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In the past 100 or so years of flight, the aircraft industry has historically viewed coatings as a necessary evil to do business. The “Paint Process” was simply a means to structurally preserve the airframe by technicians who generally received little training regarding the importance of the tasks, which they performed. Recently, within the past 10-15 years, aerospace substrates have become much more sophisticated, as well as, the chemistry employed to formulate aerospace-grade coatings. This is particularly true with the advent of conductive composite materials in lieu of traditional aluminum alloys, and of course, high solids coatings.
Further, the EPA movement to eliminate the use of hexavalent chrome primers has posed a significant challenge to manufacturers and refurbishment aerospace coatings organizations (and obviously paint vendors) to find viable alternative coatings chemistry that will successfully protect metal substrates while limiting the environmental footprint of the coatings process. The tasks associated with coatings application have become extremely critical on a technical level. Aerospace Coatings is a unique science. The unfortunate truth is that the ubiquitous lack of technical training remains rampant within the aircraft industry to date, despite the aforementioned challenges the industry faces. Further, there has never been a legitimate way to verify a coatings technician’s skills, knowledge and abilities and therefore, individual accountability has been virtually non-existent.
- The truth about composite substrates.
- The truth regarding chrome vs. non-chrome pretreatments and primers.
- The truth about Aerospace Coatings Applicator Certification