WILMINGTON — Faster, market competitive, and safer airplane repairs. Those are the goals of a project by the University of Akron and Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services (AMES) in obtaining Federal Aviation Administration approval for “cold spray” repair of corroded and worn parts on commercial aircraft.
A demonstration was held Monday at the Wilmington Air Park of what the Supersonic Particle Deposition (SPD) can do. Scott Fawaz, Principal Engineer and President of Safe Engineering, spoke about what SPD is.
“It’s a state-of-the-art technology where you essentially can take a part that’s been damaged by corrosion, fretting, or chafing — these normal things that happen in just having an aircraft service — and then you can apply cold-spray on top of that damage after you remove it and essentially restore the part to its original blueprint dimension,” said Fawaz.
The technique involves a high-pressure spraying process in which metal particles contained in a supersonic jet of an expanded gas impact a solid surface with sufficient energy to cause bonding with the surface. This additive manufacturing process builds up and repairs the surface of the metal part without creating a heat-affected zone that would occur during welding or high-temperature thermal spray.
Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Cliff Rosenberger and President Pro-Tem of the Ohio Senate Bob Peterson spoke about what they think this means for Ohio.
“As much as possible we’ll always continue to find ways to continue to advance what’s going on at the air park,” said Rosenberger. “I’m just amazed to watch this process. Anytime we can continue to invest in technology that allows a place of business in our state to advance and be more efficient and create jobs is a win-win.”
Rosenberger said that it’s amazing what kind of things can be done today and what opportunities that locals will have.
“They’ll be able to continue to refine it, make it better in partnership with the University of Akron and hopefully prove to the Federal Aviation Administration that this is technology worthy of using in the future.”
Brady Templeton, President of AMES, said they were contacted by the University of Akron to consider partnering with a study they were conducting on aerospace corrosion. He said that this technology would help reduce costs and the service time needed for a plane.
Templeton said that jobs creation is not a part of this first phase.
“Phase one is to prove and get this process certified.,” he said. “Once it’s certified it’s limitless in terms of the type of equipment, the amount of equipment, the locations we have it, the number of parts we have certified.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574