ICE BLASTING IN THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY
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:
Ice Blasting for Non-aircraft Parts Cleaning/Paint Removal
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.
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.
Ice Blast Cleaning for Non-flight Critical Aircraft Parts Cleaning/Paint
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).
Ice Blast Cleaning for Flight Critical Aircraft Parts Cleaning/Depainting
Perchloroethane is used to remove a heavy black wax
masking material that protects non-plateable areas on the parts
going through the plating process.
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.
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.
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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