Wing Tip Lens

Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens

Solid state LED lighting technology provides major benefits to the field of aviation. In addition to providing significantly longer life for critical exterior lighting on aircraft, it also reduces power consumption. At Reliable Formed Plastics, we engaged with a client in the aerospace industry for the production of a polycarbonate lens for an LED retrofit light assembly on the aft of Boeing’s MD88 airplane.

Our technical competencies enabled us to reverse engineer the lens cover and create the drawing for a new version that was fully interoperable with the existing lighting fixture. After finalizing the design, we used the solid model to program our CNC milling machine to produce the custom vacuum thermoforming mold. We also designed and built custom gauges and other measuring equipment to ensure that the thermoformed lens covers were dimensionally accurate.

We constructed the lens cover from a 3/16” thick sheet of water-clear Lexan™ 9034. In addition to being light in weight, this polycarbonate also featured important material properties, including the flame resistance and high impact strength needed to withstand harsh aviation environments. When completed, the lens cover featured dimensions of 5.9” in length x 3.00” in width x 4.25” in height. Our technicians carefully monitored all phases of production to ensure we upheld the required ±0.030” tolerances. Quality assurance involved both visual inspections during forming as well as in-process dimensional verification using the dedicated fixtures and gauges we had built for this product.

Ongoing production of this lens continues at the rate of approximately 200 units annually. This aircraft retrofit helps operators reduce maintenance time and cost by minimizing downtime associated with light bulb outages. To learn more about this project or our many industrial capabilities, contact us today.

Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens
Wing Tip Lens

Wing Tip Lens Specifications

Product Description
Polycarbonate Lens for an LED Retro-Fit Light Assembly on the aft of an MD88 Airplane Wing Tip
Capabilities Applied/Processes
Reverse Engineering
Custom Mold Fabrication
Thermoforming & CNC Routing / Trimming
  • Vacuum Forming
  • 5-Axis CNC Routing
Equipment Used to Manufacture Part
SolidWorks: CAD Design Software
Mastercam: CAM Software
CNC Milling Machine
Thermwood 5-Axis CNC Router
Custom Designed Vacuum Thermoforming Mold
Gauges and other measuring equipment
Overall Part Dimensions
Width: 3"
Height:  4.25"
Tightest Tolerances
± 0.030"
Material Used
Polycarbonate: 3/16" (Lexan 9034)
Material Finish
In process testing/inspection performed
Dimensional verification during CNC Process
Visual Q.C. during Forming
Industry for Use
Est. 200 per Year
Delivery Location
Southeastern U.S.

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