Coating is a layer of covering applied on the surface of objects not only for appearance, but also for functional purposes. Temperature variation in the air impacts the structural dimensions of an aircraft; therefore, aviation coatings are applied to exteriors and interiors of the aircraft to protect it from the environment, thereby reducing corrosion and erosion. These coatings are used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and players in the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) industry as well. Demand for lightweight products is a major criteria for components in an aircraft, especially in airframe and outer skin of the aircraft. Metals such as aluminum and its alloys are used to make the airframe and skin. These metals are subjected to corrosion. Protective coatings are applied on metal components to prevent or reduce corrosion and to provide an appealing appearance to the aircraft. Coatings with low volume of volatile organic component (VOC) tend to reduce the release of organic solvents in the atmosphere, thereby protecting the environment.
Aviation coating consists of a primer and a top coat. Corrosion of the substrate is inhibited by the primer and the appearance of the component is enhanced by top coat. The top coat also helps to increase durability of coatings. Coating can be applied as one layer or as multiple layers. The primer present in the multi-layer coating is an organic polymer and has anti-corrosion property due to the presence of dispersed chromate corrosion-inhibiting compounds in it. Uni-layer coating, also known as unicoat, contains compounds inhibiting corrosion and other colored pigments that provide a decorative and appealing appearance to the aircraft.
Coatings in the aviation industry are applied on different sections of an aircraft, such as combustion chamber, turbine, and compressor. Coatings are applied to aircraft components such as combustion flame tubes, compressor air foils, turbine air foils, fuel nozzles, fuel swirlers, compressor drums, discs and shafts, and bearings and accessories. The objective of coatings is not the same for all components, for instance coatings on blades, stators, vanes of compressors provide corrosion resistance. Whereas, coatings are used as sealing on compressor cases. Other aircraft components subjected to coatings include gas generator case, diffuser case, spacers, hubs, shafts in the compressor, blade tips, brush seals, thrust frame boss & clevis, and exhaust fairing pins & bushings in the turbine, among others.
Regulations on eco-efficiency have influenced recent developments in the aviation coatings industry. Innovations in the coating products are focused mainly to address toxicity, emissions, hazardous potential, etc. Newly launched aviation coatings have longer shelf-life and contain low volume of toxic ingredients, which meet the regulatory standards. Europe and the Government in Canada, the U.S, and Australia have stringent regulations to curb coating-related VOC emissions. These regulations have given rise to research & development in the coating industry.
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Key players operating in the global aviation coating market include AkzoNobel N.V, PPG Industries, Inc., Aerospace Coatings International, BASF SE, Aerospace Coating Systems, Inc., Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings, Henkel AG & Co., Mapaero, Tennant Coatings, National Coatings and Supplies, Hohman Plating, MankiewiczGebr. & Co., Ionbond AG and Hentzen Coatings.