Tag Archives: Handheld Plasma

5月 16 2015

Surfx Atmospheric Plasma for Aircraft Repair

Handheld Plasma 

The navy uses Surfx Atmospheric Innovation

In aerospace manufacturing and repair, a handheld plasma is the right tool for the job. Shown in the picture below is Jakob Grant at the Navy repair depot, San Diego, California, using the Surfx® handheld plasma source to remove hydraulic fluid from the wing panel of an F/A-18 Hornet (Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Almanac, 7 1 (2013)). The nitrogen plasma cleans the surface of the composite removing contaminants that reduce bond durability. According to Jakob, “the (Surfx) system allows us to eliminate the use of HAZMAT chemicals, while at the same time cleaning the part ten times faster.” “We can remove fluid in nine or ten minutes instead of putting the part in an air circulating oven for one or two hours.”

The Surfx atmospheric plasma is unique for this application. It weighs less than 2 lbs (1 kg), and is easy for the operator to translate over the part. Rollers on the device keep the plasma beam at the proper standoff distance as it is swept back and forth over the surface. The device is supplied with RF power at low voltages, <200 V, and at power levels between 100 and 200 W. The housing is securely grounded so there is minimal risk of electric shock. In addition, the gases used, nitrogen with either argon or helium, do not produce any noxious fumes. Approval by the EH&S department to use the plasma system in the repair depot was easily obtained.