Tinker Air Force Base - Oklahoma City, OK
Arc spray is used to deposit metal on jet engine parts and aircraft components. In the past, this operation was done by using nickel electroplating to deposit a layer of metal on the part. The new process decreases the processing time and provides a coating that has equivalent properties.
Arc spray has allowed OC-ALC to eliminate half of the nickel plating work load from 1989 levels and its associated wastes. This process change was accomplished by challenging past practices. The Arc spray coating and nickel plate are not exactly the same, but the flame spray met all of the performance requirements for the application.
In addition to meeting performance requirements, the flame spray process produced less waste and required less time. A part can be coated with Arc spray in less than one hour, while plating normally takes several days. The only waste produced by the process is the water and metal sludge from the water fall duct collector. This is much less than the millions of gallons of nickel contaminated waste water that is generated from nickel plating.
This process has resulted in reduced chemical usage, reduced waste generation, and quicker processing times. Arc spray has reduced the purchase of nickel by 11,400 lbs. The hazardous waste disposal associated with nickel plating has also been substantially reduced. Finally, the new process allows parts to be processed quicker reducing the cost and time of repairs.