Concurrent Technologies extends work on laser coatings removal system for aircraft

Johnstown, PA -- Concurrent Technologies Corp. (CTC) has been awarded a task order under the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE) Program to continue its efforts to design, validate, and implement laser coatings removal systems.

The new task order will leverage both previously completed and ongoing work with CTC and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that combines laser technology with robotic manipulation systems to replace traditional coatings removal processes. Specifically, the task order comprises two related efforts to develop and demonstrate an automated fiber laser coatings removal system for use on fighter and cargo aircraft processed at Air Logistics Centers (ALCs).

Complete aircraft depainting, part of normal maintenance at Department of Defense (DoD) facilities, uses abrasive dry media or chemical paint removers which generates solid waste that is difficult, time consuming and expensive to collect and manage.

"The task to depaint fighter-size and cargo-size aircraft is substantial. These processes also generate significant amounts of solid hazardous waste annually," stated Jim Arthur, CTC principal process engineer and project manager. "Automated laser decoating is expected to significantly reduce labor, waste volume, environmental risk, and overall cost."

CTC and AFRL have been working on laser coatings removal since 1999. In 2011, CTC demonstrated a robotic system installed at Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC) at Hill AFB that eliminated 36,000 gallons of hazardous waste annually from decoating F-16 radomes, providing $330,000 in annual cost savings. It also was faster and more efficient in removing the coatings, which increased the depot's coatings removal capacity.

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