Next-Gen Jets Driving New Repair Technology Trends
But innovations in repair technologies are indeed taking place. In September, Spirit AeroSystems introduced a radical, out-of-autoclave repair process for composite propulsion system components. “Generally, the repair techniques and materials used for the out-of-autoclave process apply to all propulsion family products that Spirit manufactures, but we have found that the [part with the] most imminent need for this technology is the thrust reverser inner wall,” says John Welch, the Wichita-based company’s chief scientist, global customer support and services. The repair, he reports, was granted FAA approval as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) following 18 months of testing and data substantiation.
AAR’s Scott Ingold adds that the company introduced cold-spray technology to extend the life of the integrated lower control actuator on the U.S. Army’s Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter. “Unlike thermal spraying technologies, the powders used are fused—not melted—through kinetic energy,” he says. “This prevents the part from being exposed to heat, which introduces weakening stress into the component. For this reason, thermal spraying techniques cannot be applied to certain materials such as magnesium, so this technology introduces repairs for parts where there was previously no possibility of repair.”