Boeing has teamed up with Australia’s national science agency to produce an aircraft paint and application process that has not only saved millions of dollars, but also reduced painter injuries.
The “spray on and leave on” paint eliminates the need for manual sanding and applying multiple layers of paint whenever an aircraft needs repainting for a new decorative finish, refurbishment or repair, according to Boeing and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
|The new “spray on and leave on” paint developed by Boeing and CSIRO has been applied to more than 800 commercial aircraft.|
The paint is just one of a wide range of technological innovations developed during the 23-year, $110 million research partnership between the aircraft giant and Australian science agency. The parties have just signed a five-year, $25 million extension to the venture.
The simple “spray on and leave on” paint technology has replaced an aircraft repainting process that was not only time-consuming and laborious, but also produced Boeing’s highest rate of injury, the parties say.
The technology involves applying a metal alkoxide-based surface treatment that modifies and activates an “aged” paint surface, forming a strong chemical bond with the fresh paint layer.
“Since June 2008, this technology has been applied to over 800 commercial aircraft including recent deliveries to both Qantas and Virgin Australia, resulting in multimillion-dollar cost savings,” says Australian Sen. Chris Evans, a former union official who now is Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations.
The partnership has also produced technology innovations in sustainable aviation fuels, aircraft assembly processes, fire retardants and aircraft maintenance management software. Renewal of the partnership should yield additional advances for the Australian aerospace industry, the parties say.
‘Real Technological Breakthroughs’
“This new $25 million agreement represents the next stage in what has been an extremely successful relationship between CSIRO and Boeing that has delivered real technological breakthroughs for the industry,” said Ian Thomas, President of Boeing Australia & South Pacific.
The relationship has also played a key role in the development of Boeing's operations in Australia—most notably, the decision to establish R&D laboratories in Brisbane and Melbourne, the parties say.
There are now 37 scientists employed within these facilities, many of whom collaborate with CSIRO on joint projects.