Tech

April 19, 2012

Robotics offer greener aircraft paint stripping

by Karla Saia
Air Force News
Air Force photograph by Lt. Col. David Pugh
Terry Yonkers and Timothy Bridges get a close up look at a new cutting-edge technology Johnstown, Pa. April 4, 2012 that's expected to reduce pollution and the exposure of Airmen to hazardous compounds. Currently, the technology is being used at Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, Utah, to remove coatings from F-16 radomes. Yokers is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, and Bridges is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

The assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics got a close up look at a new, cutting-edge technology in Johnstown, Penn., April 4 that’s expected to reduce pollution and the exposure of Airmen to hazardous compounds.

Terry Yonkers’ visit to the headquarters of Concurrent Technologies Corporation, a partner in the Air Force development of laser aircraft paint stripping components, was an advanced observance of Earth Day.

Aircraft painting and depainting operations are often an overlooked source of pollution as well as a cause of Airmen being exposed to hazardous compounds. However, the state-of-the-art laser technology and robotics may offer a solution for a host of environmental, safety and occupational health, and budgetary challenges.

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is actively pursuing automated laser coating removal. The commercially available system can improve depot depaint operations both in terms of minimizing environmental toxins and providing significant cost savings.

“This is an outstanding example of how we all can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our Air Force,” Yonkers said. “This technology will not only eliminate a hazardous waste stream; it will also reduce costs, reduce process flow time, reduce worker exposure to potential hazards, and (it) can improve the consistency and quality of the operation.”

The advanced robotic laser coating removal system could reduce Airmen exposure to toxic chemicals by as much as 75 percent, according to Tom Naguy, the senior program manager for environment and energy in AFRL’s materials and manufacturing directorate, which is spearheading the project.

“We could also realize initial savings up to $8 million per year,” Naguy added.

For years, aircraft and parts depainting has been a labor-intensive task, involving by-hand application of toxic paint-strippers to a variety of aircraft components, he said. The robotic system, by contrast, uses powerful, targeted lasers to remove paint from an airplane’s substrate.

“The beauty of this approach is that it is both scalable and adaptable,” Naguy said. “We can use the same set of tools for depainting an F-16 as we use on a C-130. And there is no advance programming required for these robots. Sensors placed slightly ahead of the coating-removal end of the laser scan the surface of the component to develop a three-dimensional map of the part surface in real time and adjust the robotic motions accordingly.”

The system realizes vast reductions in power consumption, greenhouse gas emission equipment, maintenance costs and waste products associated with traditional chemical removal processes.

“A greener work environment is an inherently more efficient environment,” Yonkers said. “I commend the outstanding work AFRL has done in transitioning new technologies that reduce pollution and waste generated in the sustainment of our weapons systems.”

Currently, the technology is being used at Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, to remove coatings from F-16 Fighting Falcon radomes. The center is actively pursuing approvals to expand use of the current system for C-130 Hercules radomes, as well as F-16 and C-130 flight controls.

“Once all aspects of the demonstration have been evaluated and reported, the hope is we can become fully operational at depots enterprise-wide,” Naguy said.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs August 18, 2014

New U.S. strikes in Iraq include land-based bombers The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign. U.S. Central Command says a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones hit targets near Iraq’s largest dam...
 
 

Headlines August 18, 2014

News NATO would respond militarily to Crimea-style infiltration: general If Russia tries to infiltrate troops into a NATO country, even out of official military uniform as it did before it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, NATO will respond militarily, the alliance’s top commander said in an interview published Aug. 17. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/17/us-ukraine-crisis-breedlove-i...
 
 

U.S. Navy to test, evaluate Lockheed Martin industrial exoskeletons

Lockheed Martin has received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons. This marks the first procurement of Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons for industrial use. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s...
 

 

Orbital completes third cargo delivery mission to ISS

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced Aug. 18 the successful completion of its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply...
 
 

Brown extends tax credit to Northrop Grumman

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that extends a $420 million state tax credit to aerospace giant Northrop Grumman after approving a similar deal for its competitor, Lockheed Martin. Brown’s office announced Aug. 15 that he signed SB718 by Sens. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Sen. Stephen Knight, R-Palmdale. It expands an aerospace tax credit...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin

Bomber crews showcase take-off talents

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_8qr7ojpWg&feature=player_embedded Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin A B-52H Stratofortress starts its engines during a Minimum Interval Takeoff on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Au...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>