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MCDONNELL DOUGLAS INTRODUCES AN ENVIRONMENTALLY COMPLIANT PAINT-STRIPPING PROCESS

 ST. LOUIS, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Highly toxic, environment- damaging chemical paint strippers used in the aircraft industry could be destined for quick extinction with McDonnell Douglas' new Flashjet coatings removal process.
 Flashjet reduces toxic waste by 99 percent yet is 100 percent effective when removing paint from metal, composite and aluminum surfaces on military and commercial aircraft. It is safe for the operator and the aircraft, inexpensive to operate, and works better and faster than current paint-stripping methods.
 Flashjet works by using pulsed light energy created by a xenon flash lamp to soften the paint to be removed. Simultaneously, a particle stream of dry ice pellets cools the surface and sweeps away the softened paint, which is then collected in a capture system containing disposable filters.
 Flashjet eliminates virtually all negative effects to the environment caused by traditional chemical paint-stripping methods. For example, stripping a narrow body aircraft with 8,000 square feet of painted surface using traditional methods releases approximately 10,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds created by methylene chloride and generates approximately 70,000 gallons of contaminated rinse water.
 As 1995 draws nearer, Flashjet's environmental benefits will become increasingly more important to commercial and military aircraft manufacturers. At that time, a provision to the U.S. Clean Air Act takes effect that will further reduce the amount of toxins releasable into the air and prohibit the use of methylene chloride.
 In addition to its environmental benefits, Flashjet brings significant cost savings to its users through reduced labor costs, aircraft downtime and operating costs.
 All existing methods of paint-stripping require three steps: pre-stripping preparation, which includes washing and masking the aircraft; the stripping process; and post-stripping, which includes rinsing the aircraft after paint removal. Using Flashjet, the first and third steps are eliminated.
 Therefore, on the same narrow-body aircraft, the result would be reduced labor costs of 70 maintenance man-hours using Flashjet vs. 600 using traditional methods. In addition, through-put hours using Flashjet would be 14, as opposed to 48. Aircraft downtime and labor costs would be minimized as other maintenance can be performed on the aircraft while Flashjet is being operated.
 Flashjet's benefits to the aircraft include the lack of stress or damage on the aircraft's surface, which leads to reduced repair costs and increased versatility and unlike chemical strippers, Flashjet can be used on composites.
 Another major saving is reduced hazardous waste disposal costs. Hazardous waste disposal costs can run as high as $20,000 using chemical strippers, or as low as $250 using Flashjet. With all factors considered, Flashjet's cost of paint removal per square foot is $3 to $4, while chemical stripping costs approximately $12 per square foot.
 Flashjet was developed for the U.S. Air Force to remove paint from aircraft parts on aircraft operating in the field. Its environmentally friendly characteristics made it an even better product to remove paint from an entire aircraft -- military or commercial.
 The Air Force is currently certifying the process by testing it on aircraft parts, and it plans to use Flashjet after certification on F-15 composite structures. The U.S. Navy also is interested in Flashjet; both services expect to complete certification testing early this summer.
 Flashjet has already been certified for use in the commercial sector. Douglas Aircraft Co. was the first aircraft manufacturer to certify it and the Federal Aviation Administration has approved Douglas' certification.
 Flashjet was developed by McDonnell Douglas using technologies developed by Maxwell Laboratories Inc. and Cold Jet Inc. Maxwell Laboratories, which developed and manufactures the pulsed-light system at the heart of the Flashjet process, is an advanced technical services company and a leading developer and manufacturer of high- energy pulsed-power technology and systems for commercial and defense applications. Cold Jet Inc. is the world leader in the development of dry ice particle blasting technologies, and engineered and manufactures the dry ice pellet system that is central to the Flashjet process. McDonnell Douglas developed the paint recapture system and a sensor control system option that automates the process, and was responsible for the integration of all the systems.
 -0- 4/21/93
 /CONTACT: Janet Lockwood of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 314-232-1520/


CO: McDonnell Douglas ST: Missouri IN: ENV SU:

KJ -- LA031 -- 8849 04/21/93 14:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 21, 1993
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