Preston Technical has long been embedded in the Aerospace market supply chain and our involvement with 3M as a Premier Tape Converter has helped deliver many outstanding new innovations to the industry.
Our involvement with the Aerospace Industry has been a long enduring one from the initial build right through to ongoing Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) work. With the cost of a new aircraft going from the $100 million region for a Boeing 737 to just under $450 million for a widebody Airbus A380, the need for rigorous attention to detail in both the assembly and maintenance of aircraft is paramount to ensure that the airline operators achieve the expected return on investment in terms of flying and in-service hours.
As with all transportation sectors there is endless quest to achieve better in-service operating performance by making aircraft lighter, more fuel and energy efficient and ensuring that the expensive structures are adequately protected during their long service.
As with the use of a lot of die cut adhesive tape solutions in the transportation sector many of these are hidden from the naked eye of the customers and passengers in the cabin itself but play a vital role in the serviceability of the aircraft. Die cut tapes can be used throughout the aircraft interior to provide surface protection in localised or specific locations. As an example, corrosion prevention is crucial, especially in areas like cabin floor structures, where costs can reach great heights – up to $100,000 per aircraft in addition to downtime required to install new floor panels and replace structural beams for example. The use of surface protection products such as high-performance polyurethane film tapes for metal, paint, plastic, and composite material surfaces, so you can maintain top efficiency during aircraft assembly, and sharp appearance and functionality during the aircraft life.
The need to protect the interior structure of the aircraft is matched by the need to protect the exterior surfaces from weather and impact damage as well. This does not just apply to fixed wing aircraft either. One area where in service protection tape die cuts are used extensively is on helicopter rotor blades. The use of such die cut kits, in which Preston Technical have been involved, helps to eliminate corrosion, rotor blade erosion, impact damage and expensive composite damage in service. This has specific applications for aircraft used by military and defence organisations often operating in the harshest of environments.
But it doesn’t stop there with the initial assembly of the aircraft…… Strict MRO manufacturer procedures and schedules have to be adhered to – whether that be cabin interior refurbishment where a lot of tape and self-closure die cut products can be used, right up to the repainting of the aircraft for corporate branding updates and the use of masking tape die cuts help to aid MRO productivity and provide fine line paint finish to the aircraft.
So – the next time you jump on an aircraft – hopefully sometime soon! – you will be surrounded by the use of adhesive tape technology on it!