Soaring to New Aerial Paint Heights

PPG, Sherwin-Williams release improved aerospace paint


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Two improved aerospace paints have recently been released to the market. The first is a “green” aerospace paint from PPG Industries called Desothane HD/CA 9000 basecoat/clearcoat, a chromate-free coating system that the company says reduces environmental impact, lowers weight and provides a smooth, glossy and highly durable finish.
Jazz Aviation had two regional aircraft repainted by Springer Aerospace in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which used Desothane 7502 epoxy primer and Desogel EAP-9 metal pretreatment, also from PPG.
“We’re excited to be able to pioneer these new PPG products in Canada,” says Richard Steer, vice president of maintenance and engineering, for Jazz. “We are a company that is committed to seeking innovative ways in which to reduce environmental impact as well as fuel cost and consumption. These products are lighter weight, more durable and longer lasting, which subsequently provides a greener paint system that is more environmentally friendly and also reduces costs.”
Ron Nakamura, PPG general manager and business manager for aerospace in Canada, says Jazz is the first airline in Canada to specify the complete green PPG system.
“Jazz jumped on the opportunity to be the first commercial operator in Canada to have aircraft painted with the newest green coatings technology,” Nakamura says. “One aspect of going green is the chromate-free pretreatment and primer formulations of our coatings system, which require no special handling or waste disposal. A second aspect is that the PPG green coatings system reduces the weight of painted aircraft by more than 30 pounds, resulting in fuel savings and lower emissions. Third, because Desothane HD/CA 9000 basecoat/clearcoat features high durability, we expect the repaint cycle to be extended by several years, leading to additional cost savings and green benefits.”
Nakamura says the PPG coatings system is made up of a heavily pigmented basecoat and a clear topcoat. He says using Desothane can reduce painting cycle process time by up to one full day because the fast-drying basecoat provides color in one coat, as compared with two or three coats in a typical system.
The fewer coats were a big draw for Springer and Jazz.
“It was amazing how well the basecoat covered. We were all surprised,” says Jeff Springer, president of Springer Aerospace. “It covered better than any new type of paint that I’ve seen in a very long time.”
Springer also was pleased with the “very glossy finish” and the fact that the clearcoat is applied over external markings and placards, unlike traditional systems in which they are painted on last.
“They’re susceptible to wear-and-tear of the elements, and they wear off quickly,” he says. “With this system, you apply clear right over all of those. I’m hoping that will make them last as long as the paint.”
Nakamura says that when Desoprime CF/CA 7502 epoxy primer is used in conjunction with DesoGel EAP-9 pretreatment, it offers excellent corrosion resistance and improves paint adhesion, but also reduces “rivet rash.” DesoGel EAP-9 pretreatment also requires no rinsing.
Meanwhile, Sherwin-Williams Aerospace has launched Skyscape, a new basecoat-clearcoat exterior paint system that the company says delivers faster processing time (two-hour dry time and no sanding between coats), more color and easier maintenance than similar products on the market that allows aviation MRO facilities and their paint shops to augment production schedules and turnaround more paint jobs.
The company says Skyscapes’ modified polyester topcoat is applied using an innovative basecoat-clearcoat process in which all colors are applied as a basecoat. After the basecoat dries, the entire surface of the aircraft is sprayed with a clearcoat finish. Color coat dry time is approximately two hours, which Sherwin-Williams says compares well to six to 10 hours for other systems.
J. Marc Taylor, The Sherwin-Williams Company Aerospace’s director of sales, says the paint delivers consistent viscosity between toners and yields outstanding flow and leveling. He says the new paint system offers a longer recoat time of up to 72 hours, which means less time in the painting process and no sanding required between coats.
Taylor also says baking is not required between topcoat layers, which can often lead to a savings in natural gas and utility throughout the year.
“Commercial aircraft can now get a business jet finish with a simpler, faster-to-apply product,” Taylor says. “Livery brand image is improved because planes look better longer; and easier maintenance and repair means shops can potentially be more profitable and deliver services more cost effectively.”
From a maintenance standpoint, Taylor says Skyscapes is easier to clean thanks to the clearcoat finish. He says it is also is easier to repair than traditional aviation painting systems because the buffable clearcoat can be repaired much faster than that of pigmented coatings.
Taylor says another benefit of Skyscapes coatings is less overall paint weight. One coat of Skyscapes basecoat with its higher pigment load—teamed with a clearcoat finish—actually weighs less than two coats of a traditional pigmented coating, he says.
Down the road, less weight can lead to fuel savings for airlines and aircraft owners.
For information on PPG Industries, visit PPG.com. For information on Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings, visit SWAerospace.com.