Basic experiments lead to the main laser and plasma etching parameters and the mechanisms which contribute to the ablation of highly resistant aircraft paintings. The optimum processing conditions for the different processes have been determined for application of different paint types and subtasks. The experiments were accompanied by analysis of the stripped surfaces. The key points considering the results of the applied paint stripping techniques were surface analysis and investigations of the mechanical behaviour.
Techniques for online process monitoring and -control have been developed and successfully implemented in the laboratory equipment.
The analysis of gaseous and solid waste materials evolving from the paint removal processes have been studied and identified. The studies lead to waste disposal concepts which can directly be transferred to real industrial application.
The process parameters were the initial point for a beam handling simulation. The dedicated software for simulation and off-line programming of laser paint stripping techniques has been developed. The obtained universal tool is not restricted to the demonstrator which could be realized containing the results of the parameter and process control investigations.
The simulation software states an effective tool for rapid deployment of laser paint stripping to industrial application.
The results of the performed investigations lead to an extensive study of upscaling containing technical and economical aspects as preparation and evaluation for industrial use.
Stripping methods established up to now are affected with individual problems such as economical disadvantage, environmental contamination or technical restriction. The available methods are not applicable for fibre reinforced composite which is a more and more common structural material not only in the aircraft industry.
New stripping processes using IR and UV lasers and plasma etching will be developed by investigating the following tasks:
-improvement of excimer laser;
-improvement of mini CO2 TEA laser;
-optimization of stripping parameters for different lasers and plasma etching; stripping of relevant aircraft components: polysulfid sealants, crevices revets and combinations of composites/aluminium alloys;
-analysis of waste and waste disposal concept;
-concept of automation and automation demonstrator;
-transfer to larger 3-dimensional parts; feasibility study, plant layout, plant simulation and performance analysis.
A reduction in the order of 90% of toxix waste and disposal costs are forcecast. It is possible to reduce costs of aircraft depainting by 50%. Subsequent exploitation and transfer to other industrial sectors such as automotive, railway and shipping industry is envisaged.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
EH14 4AP Edinburgh