Thread: How Far Enough?
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: How Far Enough?

Hamburg. Passenger aircraft have to be beautiful. In order to bring aircraft to a high gloss, are costly and time consuming painting process in action. A new system comes with far fewer layers of paint and also promises a better life - a world first comes from Hamburg.

Aircraft coatings must be durable. In flight they are exposed to freezing cold of minus 50 to minus 60 degrees on the tarmac, it may be 50, 60 degrees hot. The outer layers must be flexible (the wing of a large airplane swings at the tips of up to three meters), this stain-resistant and easy to clean. The paint and the environment's sake, they should contain little solvent as possible and no toxins.

"We paint our system for six to seven years have developed, including three years with Airbus," says Andreas Ossenkopf Mankiewicz from the company. The medium-sized enterprises (over 800 employees), with headquarters in William Castle has been producing more than 100 years, varnishes, and for the aircraft industry, though not yet for the outer skin of the machines. In order to break into that market, a whole new technology was needed.

Conventional coatings are applied in two, sometimes three shifts per color. The main surface is usually white or gray, depending on the design of the individual airlines will be more spot colors applied. At each color change drying times must be from eight to twelve hours. Can leave to a machine with multi-colored regalia, the paint shop, pass by several days - this caused a halt heavy costs for the aircraft maintenance and the airline.

The new paint system comes with each composed of a layer, depending on color, because the paints contain more pigment and clear it still have good flow properties - "this is due to a particular molecular composition of the binder," says Ossenkopf. When a color change has to wait only two hours until the freshly applied paint layer is dry. Here too, the novel formulation of the binder, the main role.

Unlike conventional methods, in the end, however, an additional layer necessary. A clear coat protects, similar to modern car body paints, the paint layers from UV radiation and provides the high gloss that is extremely durable, so the manufacturer. The clearcoat also creates a smoother surface that is easy to clean less polluted and more.

These advantages also sees Dr. Matthias Panten, head of aircraft painting at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. "The color layer, the so-called base coat covers, very good, so that each color creates a thinner layer. This saves weight and makes the coating more flexible." However, Lufthansa Technik has not calculated the saving in weight, because the differences in layer thicknesses range from a few hundredths of a millimeter and hang in practice also depends on the painter, the new product handling is maximized. The potential to save some weight percentages in future, be available but in any case, attested by Lufthansa expert.

More hope builds Panten on the durability of the paint... "Currently, the machines every five to seven years, re-painted This all color layers, often the primer is removed, the system with the clear coat could run seven to nine years if the practice confirms this prediction, we could in the course of a life of 30 aircraft, 40 years a save or two finishes. This reduces costs and helps the environment. "

Lufthansa is testing this year, the new coating on two short-haul and two long-haul aircraft, including the first A380 to the airline. His rudder was in May, the blue-yellow crane sign, the hull is painted in December.

The four machines are new buildings. "Lufthansa Technik is to certify the system for repainting," said Panter. KLM, the Dutch competition is a step further: they applied the Wilhelmsburger high-tech paint already in used machines, are already contributing a total of 23 aircraft, KLM Hamburger colors, but not red and white.

This combination of colors adorns the first jet with Mankiewicz coatings. He is in operation since December 2007 and comes from the other end of the world: a time of new Airbus 330, the Australian airline Qantas. Airbus celebrated the painting as a "key element to build more environmentally friendly flight course and increase eco-efficiency" - a real gem
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