In a scheduled maintenance scenario, each aircraft is pulled from service after a specified number of operational flying hours or calendar days/months. The aircraft then remains out of service while it undergoes destructive and non-destructive inspections, which currently may include variations of ultra-sonic, x-ray, optical, and audio interrogation techniques.
In these cases, even the most “non-intrusive” inspections generally require some level of paint stripping, component removal, part removal or disassembly, component fixturing for scanning, scan plan generation, scan plan execution, and subsequent data analysis (NDE/I technologies often do not provide real-time results.)
A rigorous analysis might include a 100% inspection of all structural components. This process is required just to detect the presence or absence of damage or degradation to the component. The size of the fleet drives the flux of the aircraft as they go through the scheduled procedure: the larger the fleet, the more aircrafts are down for periodic maintenance at any one time, and the more supporting infrastructure (equipment, facilities, personnel, and material) is required.
Once an indication of damage or degradation is found, a maintenance technician makes a manual determination of the extent of the damage and its anticipated impact on the structural integrity or functional performance of the component. If repair is required (in some cases the extent of damage may not be sufficient to warrant repair), the structure is further torn down for inspection and repair or replacement, as required.
In a scenario that includes CORSAIR results applications, the above process is strongly reduced in terms of occurrence times. Moreover, a further positive impact to the environment is the reduction of waste at the production site, by repairing new and not-acceptable components. Actually in many cases these parts are discarded and not repaired.
Therefore, the use of optimised Cold Spray processes in CORSAIR will allow the repair of new components not fulfilling the initial quality standards with a net positive impact in raw materials and energy consumption as well in time and efficiency management of the whole production/maintenance operations.