frame for developing cargo halon replacements for the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations organization that promotes global aviation safety.