Bamboo? In a business jet cabin? Luke Schuette laughs, the kind of satisfied laugh you get from an entrepreneur who took a chance, launched a company and turned the dream to reality.
Lamboo is the company name, and Schuette is its founder and CEO. Lamboo is also the product, “an engineered bamboo product that is used within architectural, structural and design applications, and is structurally superior to its wood counterparts,” according to the Springfield, Ill.-based firm. Schuette describes the five product lines currently on the market as sustainable alternatives to standard building material composites currently in use, for everything from structural beams to panels to veneers.
It seemed logical to expand into the aviation market, Schuette told AIN in a recent interview as he noted the advantages of Lamboo Elite over current wood products used in the business jet cabin, among them:
• high dimensional stability that makes Lamboo Elite elements 20 percent more stable than hardwoods and up to 40 percent more stable than softwoods such as pine or Douglas fir.
• natural anti-fungal and antibacterial agents that are inherent in bamboo.
• bamboo’s chemical composition makes it extremely dense and stable under harsh conditions, such as high ramp temperatures or low temperatures at high altitudes.
• Lamboo products are created with low-VOC adhesives and do not produce off-gassing during sanding, profiling and handling.
• tools typically used for woodwork are equally effective with Lamboo, which can be milled, sanded and finished in a fashion similar to hardwoods.
Lamboo Elite, produced in panels, components and veneers, is designed specifically for the aviation industry, meets FAA flammability requirements and comes ready for finishing and installation.
“We’ve had numerous inquiries from aircraft manufacturers as well as from independent completion and refurbishment centers,” said Schuette. “Lamboo Elite has already begun appearing in cabin refurbishment projects.”
One of the most attractive elements of Lamboo Elite is that it originates from a highly sustainable material that is also easily recycled, important to a company committed to “social and economic sustainability.”
Schuette said his company has isolated four of the more than 1,600 bamboo varieties as possessing the superior cellular structure, mechanical properties and optimal yield characteristics desired. “It is sustainable in every sense of the word.”