WILMINGTON — Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group, Inc., has received FAA approval of repair specifications for selected aircraft parts using the Supersonic Particle Deposition (SPD) process commonly known as “cold spray.”
“This groundbreaking approval is the first step in making the cold spray process commercially available for use in aircraft repairs,” said Greg Smith, Director of Engineering, Manufacturing and Repair at Airborne, “and it opens opportunities to seek approval for repairs of aircraft parts that are not currently repairable. Developing these emerging technologies is one of the values that we are providing our customers to meet their requirements in cost savings and reducing overall operational waste.”
The SPD process involves using a supersonic jet of expanded gas to spray metal powder onto a solid surface with sufficient energy to cause bonding with the surface. The material builds up and repairs the metal part or surface without creating a heat-affected zone. Airborne posted a video demonstration of the process on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXZdPqH3Y_s).
The approval is a result of three years of public-private collaboration funded by the State of Ohio designed to drive economic growth through advanced manufacturing in the State. The University of Akron’s National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance (NCERCAMP) led the project in collaboration with Airborne, SAFE Engineering, Inc., and U.S. Technology Corporation.