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Do You Have to Maintain Docket 90-A Requirements?

Rotational Molding Services - Docket 90-A

Do You Know What Docket 90-A Requirements Entails?


Companies utilizing different plastic molding processes have a number of specifications to meet with the final, as-molded parts, depending on specific end use.  The goal is to minimize hazards to the consumers in the event of a catastrophic accident involving the molded parts.


Specific Plastic Standards


Well known are the:

·         Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) ‘Yellow Card’ standards “…The basic testing program to achieve UL Recognition involves three identification tests: Infrared Spectroscopy (IR), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Additionally, plastics may be subjected to small scale flammability tests as well as a variety of ignition, mechanical, electrical, and short term thermal tests for application in other UL Recognized Components and UL Listed end products. Once the identification, flame tests, and short term physical tests are successfully completed, a unique grade designation and the respective ratings/classifications for the product is published on the ULiQ for Plastics database…” which rates the flammability of various plastics.


·          NSF International issues standards for contamination to potable water from molded plastic parts.


Specific Plastic Standards for Transit Bus and Van Materials


Another critical voluntary standard is referred to as the ‘Docket 90-A’, Recommended Fire Safety Practices for Transit Bus and Van Materials Selection.  More clearly put,

“The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a branch called the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) who makes recommendations for mass transit vehicles. The recommendations set forth by the FTA are not regulatory in nature, but are merely voluntary test procedures intended to be used to assess the fire risk of certain materials.

The recommendations in Docket 90-A primarily deal with flammability and smoke emission characteristics of transit bus and van materials. The FTA states that the major concern with materials being used in mass transit are smoke emission performance criteria and material behavior during ignition for those materials (KYDEX 6200® is a material primarily based for use in a mass transit vehicle that would primarily be used for shrouding on a seat or to protect the frame of the seat). In Docket 90-A, there are two tests used to determine acceptability of a material for mass transit use; ASTM E-162 and ASTM E662.”


Several Specific Plastic Materials


Kydex is a registered trademark of Kydex, LLC, and a material compliant in this class.  Also readily available is Bayer Material Science’s Bayblend MTR®, a blend of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).  Both are available in sheet form, making them conducive to vacuum forming.


Specific Plastic Test Standards


For more information on the testing procedures, the protocol utilizes American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards

·         ASTM E162 - 13 Standard Test Method for Surface Flammability of Materials Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source , and,

·         ASTM E662 - 13b Standard Test Method for Specific Optical Density of Smoke Generated by Solid Materials


Specific Plastic Processes


Much of the interest in these standards comes in the form vacuum forming, or in aerospace-grade, high temperature Precision Injection Molding Services.  The goal is to minimize the impact of burning materials (especially those in transport vehicles) on the passenger, in the event of a catastrophic accident. 


Also critical is the structural foam molded materials used in seat cushion padding, where, additional ASTM tests cover the impact of moisture on applied flame-retardant in vehicle seating.  The goal is to test the effectiveness of the flame-resistant material in the event of a coffee spill, etc.


In a recent article in Plastics Today, the topic came up in relation to the early July 2013 crash of Asiana 214 in San Francisco:

Flight attendants and first responders are receiving very well deserved praise for their fast and brave work to rapidly evacuate passengers from Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.


It's possible that investigators will want to add praise in another area as well -- the regulators and engineers who have transformed aircraft interiors from flaming and smoky tinderboxes to cabins that are much slower-burning and significantly less toxic.


The result in the case of the Asiana Boeing 777 was enough time to evacuate all of the passengers.” 

While many deaths related to aircraft crashes are due to both blunt force trauma and flaming jet fuel, the Asiana incident reveals the impact of limiting and controlling the flammables in the cabin.


Combustible Materials in Wide-Body Aircraft


  Weight, KG Component Weight, KG
Seats 1500 Linings 500
Acoustic Insulation 400 Electrical Insulation 200
Decorative Panels 1600 Windows 500
Textiles 900 Small parts and rubber 500
Air Ducts 500 Safety equipment 1000

Source: FAA


When All Else Fails, Listen to Your Customer!


Check your client’s specific requirements and ask the questions of your supplier, or their representative.  As a former Supply Chain guy using a significant amount of both UL Yellow Card and NSF-qualified materials, the molders and their representatives became knowledgeable, source authorities to assure compliance.  If you don’t ask the question, you will never know!