Aerospace OEM

The most effective finishing solutionfor aerospace manufacturers

We have a long-established heritage of supplying wet blasting solutions to the world’s largest aerospace engine manufacturers. Our association with the industry began with the invention of the first wet blasting machine, while exploring surface treatments with Sir Frank Whittle during the development of the jet engine. Learn more about our history.

To this day world leading aerospace engine manufacturers trust us and our well proven wet blasting technology for their finishing requirements.

Wet blasting (also known as vapor blasting, vapour blasting or aqua blasting) has numerous applications and benefits for a wide range of other aerospace components too.


Sir Frank Whittle inventor of the turbojet engine

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Wet shot peening fan and turbine blades, engine casings, and other components to the same intensity as dry shot peening

 

At a glance...

Applications Peening for improved strength whilst producing a high-quality surface finish
Components Fan, turbine and compressor blades, engine shafts, discs, blisks, engine casings, landing gear
Key Benefits Shot peening to the same intensity as dry shot peening whilst producing a superior surface finish
Machines Leopard, Leopard Cub, Sabre

Cross section of a turbofan jet engine

The lifespan of a turbine blade can be extended dramatically by wet shot peening – more than 1000%. The process involves projecting a mixture of water and small hard spherical media particles at turbine blades, fan blades, blisks, discs, driveshafts and any other engine components that need strengthening. It is a highly effective way to improve fatigue strength.

As well as peening to the same intensity as dry blasting, the flow of media over components ensures a smoother, more consistent, and higher quality finish compared with dry shot peening.

By bombarding the engine component with the peening blast media, the substrate is exposed to compressive stresses that improve strength by giving the grain structure a shallower depth with a more random texture pattern. This change to a surface’s structure through peening makes it far less likely to fracture and crack. 

Typically peening is used on components that are irregular in shape and that may be subject to twisting and bending stresses. Users of the wet peening process on components like these have recorded significantly increased product life and quality across a range of industries, including jet engine manufacturing.


Jet engine internal structure

The highly versatile automatic Vapormatt Sabre wet blasting machine for wet shot peening, cleaning and preparing surfaces for bonding and coating

Aerospace Turbine blade with Almen Strips

Aerospace Turbine blade with Almen Strips

We state above that wet shot peening peens to the same intensity as dry shot peening. We measure this using Almen strips, which are thin strips of SAE 1070 steel used to quantify the intensity of the shot peening process.

The strips are placed on the component where the results are deemed critical. As you can see from the image opposite, that is in quite a few places when it comes to jet engine fan blades.

The peening process converts tensile stresses to compressive stresses causing the strip to deform into an arch. The resulting arch is concave, the opposite to what you might counter intuitively think until you realise that the compressive stresses created cause the steel to bow upwards towards the direction of the arch.

The degree of arching is measured using a gauge and that is how we know wet shot peening has peened to the same intensity as dry shot peening.

Wet shot peening meets or helps meet the requirements for the following industry specifications, amongst others: 

Document Number Document Title Manufacturer
AMS 2432   Shot peening, computer-controlled  Multiple OEMs 
POP 392-AR   Wet glass bead peening to PWA 36906  Pratt and Whitney 
RPS 428   Controlled blasting and peening for fatigue resistance  Rolls-Royce 
P11TF8   Metallic shot peening   GE 
DMP28  

Surface compressive stressing

SNECMA / Safran 
32-09-01   Glass bead peening of light alloy parts  Safran 

See the full list of specifications our wet blasting technology can help you achieve.

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR WET SHOT PEENING REQUIREMENTS

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Preparing composite fan, propeller, helicopter, and other composite components, for bonding and coating

 

At a glance...

Applications 

Creating ‘wet-out’ surfaces on composite components for bonding and coating
Components

Fan blades, propeller blades, helicopter blades and other composite aerospace components

Key Benefits

The ‘wet-out’ surface ensures a consistent and thorough coverage of adhesive or coating for maximum bond strength

Machines

Leopard, Leopard Cub, Sabre, Lion Rotary


Composite fan blades

Wet blasting is highly effective at cleaning and preparing composite fan blades, propeller blades, helicopter blades and other aerospace composite components for bonding and coating.

The wet blasting process thoroughly cleans the component, removing waxy residues and other contaminants that might have a negative effect on adhesion. Simultaneously, the process creates a consistent ‘wet-out’ surface that allows an even and complete coverage of adhesive or coating, e.g. paint, over the processed area.

The effect of wet blasting composites

Bandsaw Before

Thorough cleaning and the creation of a ‘wet-out’ surface helps ensure bond strength is maximised, which is critial for bonding titanium leading edges to fan blades or heater mats to propeller and helicopter blades for example.

The cushioning effect of the water in wet blasting means composite fibres are not damaged during blasting. There is no material loss from the component either, so any potential compromise to the component’s integrity is eliminated.

The improvement in bond strength is applicable to all coatings, not just adhesives, so the adhesion of paint, lacquers, and other coatings, is optimised too.

To learn more about wet blasting composites visit our composites industry page, where you will be able to see a video of a ‘wet-out’ surface being created and the effect it has.


Turboprop aircraft engine propeller

Cleaning and preparation of propellor blades for composite bonding

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR PREPARATION FOR COMPOSITE BONDING REQUIREMENTS

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Preparing aerospace components for NDT crack detection 

 

At a glance...

Applications

Thoroughly cleaning components for NDT crack detection

Components

Fan, turbine and compression blades, blisks, hubs / discs, drive shafts, struts, wheels and just about any component that needs inspecting

Key Benefits

Removes all contaminants and does not peen over cracks, instead cracks are cleaned out so they are more visible

Machines

Leopard, Leopard Cub, Lion Rotary, Sabre, Puma

turbine blade disc

The ‘fir tree’ slots of a turbine blade disc

Wet blasting thoroughly cleans components, removing burrs, debris, and other contaminants in preparation for NDT crack detection. Crucially, there is no danger of peening over cracks during the cleaning operation, instead the flowing nature of the wet blast slurry exposes cracks by cleaning them rather than concealing them, making them more visible during NDT – improving inspection accuracy, speed, and subsequent safety.

Disc, driveshafts, turbine and fan blades, blisks, titanium engine casings, wheels, struts and a broad range of other aerospace components can be cleaned using wet blasting, with no risk of damage to the component or any risk of compromising the component’s integrity.

Wet blasting for inspection differs to wet shot peening, see the section above, in terms of the wet blast recipe used. The wet blast recipes associated with NDT crack detection consist of a blast medias and flow rates that will not peen.

Read our case study on 'The preparation of jet engine compressor hubs for NDT by wet blasting' toward the bottom of our Aerosapce MRO page.

Note that preparation for NDT is similar for both MRO and OEM operations.

The effect of wet blasting cracks with our plastic media blast formula

Crack After
Crack Before

Leopard Cub with patented micro gun for highly accurate blasting of turbine hub ‘fir trees’ and other intricate components

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR PREPARATION FOR NDT REQUIREMENTS

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Preparing aerospace components for coating, including CVD and PVD coating 

Applications 

Prepares surfaces for coating, including CVD and PVD coating

Components

Fan, turbine and compression blades, blisks, hubs / discs, drive shafts, struts, wheels and just about any component that needs coating

Key Benefits

Cleans, removing all contaminants, and creates a surface that is perfect for bonding and coating in one operation

Machines

Leopard, Leopard Cub, Lion Rotary, Sabre


Coated turbine blades

PVD or CVD coating fan blades has two important affects. First, it maintains the surface finish of the blade for much longer by significantly reducing wear. Second, coatings make the surface finish smoother for better fuel efficiency.

Aerospace engine components operate in extreme conditions, so the bond strength of coatings like PVD and CVD needs to be maximised.

Wet blasting is highly effective at producing the perfect surface finish on blades and other aerospace components for coating. It does this by creating a specific Ra surface roughness for the best possible coverage and adhesion of coatings.

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR PREPARATION FOR COATING REQUIREMENTS

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Wet blasting additive manufactured components

Applications

Cleans and finishes metal, composite and polymer additive manufactured components

Components

Any additive manufactured component

Key Benefits

Cleans, removing all imperfections, build lines and sinter powder from internal channels, whilst applying a final finish or a finish that is perfect for coating or bonding

Machines Leopard, Leopard Cub, Lion Rotary, Sabre, Puma

AM printed aircraft engine component

Thanks to advances in additive manufacturing (AM), a significant number of aerospace components are now manufactured using AM technologies. Wet blasting is highly suited to cleaning and preparing metal, composite, and polymer AM aerospace components for NDT or coatings like paints and oils.

It is also particularly effective at clearing powder, partially sintered powder, and other contaminants from the complex internal channels that are often a feature of AM components, giving a visual indication that the channel is clear when blast media appears.

In contrast, it is not only difficult to tell if a channel is clear when dry blasting, it can even compound the issue by adding additional blast media to blocked channels.


Removal of casting resist, burrs and debris, and applying a specific surface finish to cast aerospace components

 

At a glance...

Applications 

Cleaning, removing casting resist, burrs, and other contaminants, applying a specific surface finish 

Components

Fan, turbine and compressor blades, blisks, discs, drive shafts, nozzle guide vanes, titanium engine casings, landing struts, and other cast components

Key Benefits

Rapid, dust free operation, cleaning and surface finishing in one operation

Machines

Leopard, Leopard Cub, Lion Rotary, Sabre, Puma

Wet blasting is highly effective at removing casting resist, burrs and other contaminants from the surfaces of fan and turbine blades, blisks, drive shafts, nozzle guide vanes, titanium engine casings, landing struts and other components manufactured by investment casting.

In addition to cleaning components, the process can also apply the final surface finish required, or prepare the component for the next surface finishing stage.

The removal of casting resist and burrs, cleaning, and applying a surface finish is carried out in one efficient operation.


Cast engine component

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR WET BLASTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CAST COMPONENTS

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Removal of heat scale and oxidation from forged aerospace components and applying a specific surface finish

 

At a glance...

Applications

Cleaning, removing heat scale, oxidation and machining marks, applying a specific surface finish

Components

Engine shafts, compressor discs, turbine discs, rings and casings, landing gear, and other forged components

Key Benefits

Rapid, dust free operation, cleaning and surface finishing in one operation

Machines

Leopard, Leopard Cub, Lion Rotary, Sabre, Puma

Aircraft landing gear

Aircraft landing gear

 

The forging process for components like landing gear struts and beams often results in the presence of heat scale and oxidation on the component’s surface, this is also the case for components manufactured by other thermal processes.

In a single efficient operation, wet blasting removes all heat scale, oxidation, machining marks, and other contaminants, cleans the component, and applies the required uniform surface finish to meet stringent aerospace industry standards.

 Wet blasting is also highly effective at reaching into small cavities and complex geometries, ensuring thorough cleaning.

 The finish applied can either be the final surface finish or the finish required for the next surface finishing stage. For example, the process creates an ideal surface profile for subsequent coating applications, such as paint, anodizing, or thermal spray coatings, by promoting better adhesion and coating uniformity. 

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR WET BLASTING REQUIREMENTS FOR FORGED COMPONENTS

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Finishing components for the rigours of space


Cutting inserts fitted to the Mars Rover’s drill were finished in a Vapormatt Tiger

Exceptional levels of process control, highly uniform finishing, excellent repeatability and all the other benefits associated with wet blasting make it the ideal finishing process for components destined for space.

Our unrivalled expertise in maintaining a consistent blast flow coupled with automation ensures we can repeatedly deliver a highly consistent Ra surface roughness to component surfaces.

The Ra level of surface roughness can be set to a range, typically between 0.25 and 0.6 µm, that is perfect for sterilisation. Less than 0.25 µm Ra is suboptimal as microbes can effectively 'stick' to the surface and above 0.6µm Ra creates a larger surface area for microbes to populate.

Wet blasting is also ideal for preparing components for coatings, including adhesives and paint. This includes composite and additive manufactured components. The cushioning effect of water in the wet blast process ensures there is no material loss, so the integrity of the component is never compromised.

All of these factors contribute to the safety and reliability of components destined for space.

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The essential blast consistency advantage of Vapormatt wet blasting

Controlling what comes out of the blast guns is essential for high quality consistent results. That applies to all applications, from cleaning and wet shot peening to surface preparation.

It is particularly important for automatic processes where the operator is not always there to visually check the consistency of blast flow and the results.

Vapormatt are second to none when it comes to controlling the consistency of output from blast guns.

The blast flow must always remain consistent and thanks to our world leading technical expertise and our patented technology we can achieve a consistent flow year in year out without change, even when components start to wear in the normal course of operation.

See our case study ‘Preparation of jet engine compressor hubs for NDT by wet blasting’ toward the bottom of our Aerospace MRO page for a detailed explanation of how our ability to control the consistency of blast combined with our ability to accurately position blast guns significantly increases productivity and finish quality when processing turbine discs and other engine components. 

Our unrivaled ability to control the consistency of blast is present throughout our machine range. 

Watch our video on the controllable factors of wet blasting and how we control them...

How we control the controllable factors of wet blasting

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS OUR WORLD LEADING WET BLASTING CONSISTENCY AND ACCURACY

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Robotic automation for highly accurate results every time

The accurate positioning of blast guns is another critical element associated with high quality consistent results. Our robotic automation can be programmed to accurately blast at multiple indexing points. If required, the blast guns can be moved by as little as 0.5mm.

This degree of accuracy is perfect for blasting highly complex components like the individual slots and angles associated with the ‘fir trees’ of a turbine disc.

Automation also ensures exactly the same blast recipe is delivered evenly to the entire surface of the component every time, making it ideal for finishing batches of the same component.

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS OUR WORLD LEADING WET BLASTING CONSISTENCY AND ACCURACY

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General benefits of wet blasting for aerospace OEMs

There are several additional benefits our customers have experienced when wet shot peening aerospace fan and turbine blades compared with legacy dry shot peening systems, including:

  • Superior finishes – As with all wet blast applications the flow of media over the fan and turbine blades ensures a smoother, more consistent, and higher quality finish compared with dry shot peening.
  • Eliminating contamination via better blast media – Unlike dry shot peening a wet peening machine works best with ceramic or stainless-steel shot blast media. The benefit is that any risks of non-ferrous contamination is removed from the process.
  • Controllability - With wet shot peening you gain the highest levels of process control available. The integrated HMI and several monitoring parameters allow you to change multiple variables for the best possible results. With live reports and automatic adjustments available Vapormatt wet blasting machines have become a preferred choice for numerous aerospace MRO companies.
  • Reduced media consumption – Users of our wet shot peening machines have found overall spend on peening blast media is drastically reduced. The use of water and our patented filtration systems allow good media to be recycled and stay in the system for much longer. Water is also recycled through the system.
  • Dust-free peening – Wet shot peening does not involve cleaning residual dust and media from the component after peening. The wet blast process avoids this as the blast media is contained within the water and flows through and off intricate shapes.
  • No pre-cleaning – Wet shot peening allows parts to be placed in the wet blast machine uncleaned and still covered with oil, grease, and other contaminants. The wet blast process removes all surface contaminants during the peening process. Contaminants are quickly filtered away. In contrast, dry shot peening involves cleaning and drying components before processing can begin.
  • Health and safety - Wet shot peening is preferred when potentially explosive materials are being processed such as titanium and certain alloys, removing the need for expensive ATEX filtration systems. The absence of dust also eliminates issues associated with dust inhalation.

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS ANY OF THE POINTS ABOVE THAT ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR MANUFACTURING OPERATION

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In conclusion...

Overall, wet blasting offers aerospace manufacturers a highly versatile and efficient solution for cleaning, surface preparation and peening, helping to ensure components are safe, reliable, and perform as well as they can do.

Read our case studies to find out how our wet blasting machines are helping aerospace organisations with their manufacturing requirements. Read our white papers for a deep dive into specific manufacturing applications. 

Explore our automatic and manual wet blasting machines section below to gain a better understanding of what our machines can do. Videos, technical specifications, images, etc. are available for each wet blasting machine (also known as vapor blasting machine, vapour blasting machine and aqua blasting machine).

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS HOW OUR WET BLASTING TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP YOUR MANUFACTURING OPERATION

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Aerospace manufacturing case studies and white papers

Automatic and manual wet blasting machines for Aerospace Manufacturing

Automatic Machines

Sabre

Easily customisable
High capacity
High consistency of processing
Small footprint
Versatile
Learn More

Leopard

Easy maintenance
Easy to use
Large pump
Large working envelope
Robust construction
Learn More

Lion Rotary

Easy maintenance
High consistency of processing
Large working envelope
Quiet operation
Robust construction
Learn More

Leopard Cub

Easy to programme
High consistency of processing
Large number of guns
Large working envelope
Small footprint
Learn More

Manual Machines

Puma

Fully featured
Robust stainless-steel cabinet
Large wide opening door
Large working area vs. compact footprint
Food grade liner will not rot
Easily maintained
Highly versatile wet blasting
Learn More

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Aerospace specifications our wet blasting can help support

Our wet blasting technology can help support the following requirements of the following specifications

Aerospace specifications our wet blasting can help support

Our wet blasting technology can help support the following requirements of the following  specifications

Document

Number

Documents Title 

Airframe

Manufacturer

208-13-40 

Shot and glass bead peening 

Triumph Vought

208-9-146 

Aqueous degreasing 

Triumph Vought

ABP1-2028 

Shot peening for improved fatigue and  stress corrosion resistance

Airbus

ABP1-2344 

Cleaning and surface improvement  blasting

Airbus

ABP5-1351 

Surface preparation prior to application  of paints

Airbus

ABP8-1290 

Cleaning and degreasing of metallic materials

Airbus

ABP8-1294 

Cleaning & degreasing of metallic  materials

Airbus

ABP8-1296 

Deoxidation of aluminium alloys 

Airbus

AIPS02-02- 

003

Wet blasting 

Airbus

AMS-S 

13165

Shot peening of metal parts 

Multiple OEM's

AMS2430 

Shot peening 

Multiple OEM's

AMS03-2 

Cleaning and preparation of metal  surfaces

Multiple OEM’s

ASTM-B-600 

Descaling and cleaning titanium and  titanium alloy surfaces

Multiple OEM's

BAC5730 

Shot peening 

Boeing

BAC5751 

Cleaning, descaling and surface  

preparation of ferrous alloys

Boeing

BAC5753 

Cleaning, descaling and surface  

preparation of titanium and titanium  alloys

Boeing

BAC5758 

Cleaning, descaling and surface  

preparation of nickel and cobalt base  alloys

Boeing

BAC5765 

Cleaning and deoxidizing aluminium  alloys

Boeing

BAC5769 

Cleaning, descaling and surface  

preparation of magnesium alloys

Boeing

BAC5770 

Cleaning, descaling and surface  

preparation of Boeing copper alloys

Boeing

BAC5771 

Stripping inorganic finishes 

Boeing

BAC5951 

Glass bead peening (S/S by BAC5730) 

Boeing

BAPS 180- 

007

Vapour degreasing 

Bombardier

CSFS037 

Abrasive cleaning of metals 

Cessna

CSFS040 

Paint stripping 

Cessna

CSFS042 

Vapor degreasing 

Cessna

CVA13-1 

Blast Cleaning of Metal Parts 

Triumph Vought

CVA9-17 

Treatment of metallic surfaces for paint  adhesion

Triumph Vought

DPS4.999 

Shot peening of metal parts 

Douglas

DPS9.014 

Cleaning copper and copper Alloys 

Douglas

DPS9.05 

Cleaning of carbon steels and low alloy  steels

Douglas

DPS9.301 

Cleaning aluminium alloys 

Douglas

DPS9.341-1 

Aqueous degreasing 

Douglas

FSI-PS-4020 

Cleaning of aluminium, steel and cres 

Flight Structures

MIL-M-3171 

Magnesium alloy, processes for  

pretreatment and prevention of  corrosion

Military

MIL-S-13165 

Shot peen of metal parts 

Military

MIL-STD 

1504

Abrasive blast 

Military

PCS2300 

Steel shot peening 

Safran

DMP28 

Surface compressive stressing 

Safran

POP315-AC 

Wet abrasive blasting 

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP317-N 

Glass bead wet blasting 

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP338-N 

Cleaning weldable aluminium alloys 

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP347-AF 

Cleaning of scale and rust from steel 

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP350-AG 

Cleaning/degreasing of Parts 

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP357-K 

Abrasive blast cleaning of steel or nickel  alloy parts prior to aluminium spraying  of ceramic coating

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP372-T 

Cleaning aluminium alloys before  welding

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP390-M 

Cleaning aluminium alloys prior to  brazing or welding

Pratt and  

Whitney

POP392-AR 

Wet glass bead peening to PWA 36906 

Pratt and  

Whitney

RPS386 

Abrasive blasting 

Rolls-Royce

RRP56001 

Abrasive blasting 

Rolls-Royce

SPOP16 

Wet glass bead blast cleaning 

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP209 

Degreasing of parts by aqueous cleaning 

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP212 

Cleaning titanium parts before stress relief

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP215 

Carbon seal cleaning 

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP219 

Wet abrasive blast with aluminium  oxide and Novaculite

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP251 

Removal of paint or varnish from  aluminium parts

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP260 

Removal of paint or varnish from  aluminium, magnesium, steel, nickel and  cobalt alloy parts

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP3 

Vapor degreasing 

Pratt and  

Whitney

SPOP500 

Bead peening 

Pratt and  

Whitney

PS12040 

Abrasive cleaning 

Boeing 

Douglas

PS211600 

Cleaning of aluminium alloys 

Israeli Air

PS5210 

Abrasive blasting of composite propeller  blades

Dowty

PS8 

Cleaning and surface preparation of  metallic materials

Dowty

PS95 

Glass bead peening 

Dowty

PS143 

Abrasive blasting of metallic materials 

Dowty

PS215 

Aqueous cleaning

RPS15.51 

Abrasive blast cleaning 

Goodrich  

Aerostructures

RPS15.52 

Cleaning of aluminium 

Goodrich  

Aerostructures

RPS15.53 

Aqueous degreasing 

Goodrich  

Aerostructures

SOPM20-10- 03

Shot peening 

Boeing (or MRO  check?)

SOPM20-10- 10

Shot peen 

Boeing

SOPM20-30- 02

Stripping of protective finishes 

Boeing

SOPM20-30- 03

General cleaning procedures 

Boeing

SOPM20-60- 02

Finishing materials 

Boeing

SPS-104080 

Vapor degreasing 

Spirit

SPS-107250

Stripping of coatings

Spirit

SPS-107480

Abrasive cleaning, deburring, and finishing

Spirit

SPS-107650

Cleaning and deoxidizing of aluminium alloys

Spirit

SS8787

Stripping of organic materials by plastic media blast method

Sikorsky

TPS06

Surface preparation

TTF-Aircraft

VPS31.02

Cleaning processes for aluminium and aluminium alloys

Viking

VPS31.07

Cleaning and stripping of painted surfaces

Viking

VPS33.02

Removal of metallic coatings

Viking

SPS-107250

Stripping of coatings

Spirit

SPS-107480

Abrasive cleaning, deburring, and finishing

Spirit

SPS-107650

Cleaning and deoxidizing of aluminium alloys

Spirit

SS8787

Stripping of organic materials by plastic media blast method

Sikorsky

TPS06

Surface preparation

TTF-Aircraft

VPS31.02

Cleaning processes for aluminium and aluminium alloys

Viking

VPS31.07

Cleaning and stripping of painted surfaces

Viking

VPS33.02

Removal of metallic coatings

Viking

Contact us to discuss how we can help you meet any of the specifications above