Unique Aspects Involved in the Robotic Painting of Commercial Aircraft Structures
The use of paint automation in commercial aircraft production is being studied to reduce process cycle times, provide a higher quality paint finish, lower emissions, and increase process consistency. The cost of new aircraft paint hangars and increasing production rates is driving a need for increased capacity in existing facilities by using new coatings and technology. Testing of robotic painting at Boeing has uncovered unique differences between aerospace and automotive applications. Paint cure times, number of paint colors, environment control, and part size considerations are some of the issues that make aerospace application of coatings more difficult than automotive applications. Understanding the unique factors involved in the robotic application of commercial aerospace coatings is important for future advancements in application technology, gains in aircraft paint hangar capacity, delivering quality coating finishes, and lowering environmental footprint.