Inovati, located in Santa Barbara, California, USA, has announced plans to use its specialised Additive Manufacturing process, named Kinetic Metallisation, for the spot-repair of military aircraft parts. Inovati’s Kinetic Metallization system is a specialised cold spray process which accelerates particles to Mach 1 in order to coat worn out part surfaces.
The technology will allow for aircraft part replacement that would normally have taken fifteen months to become a repair that now takes just two weeks. This development, the company states, will have positive implications for the readiness of Naval aircraft fleets. Inovati has already successfully repaired a part that has logged over 3,000 hours of flight on an F/A-18.
During the Kinetic Metallisation process the nozzle through which the particles are accelerated is controlled by a robot arm system that sports seven degrees of freedom. The robot arm allows for optimal precision and repeatability when coating. The system utilises micron-scale powders made up of metals and ceramics in order to build up a surface, layer by layer. Any excess material is then machined off, leaving a transformed, brand new surface.
Inovati has been involved in the cold spray industry for two decades and has continually streamlined the size and interface of its product. To date, Kinetic Metallization has been applied to rocket nozzles, aircraft parts, telecommunications racks, and more.
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