Planes and other types of aircraft are among the most sophisticated transportation machines. However, some still rely on old equipment and materials. In fact, some aircraft have been actively used since the 1980s.
Throughout the decades that aircraft are in use, they need constant maintenance and repairs. These repairs can be enormously challenging and expensive when the parts are no longer available. However, a new process and technology called Cold Spray (CS) could change all this.
What is Cold Spray?
According to reports, CS is a technology similar to a spray-on metal. It combines metal particles the size of baby powder with a carrier gas. The combination is heated just enough that the material can be sprayed onto a machine to build up or reinforce aircraft parts that are missing or deteriorated.
Once the material solidifies, it can match the shape of the part in need of repair. The particles become structurally sound and strong.
With traditional methods, a single repair could cost aircraft owners hundreds of thousands of dollars and weeks of having to keep an aircraft grounded. Sources estimate that CS could eliminate much of this time and expense, making it possible to make repairs in a matter of hours.
What’s next for CS? The sky’s the limit
The technology is exciting, and it creates countless opportunities for how and where to use it. Parties are exploring options for using different metals and for making equipment for CS repairs. And while the Air Force is currently testing the technology, it is possible that commercial aircraft, ships and motor vehicles could also adopt CS repairs.
And as the applications for and availability of CS develop, so too will opportunities to design and manufacture new tools, products and processes.
Technological solutions can be the answer to traditional problems. Often, they can save parties time, money and energy, making them quite valuable to whoever develops them and secures the rights to make and sell them.