Precision automated coatings expertise for the aerospace industry

Oxford-based specialist Intertronics has contributed to a high-precision, bespoke Automated Masking system for a customer in the aerospace sector

To assist with the development of a bespoke Automated Masking System for a leading UK aerospace company, automation solutions provider Astech Projects turned to adhesives and coatings specialist Intertronics. As part of the project, Intertronics supplied Dymax 717-R SpeedMask resin alongside a preeflow® eco-PEN450 dispensing system. 

Astech Projects, part of the Schauenburg International group of companies, is a supplier of robotics and automation solutions to many advanced manufacturing and regulated industries including pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer healthcare, chemical, aerospace and automotive. The company builds systems from concept to completion on a custom basis, turning its hand to any application not currently available in the market.

Built to order

“We were tasked with building a bespoke Automated Masking System to mask complex areas of aircraft components and avoid precious metal coverage during the manufacturing process,” explains Craig Hamilton of Astech Projects. “The system was required to have the capability to mask 14 component variants whilst offering the functionality to add additional variants in the future. While masking and coating is a common application, automating it is not,” he continued. “Astech aimed to increase throughput, accuracy and masking quality by building a bespoke automated system which benefited from the expertise of adhesive and coating specialists Intertronics.”

A great match

Intertronics had already established that the Dymax 717-R SpeedMask product would effectively protect the precious metal during the manufacturing process and was therefore an appropriate choice.

“Once the masking resin had been selected, Intertronics worked with Astech to establish the success of the preeflow® eco-PEN450 as a dispensing mechanism,” explained Matthew Baseley of Intertronics. “The system was chosen because of its high accuracy — it gives a value greater than ±1% for 99% per cent of the time. The system also has no fluctuation in the volume of resin dispensed with any change in viscosity.  By working with our customer we established that this was an appropriate dispensing technique for the application”.

Beasley also points out that in order to ensure that the curing process could be fully automated with a high throughput, Intertronics also supplied the appropriate curing equipment including high-intensity UV lamps to enable the resin to be cured quickly, in the range of 20 to 30 seconds.

Building a solution

Intertronics made its dispensing and curing equipment available to Astech for use at its Cheshire facility, thus enabling the company to complete two further proof of concepts projects prior to finalising the design for the automated system. To support Astech, Paul Whitehead and Matthew Baseley from Intertronics visited the facility and once the solution was tested and proven to be successful, Astech purchased the required coating, curing and dispensing equipment from Intertronics. 

The fully automated system incorporates a 3-axis cartesian robot and two 6-axis robots working synchronously according to one robot programme. It also includes a high-definition vision system, masking dispensing system and UV curing station. On a batch-by-batch basis, the system can correctly identify and orientate 14 types of part against the preeflow® eco-PEN450, which accurately dispenses the Dymax 717-R SpeedMask product. The part is then taken to a curing chamber, where it is illuminated with high intensity UV. Once the process is complete, the component is returned to its original input location. The process repeats itself until the entire batch of components has been processed. 

Intertronics continues to supply the customer with Dymax 717-R SpeedMask in 15-kilogram pails.

An automated process

“The main drivers behind the project were to accurately and repeatably mask the component,” said Baseley. “The final result dispenses to an accuracy of 100 microns, a great achievement. Astech Projects’ bespoke system offers its client a significant labour saving and increases throughput with the client now channelling 60 per cent of its components through the system.”

“There is great potential in the market for Astech to build automated systems for masking and coating applications,” explained Hamilton. “For example, medical devices, electronics and aerospace industries regularly use a masking process. We are now looking at other applications with the same client and its parent company, as well as with Intertronics.

“Intertronics is an extremely knowledgeable company, providing Astech with vital coatings expertise. They were great partners for this project and we look forward to working together with Intertronics again in the future,” concluded Hamilton.

If you’re a machine builder or systems integrator seeking adhesives expertise to complement your next project, get in touch with Intertronics on 01865 842842 or visit them here. 

Fully automated system is saving considerable sums for the end user
Fully automated system is saving considerable sums for the end user

Intertronics

Station Field Industrial Estate
Banbury Road
Kidlington
OX5 1JD
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1865 842842

info@intertronics.co.uk

www.intertronics.co.uk

More news
8 hours ago
Getting current on electrically conductive adhesives
Electrically conductive adhesives are now commonplace and have contributed immensely to the micro design of everyday consumer electronic devices. iPads, mobile phones, medical devices, flexible PCB’s, wearable conductive clothing, RFID tagging and RFI shielding are just some common applications with which we are all familiar. In this article, Simon Dearing, Managing Director of Eurobond Adhesives, reveals more about the technology and how to use and maximise it
14 hours ago
Tapes manufacturer bonds with neighbour
Milton Keynes based bonding experts Lohmann Technologies has responded to an unusual request from the business next door
1 day ago
A view on liquid vs compression gaskets
We all know that for a gasket to do its job effectively, it is essential that the seal it creates remains intact over a long period of time. The gasket must also be resistant to fluids and/or gases and be able to withstand the operating temperatures and pressures to which it is subjected. For many applications, these qualities are best achieved with adhesive gasketing products in preference to pre-cut, compression gaskets  says Henkel Loctite.
5 days ago
Inspiring materials are hot topic for new podcast
Creation of innovative materials and their applications sit at heart of podcast discussions
6 days ago
A point well made on syringe needle bonding
Medical syringe needles are produced in massive quantities, and to ensure an efficient production process, rapid and reliable needle bonding is essential. Eurobond Adhesives says it has just the product to inject some practicality and performance into the process
1 week ago
EMKA cabinet info updated
The EMKA blog has been updated with the latest on cabinet assembly
1 week ago
Modular aluminium plinth elevates professional photography to new level
An Aldershot-based professional photographer and visual engineer is using an industrial robot fitted with a camera to produce perfect studio pictures. The equipment is mounted onto a bespoke mobile pedestal made with standard aluminium sections and features modular components supplied by FATH
1 week ago
New dosing and mixing system for liquid silicone rubber
Just introduced by Eurobond Adhesives is the all-new LSR eTwin Connect, a new generation dosing and mixing system for liquid silicone rubber. It is manufactured in Germany by Wagner Reinhardt-Technik, for whom Eurobond is UK Distributor
1 week ago
Video shows hand held clinching advantages
This video from BTM Automation Products shows one of its hand-held clinching tools in action. BTM says that its Tog-L-Loc® and other related clinching tools join sheet metal quickly, quietly and cleanly without the expense of welding or the use of additional fasteners: the process simply clinches the parent material
1 week ago
Typhoon brings bolt tightening wind of change
Boltight's Typhoon range of bolt tensioners from Nord-Lock are said to offer a high-load, low profile solution for space-restricted applications demanding high and accurate preloads, such as wind turbines