PPG has expanded development and technical-service capabilities for aerospace and military coatings at its Shildon, England, facility with a $2m investment supporting installation of advanced-technology equipment for evaluating paint characteristics. Environmentally controlled spray booths and a suite of complementary rooms now enable the PPG site to streamline new-product launches and produce more-exact color matches.
One paint spray booth, which can house an aircraft section or small military vehicle, provides variable temperature and humidity settings for product development and training. A second paint spray booth, which maintains constant temperature and relative humidity settings, is designed for applying coatings to panels for customer color-match requests. An expanded testing laboratory has a dedicated color-mixing area and constant temperature and humidity settings. New sanding, drying and oven rooms afford the full range of application processing from preparation to drying in controlled environments.
According to Peter Wind, PPG technical manager, the aerospace industry is seeing increased demand for custom color as well as an accelerating pace for commercializing new coatings technologies, and the new capabilities at the Shildon facility strengthen PPG’s responsiveness to these trends.
"With color being used more in airline liveries and on business aircraft, PPG customers will be able to see more precisely how we can make their vision a reality," Wind said.
"PPG aerospace and military coatings are designed for global application and service," he added. "These new capabilities enable us to simulate different environmental conditions that could be encountered by our customers anywhere in the world – from Dubai, where summers are hot and dry, to humid Singapore and even Russia, where a maintenance and repair operation might apply our products in damp, cold conditions. As we develop coatings that have new characteristics, we will be able to streamline their launch."
The two paint spray booths and a viewing gallery are located in a two-story, 3,400-square-foot addition, while the testing laboratory and related rooms occupy the former spray booth space.
The Shildon facility, which has been in operation since 1967, also produces aerospace sealants and operates an application support center. It has nearly 200 employees.