Aerospace Coating Canada

aerospace coating

Aerospace Coating in Canada

Aerospace coating, or sometimes referred as aircraft paint, aircraft coating or aviation coating, include coatings for commercial and business aviation as well as for military air market, satellites and launch vehicles. Therefore, airplanes, helicopters, jets and other aircrafts flying above Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and all over Canada are also aerospace coated. The aerospace coatings market covers OEM (original equipment manufacturers) and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) branches.

The aerospace coatings market is very broad. Therefore this article focuses on coatings applied on airplanes.

The Different Types of Coatings on Airplanes

Many different types of coatings are applied on airplanes due to the fact that they are complex compositions which must endure extreme operating environments.

An airplane is coated from the inside and the outside. The interior coatings must be resistant to corrosion for a long time due to limited access. An interior coating is often good for 20 years. The exterior, for its part, must be repainted more often.

Like most of the coatings, aerospace exterior coatings also have decorative and protective purposes. For example airline companies often express their logos and slogans on the airplanes. For instance, Air Canada’s red, white and silver . Additionally, the coatings can positively affect the performance. The following are some advantages of aviation paint:

  • Protect from climate extremes and contamination
  • Prevent corrosion, fading and aging of the paint
  • Resisting dirt and other contamination
  • Improve laminar flow and reduce drag leading to lower fuel consumption
  • Protect the surface from chemicals such as anti-ice and hydraulic fluids

Development of aerospace coatings

Aircraft paint and coatings are constantly further developed to increase the quality and improve the properties. The aerospace coatings market is concerned with economic and environmental sustainability. Therefore, aerospace coatings and paint technology is constantly improving. Nano coatings for dirt resistance and drag resistant coatings are constantly developed and tested. It is also important that the coatings retain shiny colours for long time.

Why are airplanes usually white?

Aviation coatings are available in a range of colours. Did you know that airplanes are actually green when they come out of the production line? However, most airplanes end up painted white. Did you ever wonder why? Here are several reasons:

  • White is the cheapest and lightest (weight) colour
  • White preserves the least heat
  • Blank white surface makes it possible to easily decorate the surface for marketing purposes

How to apply aerospace coating?

The interior of airplanes are mostly coated during the production phase and normally do not have to be recoated. The exterior is a different story.

A commercial airplane exterior (Boeing 737) is coated on average every seven years and requires 8-15 people working 24/7 and 8-10 days. The aerospace coating process for airplanes includes the following steps:

  1. Stripping the aircraft
  2. Applying primer
  3. Applying paint with high volume, low pressure spray
  4. Letting the coating dry (from 12h to a week)

The application process is long and costly. Therefore, it is important that the aviation coating is durable so that it does not need to be reapplied often. It should also be locally available due to the fact that the delivery costs may be very high. Last but not least it should be fast drying to increase productivity and decrease the time the aircraft is “out of business”.

How much does it cost to paint an airplane?

The costs of the complete process lay between 100.000 CAD and 200.000 CAD. The costs may be increased depending on the origin and destination of the coating. Aviation coatings have a high VOC content. Therefore, hazardous goods delivery fees add in to the total costs.

Availability of aerospace coatings

There are a handful of companies providing aerospace coatings. For example the world’s leading coating manufacturers Akzo Nobel and Sherwin Williams.

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