Aircraft painting

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Stephanie Kietzmann, general manager at the Textron Aviation service center in Düsseldorf, Germany, reveals how a new mobile paint booth is proving beneficial

Why have you introduced the mobile paint booth?

We perform paint repairs on a daily basis and wanted to improve efficiency for our customers, so they can have their aircraft repaired and back in the air in a timely manner.

However, our hangar was not large enough to install a fixed paint booth and external paint shops don’t allow you to paint components while they remain on the aircraft, which isn’t the most efficient way of working.

Instead, we chose to invest in a mobile paint booth. This is a fantastic, flexible facility that allows us to paint wing, empennage and entire airframes. It’s foldable and moves easily, so we can use it in either of our two large hangers.

What is it made from and what equipment does it include?

It’s made of a steel frame, covered by anti-static, clear foil and has two ‘cabins’: a small one for wings and cell coverage and a large one for empennage. It also boasts two mobile filter units that can be repositioned easily and four filter cubes, which connect to multiple attachment points of the cabins.

What was most challenging aspect of the development?

The most challenging aspect was combining all of the necessary features we needed from a paint booth with the space we had available, and securing important approvals and certification from multiple regulatory bodies, including the Fire Department and Airport Authority.

Textron Aviation manufactures the world’s largest fleet of aircraft, from the Cessna 172s and Beechcraft King Air, through to mid-size jets including the Citation Latitude. With the large-cabin Citation Hemisphere scheduled for first flight in 2019, we needed to be able to accommodate larger aircraft in the near future.

How have you ensured the space is clean enough for paint applications?

The mobile booth is hermetically sealed and air is cycled through a multi-level filter system, with active carbon, so you can actually breathe inside it. The filter systems ensure there is no exhaust outside of the hangar.

How have you ensured worker safety?

The safety of our team is at the heart of all of our operations and we have conducted specific training for the skilled staff who use the facility. In addition, we have strict safety protocols in place, which includes staff wearing full-protection masks with a permanent air supply and respiratory filter.

The booth is constructed with clear foil, so staff are visible to people working outside, and we have installed fall protection and an integrated automatic fire extinguisher.

Do you have any similar paint booths elsewhere?

Not yet, but our other manufacturing sites have been following our progress with great interest and now many are considering collapsible paint spray booths as an ideal space and time-saving solution.

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About Author

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria, Railway Interiors International and Winter Sports Technology International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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