I am the Finishing Manager of an aircraft manufacturing plant. We currently use a lot of masking tape in prepping new aircraft for paint. This is time consuming and wasteful. I had a previous life in the plating world and we had molded plastic caps, plugs and whatever to aid us in protecting areas that weren’t to receive any plating.
We have a lot of protruding parts from the fuselage that I think would benefit from using molded plastic masking aids. I have made contact with a supplier I know from my plating days. I would like to have some other suppliers as an alternative if my old supplier cannot provide what I need. Any advice you can provide would be appreciated. G. R.
Your problem is not really unique because many other painting operations use lots of masking tape. I agree that masking aircraft assemblies with tape is both tedious and expensive. There are many other better ways to mask. Paint masking fixtures come in all sizes and shapes. Suppliers of Masking Caps, Discs, Plugs and suppliers of Masking Devices, spray painting can be found in the Products Finishing 2005 Directory and Technology Guide (www.pfonline.com/suppliers.html).
Getting a mask will be the easy part. I don't mean to imply masks are too expensive, but the hard part will be making the calculations to justify the cost of the mask vs. the cost of hand taping. Assuming an aircraft production line is not like a refrigerator line, the number of times a mask will be used will be limited. However, using a mask will probably still be less expensive than hand taping.