Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD
Ellsworth Air Force Base now has a quicker and more cost-effective way to repair panels on B-1s.
It's called cold spray technology.
"We take fine metallic powder and we ramp it up with really high pressure and we spray it into the damaged piece and the particles hit the piece at such a high speed that they actually bond to the material," technical sergeant Jeremy Horstman said.
"It's referred to as cold spray because the powder does not get over the melting point of the material," chief engineer Dustin Blosmo said.
Getting panels fixed or replaced on older B-1 bombers can be challenging.
"The procuring aircraft panels for the B-1 is sometimes a difficult process because they're not made any more so we sometimes reach the limitations of repairs," Horstman said.
But by using the cold spray, it can repair the panels, saving the Air Force nearly $225,000 per panel.
"When that jetting occurs that is in a solid state, that jet stays in a solid state and we continue to build up until we have a repaired part," Blosmo said.
"With this we're cutting down material waste, we're cutting down man hours, we're cutting down time, everything is sped up significantly when we use cold spray process," Horstman said.
This is the 28th Maintenance Group's fabrication flight's first Cold Spray repair on a B-1 bomber.
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