Large Aircraft Robotic Paint Stripping (LARPS) System 931060

The aircraft maintenance industry is beset by new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines on air emissions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, dwindling labor markets, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety guidelines, and increased operating costs. In light of these factors, the USAF's Wright Laboratory Manufacturing Technology Directorate and the Aircraft Division of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center initiated a MANTECHIREPTECH effort to automate an alternate paint removal method and eliminate the current manual methylene chloride chemical stripping methods.
This paper presents some of the background and history of the LARPS program, describes the LARPS system, documents the projected operational flow, quantifies some of the projected system benefits and describes the High Pressure Water Stripping Process.
Certification of an alternative paint removal method to replace the current chemical process is being performed in two phases: Process Optimization and Process Validation. This paper also presents the results of the Process Optimization for metal substrates. Data on the coating removal rate, residual stresses, surface roughness, preliminary process envelopes, and technical plans for process Validation Testing will be discussed.


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