Corpus Christi Army Depot
In December of 1995, CCAD replaced a manual method of stripping paint of helicopter blades with a laser paint stripping method. The laser removes some or all of the coatings down to substrate material without damage to the blade. The process replaces a minimum labor cost of two man days per blade and lowers operating costs.
This is the first such unit in the world. A pulsed carbon dioxide laser removes paint, primer, adhesive, and an abradable coating. This system is equipped with a spectral camera which provides real-time monitoring of the laser and the progress of paint removal. The laser has the capability to remove any coating on a helicopter blade on a depth selective basis (layer by layer possibility).
Hazardous waste generation and recyclable residues are reduced by 90%. Since it removes only the paint necessary, hazardous wastes and air emissions are reduced.
Details of Reductions
Additional Information :
Initial capital costs were $1.8 million with an annual savings of $390,000 per year. These savings were due to reductions in hazardous wastes, residue, and air emissions. The payback period is approximately 4 ½ years.