HEATCON wins contract for remote composite aero repair

HEATCON Composite Systems has won a $2.6 million contract to provide hot bonding equipment to help repair composite military aircraft in remote locations.

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HEATCON Composite Systems (Seattle, Wash., USA) reports it has won a $2.6 million deal to provide equipment that assists the military in repairing composite aircraft in remote locations.

With U.S. troops battling in harsh, mountainous terrain, the Army needs a system to fix helicopters and airplanes that are damaged in difficult environments. Besides the enemy, lightning, hail and other random impacts can also ground military aircraft for repair.

“Numerous circumstances can cause an aircraft to be not operational,” HEATCON president Eric Casterline explained. “Besides hostile fire, for example, during military operations, impact from ground vehicles and foreign object debris are common sources of damage. Repairs to composite parts must follow a schedule of heat and pressure application, known as a cure cycle, for a repair to be sound – that is what our equipment provides.”

Hot bonders and other equipment from HEATCON will be used to repair structural components of damaged aircraft that require bonding processes. The company is providing the Army with nearly 200 portable hot bonders, which will be used to repair the composite structures on military aircraft. The hot bonders developed for this contract retain functions similar to those of larger, more traditional equipment, while offering portability through the addition of DC battery-powered capabilities.

“The smaller size and lighter weight make these bonders easier to use in remote areas, and improve response time for technicians in the field,” HEATCON founder Howard Banasky said.

The equipment has a display that lets mechanics monitor the cure cycle of the composites used in repairs, which is important for assuring that the resulting component meets airworthiness requirements.

“Speed, rapid response and visually assuring that cure cycle parameters are being followed are absolutely essential in this whole process,” Banasky said. “The new product is further testimony to HEATCON’s dedication to improving aircraft safety through innovative solutions.”

Deliveries begin this year, and shipping of the order is expected to be complete by spring 2012. Along with the portable hot bonders, HEATCON will also provide the Army with silicone heat blankets, tap hammers and vacuum-bagging consumable materials.