Rival smart glass supplier targets 787 electrochromic windows

Washington DC
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A rival smart glass supplier has targeted the Boeing 787 electrochromic windows as a potential replacement opportunity.

Research Frontiers chief executive Joseph Harary says customer dissatisfaction with the 787's dimmable window technologies could drive the airframer to consider a switch. "We can't comment on this other than to say that [Boeing is] very much aware of how effectively our licensees in the aircraft market can solve their current problems that they have with the electrochemical windows on the 787 Dreamliner in terms of the slow switching speed, the transmission of too much heat, and the inability to effectively darken the cabin," Harary said on 14 March in a earnings teleconference with analysts.

The Boeing 787 now uses electrochromic windows supplied by Gentex and integrated into PPG Aerospace's interactive window systems. The dual-ply windows can change colour, as an electrical current generates a chemical reaction that alters the opacity of the window.

Three months before the 787s were grounded in January, Boeing officials acknowledged an ongoing study to determine if they have found the "sweet spot" for the 787's electrochromic window controls.

Research Frontiers believes it can offer Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers an alternative.

"One of the things also that I think has helped us there has been somewhat of a public dissatisfaction that's growing among passengers and airline customers with the speed in the darkness of existing electrochemical window technologies," Harary said.