The evolution of saf-Tglo®

Emergency Exit Marking System for Aircraft Cabins

Bright ideas have shaped the remarkable journey of STG Aerospace over the past almost 30 years. Starting in a fiercely competitive market in 1995, an unwavering commitment to innovation has helped us to become a market-leading supplier of high-performing and robust lighting solutions, illuminating more than 10,000 aircraft worldwide, with many patented products in our range.

In this article, we throw a spotlight on our pioneering saf-Tglo® emergency exit marking system and reflect on the evolution to its present iteration, the SSUL-X™ generation.


Pioneering photoluminescence

STG’s very first innovation was sparked by an aircraft incident in the UK, which underscored the urgent need to address regulatory requirements for emergency evacuations. In response, we created our first patented photoluminescent floor path marking system, aptly named 'Standard'. Existing electrical systems led to frequent grounding of aircraft, known as Aircraft on Ground (AOG) incidents, due to electrical faults, causing costly delays. Our solution harnessed photoluminescent technology that is failsafe, even if all power sources fail.

The objective was to visually mimic the appearance of an electrical floor path marking system. While this initial product immediately proved more reliable and long-lasting, its replication of the electrical incumbent's look and installation, made it unnecessarily heavy and aesthetically flawed, failing to seamlessly integrate into the carpet.


Evolution to saf-Tglo® SuperSeal™

Undeterred, our commitment to continuous improvement led to the development of SuperSeal™. This 36mm wide system not only introduced a spectrum of daylight colours, but also addressed the weight and integration issues. SuperSeal™ was meticulously engineered to sit flush with the carpet, protecting it from galley cart damage and featuring a patented sealed design, to prevent liquids from compromising photoluminescent pigments.


Going lightweight with saf-Tglo® SSUL™

In 2015, we launched SuperSeal UltraLight™ (SSUL™) which was 33% lighter in weight than SuperSeal and half the width. The innovation made SSUL the narrowest system available on the market at just 18mm. It offered a range of daylight colours, including the new innovations of PatternMatch®, by which the path marking imitates the pattern of the cabin floor making it virtually invisible under normal daylight conditions. We also introduced  BrandMatch®, where airlines could incorporate their brand logos or designs within the daylight appearance of the track. All this and with a quick installation time of just one hour.


Easy does it with the saf-Tglo® SSUL-X™ Generation

Jump to 2019 and we launched our latest generation, the SSUL-X™ series. Boasting even easier installation and a range of aesthetic customisation options, the SSUL-X™ series can be installed in under one hour for single aisle jets. Eliminating unattractive borders and offering a diverse colour palette, this series empowers airlines to enhance cabin features and align floor path marking with brand designs. From over 100 approved daylight colour options, our offerings enable customers to achieve seamless brand synergy in their cabin aesthetics.

Our team is always working to enhance the installation experience. STG Aerospace no longer utilises end-caps in sealed designs, eliminating the need to disassemble products before on-wing cutting. The SSUL-X™ series is available in four widths, including our latest breakthrough, SSUL-X11™ (introduced in 2022). At just 11mm wide, this is now the narrowest floor path marking system on the market and creates the illusion of a wider and more open aisle. Airlines now have the flexibility to choose between keeping their existing carpet cut-outs or transitioning to a narrower system.


How we work at STG

Since the beginning of our journey with 'Standard' and SuperSeal™, our team has remained dedicated to continual improvement and innovation with a series of enhanced saf-Tglo® products that each solve a particular customer challenge or build on the innovations of the previous product.

Taking a holistic approach to product development, we conduct extensive stakeholder research to identify key industry demands. This invaluable feedback enables us to craft products that offer solutions and mitigate challenges for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and airlines. Our priority has always been to create products that are durable, robust, and easy to install. The combination of patented sealed designs and hydrophobic pigments reinforces the longevity of our products, allowing us to offer unlimited life guarantees.


Colour innovation

Our commitment to colour innovation culminated in the launch of saf-Tglo® blu™, the world’s only blue glowing photoluminescent floor path marking system. The groundbreaking and award-winning product provides enhanced interior aesthetics, illuminating exit ways with a soothing blue tone, without compromising passenger safety.

With our latest SSUL-X™ generation, we also introduced the industry’s first red photolum daylight colour, a daylight colour previously thought to be impossible!


Industry recognition and accolades

The journey from our initial photoluminescent innovation to today’s extensive product offering has not gone unnoticed. Leading global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Boeing, recognised the many advantages of saf-Tglo® and chose it as a line-fit in 2000. The same year, we proudly received the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and Innovation, an honour we have achieved four times to date. In addition, our consistent dedication to excellence has been acknowledged with the Boeing Best Performance Excellence Supplier Award for 12 consecutive years.

Since 2007, we have also offered our photoluminescent expertise via a signage range. saf-Tglo® Signage™ serves as progression signage throughout the cabin, aiding existing Emergency Exit Marketing Systems and providing additional passenger information and prompts, such as no smoking and exit signs.

With almost three decades of relentless innovation, we are proud that STG Aerospace has emerged as the partner of choice for the design, manufacture and supply of certified and cost-effective lighting solutions in the market. Today, we stand poised to build on our legacy, creating, designing, and developing cutting-edge aerospace lighting solutions for the present and future.


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