Dry Ice Blasting with Cold Jet
[Web Information Archive - circa 2004]




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Dry Ice Blasting for Aircraft Surface Preparation

On a tour of one of the Maintenance Operations Center ("M.O.C.") of one of the United States' major air carriers, we observed numerous operations employing hazardous materials, which the Cold Jet dry ice blasting process had already replaced in similar operations of other aerospace and non-aerospace companies. Following are the applications for Cold Jet dry ice blasting we saw on the tour:

Dry Ice Blasting for Non-aircraft Parts Cleaning/Paint Removal

Tow Hitches:
These parts are traditionally grit blasted to remove the standard yellow paint used on all GSE. These parts can be easily cleaned and de-painted in a one step process using Cold Jet dry ice blasting.

Machine Tools:
Cleaning solvents and grit blasting are used to clean and de-paint large machine tools for maintenance and overhaul. On-line cleaning can be accomplished with a Cold Jet dry ice blasting system using readily available shop air. Also, the logistical expenditures required to move machine tools to grit blasting locations for de-painting are eliminated with the Cold Jet dry ice blasting system as it can be taken to the machine tool's location. Plus, the Cold Jet dry ice blasting system means greatly reduced waste.

Dry Ice Blast Cleaning for Non-flight Critical Aircraft Parts Cleaning/Paint Removal

Brake Assemblies:
Brake assemblies used to be broken down into their component parts and cleaned by solvents and high-pressure water in the F-12 cleaning room. With a Cold Jet dry ice blasting system these heavily constructed parts can be cleaned while assembled and/or as individual parts. Carbon, grease and dirt are the contaminants removed.

Paint stripping fiberglass radomes used to be done by hand sanding. Like other traditional paint removal processes, ply damage and/or delamination can occur. Hand sanding radomes is time and labor intensive and is therefore costly. The Cold Jet/Flashjet process has proven successful at removing paint coatings on F15 fiberglass radomes, both to primer layers and/or to the bare composite. NDI testing of the structures by McDonnell Aircraft Company after paint stripping has revealed no ply damage or delamination after application of the Cold Jet/Flashjet process. Stripping rates of 1.5 to 2.0 square feet (0.14 to 0.19 square meters) per minute have been achieved at a cost per square foot of less than $5.00 (or less than $54.00 per square meter).

Dry Ice Blast Cleaning for Flight Critical Aircraft Parts Cleaning/Depainting

Plating Shop:
Perchloroethane is used to remove a heavy black wax masking material that protects non-plateable areas on the parts going through the plating process.

The Cold Jet dry ice blasting process provides outstanding results on the removal of this kind of material. The parts coated with this material were of heavy construction and could easily be cleaned with the dry ice blasting process without any damage potential.

Accessory Drive Gearboxes:
These very heavily constructed items require extensive solvent cleaning throughout various stages of disassembly. The dry ice blasting process effectively replaces these chemical processes and allows thorough "assembled" cleaning where feasible. Thus, man-hours, required for disassembly and cleaning, and the costs associated with them, are greatly reduced.

Vapor De-Greasing:
A tank of 1.1.1. Trichloroethane is dedicated solely to vapor de-greasing parts of all sizes, shapes and proportions prior to painting. The main function of this operation is to remove light dirt and fingerprints accumulated on parts during routing and handling through the various stages of maintenance. A large majority of these parts are now dry ice blast cleaned using a variety of nozzles for the many different sized and shaped parts.

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And for more specific and technical information see our technical papers.


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