PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Resource Guide Extreme Temperatures

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


New Air Force Spray Technology Measures Wet Coating Thickness

Friday, September 24, 2010

Comment | More

U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force researchers have developed what they say is the first nondestructive technology to measure the thickness of specialty paint coatings as they are applied.

An Air Force Research Laboratory materials engineering team has successfully demonstrated the integration of a paint spray robot with a sensor—specifically, a miniature Class I, Division 1-compliant time domain terahertz sensor—for real-time cure monitoring of coating materials as they are applied to aircraft surfaces, the Air Force announced Friday (Sept. 24).

“By ensuring the application of coatings to the correct thickness the first time, the integrated spray booth/sensing capability will eliminate costly sanding, rework and/or reapplication tasks, increasing confidence in coating materials and helping to ensure that production schedules—in this case, for the F-35—are met,” the statement said.

Development and Testing

Aircraft maintainers commonly apply specialty coatings via robot or by hand, the Air Force notes. Measurement of coating thickness—a critical component in material performance—has traditionally used destructive tests, witness coupons, or other measurement systems—all of which require contact with a dry coating surface.

To address the issue, AFRL partnered with Northrop Grumman and Picometrix, of Ann Arbor, MI, which manufactures terahertz instrumentation. The team conducted initial testing and demonstration of a noncontact TD THz instrument for in-process cure monitoring of specialty material coatings.

That instrumentation had been developed under an earlier, Small Business Innovation Research Phase II effort. With the aid of computer simulations, the AFRL/industry team determined the optimal size of the sensing package, as well as the best location for incorporating the sensor into the automated spray system.

Spray Challenges

Key to development success was the capacity to mate the sensor to the spray system without altering the production spray path or qualified procedures, the Air Force said. Although the system had performed successfully in lab demonstrations, achieving comparable results in a production environment was critical to complete the program and transfer the technology.

“Ultimately, a production demonstration confirmed that the measurement system could be successfully mounted to the robot and accurately measure wet coating thickness during a spray event,” the Air Force said.

Additional data collection, validation tests, and system deployment activities are slated to occur under a SBIR Phase II extension effort through Fiscal Year 2011.

Operational Plans

Meanwhile, the TD THz instrument is undergoing development for operation in the production line/quality assurance process at Northrop Grumman's paint booth facility in Palmdale, CA.

Recent testing demonstrated the system installation concept (i.e., placement of the control unit in the control room, as well as routing of the umbilical cord to the gantry and the robot arm).

“Researchers achieved sensor operation exhibiting no loss in fidelity or electrical interference with the sensor signal and thus enabling high-quality measurements over the range of sensor-tilt angles of interest,” the Air Force reported.

   

Tagged categories: Air spray; Coating / Film thickness; Paint application; Specialty functions; U.S. Air Force

Comment from G. Randall Ware, (9/27/2010, 7:24 AM)

The picture of the planes is over the 1st paragraph.


Comment from Donald Lawson, (9/29/2010, 10:03 AM)

The current methods all require the contact of a wet (not dry) coating surface.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

ITW Binks
Built for Tough Jobs

From Epoxies to Urethanes to other high solid coatings, the new Binks Airless 75 delivers a great finish using an ergonomic design. Visit binks.com for more information.


Termarust Technologies
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion

Truss bridge treated with Termarust's (HR CSA) in 1995. This highway & rail truss bridge is still stable and there still is no active corrosion.


Mohawk Garnet
Enska by Mohawk Garnet™

A safe, efficient and economical abrasive alternative to slag and sand products. More information
at 1.866.642.7638 or info@mohawkgarnet.com Email for follow up – mheilimo@mohawkgarnet.com


Simpson Strong-Tie
Repair, Protect & Strengthen

Need a coating? Turn to Fox. We have solutions to repair, protect and strengthen concrete, steel and wood substrates. Call 888-760-0369 or email info@foxind.com


Spider, a Division of SafeWorks, LLC
Spider’s Competent Person Training

What will Spider’s CPT class do for you?
• OSHA compliance
• Increased productivity
• Improved safety
   awareness
• Fewer accident-related
   costs
Call 877-774-3370 or click for classes near you.


MMLJ
Superfast Dustless Abrasive Blasting - Watch Video

Dustless Blasting creates no dust plume so others can work nearby unaffected. Maximize Productivity! Watch our numerous YouTube videos to learn more.


Denso North America Inc.
Denso Tank Base
Protection System

An easily applied prevention system, utilizing Denso tapes and coatings around the tank base, that helps prevent corrosion from external elements.
Call 1-281-821-3355 or Visit www.densona.com

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com