New chromate-free primer is a first for use on steel parts for commercial airplanes developed in concert with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)
Now with UTC Aerospace Systems' zinc-nickel plating, operators have a complete landing gear protection system that is fully REACh-compliant without sacrificing performance
FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW – UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), today announced that its chromate-free landing gear corrosion protection primer, incorporating the company’s patented EcoSky® pigment, is ready for use. The pigment and primer are more environmentally friendly and compliant with the European Union’s REACh (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations. The primer is a first for use on steel parts for commercial airplanes and was developed in concert with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC).
When UTC Aerospace Systems began developing the main landing gear for the A350-1000, Airbus asked the company to design a system that was fully REACh-compliant. In response, UTC Aerospace Systems introduced a zinc-nickel plating solution for the gear’s steel components as a drop-in replacement for traditional cadmium and titanium cadmium plating, which do not comply with the new REACh regulations.
While chromate-free anti-corrosion primers for aluminum parts were already on the market, their use cannot be universally adopted in aerospace. UTC Aerospace Systems found their protection unsatisfactory for zinc-nickel plating, so it decided to develop its own. The new primer works on both zinc-nickel plating as well as traditional cadmium plating. The chromate-free primer coating not only meets stricter regulations, it also stands up to the rigor of aircraft landings.
During a two-year field evaluation with Toronto's Porter Airlines onboard a Bombardier Q400 Dash 8, the primer matched the performance of conventional chromate primers for steel parts. Even after more than 4,000 landings and exposure to extreme weather and de-icing chemicals, the primer exhibited no signs of corrosion, blistering or degradation.
In addition to the evaluation with Porter, the primer was also put through two years of beachfront testing on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, where it endured continuous exposure to UV rays and the harsh marine environment. The primer also survived 4,500 hours of laboratory salt fog testing—more than double the industry requirement of 2,000 hours.
UTC Aerospace Systems has received interest in the product from multiple commercial and military customers, and is currently working with suppliers to get the primer into production. The company anticipates the primer will be ready for sale by year’s end. This product will allow the replacement of hazardous chromated paint for some UTC Aerospace Systems applications, create a safer work environment and allow operators to meet REACh regulations.
"At UTC Aerospace Systems, we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers and developing products and solutions that are more environmentally friendly," said Landing Systems President Jim Wharton. "Having proven itself in comprehensive field testing, our industry-leading primer, with our patented EcoSky® pigment, will help aircraft manufacturers comply with REACh regulations without sacrificing performance."
"Our researchers use their scientific expertise to solve complex problems that bring value to our customers and positively impact our industries," said Steve Tongue, Senior Director, UTC Aerospace Systems Program Office, UTRC. "This chromate-free primer is a great example of leveraging world-class materials science capabilities to solve a real world challenge to enable an industry-first product."
About United Technologies Research Center
As the innovation hub of United Technologies Corp. (UTC), United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) supports the development of new technologies and capabilities across the company and collaborates with external research organizations, universities and government agencies globally to push the boundaries of science and technology. Further, UTRC leads the monetization of UTC’s intellectual property through business model innovation. UTRC is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut, with additional operations at its affiliate in Berkeley, California, and its subsidiaries in Shanghai, China; Rome, Italy; and Cork, Ireland. UTC, based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries.
About UTC Aerospace Systems
UTC Aerospace Systems is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products. UTC Aerospace Systems designs, manufactures and services integrated systems and components for the aerospace and defense industries, supporting a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and customer service facilities. For more information about the company, visit its website at utcaerospacesystems.com or follow it on Twitter: @utcaerosystems
About United Technologies Corporation
United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. By combining a passion for science with precision engineering, the company is creating smart, sustainable solutions the world needs. For more information about the company, visit UTC's website at www.utc.com or follow UTC on Twitter: @UTC