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Plexiglas helps performing rescue missions Plexiglas w helikopterach ratowniczych

Certified quality and optical properties

By the time Plexiglas gets in the air, it has already come a long way. It all begins at the Evonik plant in Weiterstadt, Germany, where the material is produced in a special casting process. Then, each Plexiglas sheet waiting to be delivered is certified in accordance with aviation standards. The aviation industry imposes high standards on acrylic in terms of optical quality, thickness tolerance, and mechanical properties. The material is then handed over to helicopter glazing specialists, Josef Weiss Plastic, to be processed further. The plastic is heated and stretched into the desired form. "This is crucial to ensure perfect visibility for the pilot," says Hornung. Each sheet is checked down to the last detail: Are there any optical defects in the material? Are the size and shape ok? Even a millimeter can make a difference. Every month, around seven sets of the finished glazing arrive at Eurocopter's German headquarters in Donauwörth. "If we order more material, it's usually here within three days," explains Hornung. Things soon start to get serious for the Plexiglas sheets. Air rescue missions place great demands on the materials.

Helicopters and their glazing have to withstand extreme changes in temperature, wind, and weather, as well as aggressive UV radiation.

Reliable operation

Germany's largest automobile club, the ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil Club), runs one of the two biggest air rescue squads in the country. The ADAC has 49 rescue helicopters in operation - rescue teams were called out a record number of times in 2012. Helicopters were dispatched 49,243 times, which equals 130 life-saving maneuvers a day. This means a lot of pressure for the rescue teams and the material, too. Based in Europe, the Eurocopter company is a leading manufacturer of helicopters. The nimble EC135 model wins customers over mainly thanks to its high performance, wide range, flexibility, and reliability. And what about the Plexiglas sheet? It flies on board the more than 1,000 EC135 models in operation worldwide - always there when every second counts.

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Evonik Industries AG

a worldwide manufacturer of PMMA products sold under the PLEXIGLAS trademark on the European, Asian, African and Australian continents and under the trademark ACRYLITE in the Americas