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‘Hot’ new technology prepares for incoming workload

A new high velocity oxygen fuel spray system is scheduled to be operational in 2014. ( U. S. Air Force photo by Misuzu Allen/Released)

A new high velocity oxygen fuel spray system is scheduled to be operational in 2014. ( U. S. Air Force photo by Misuzu Allen/Released)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- Robins will gain a second High Velocity Oxygen Fuel spray system as part of 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron production operations.

The move is in anticipation of incoming workload, as well as demand for HVOF's versatile coating technology.

While the new HVOF sprayer stands ready in a second booth in Bldg. 142, there is still much work to be done, including programming, ordering materials and getting computers ready in a nearby control room by January.

A second smaller and older HVOF system has been heavily used in the plating shop's nearby booth. The technology functions much like a robot, which when combined with hot combustion gases, disperses a powerful flame that coats various aircraft assets. When up and running, it looks similar to a blow torch.

"There's about a 9-inch flame that comes out of the end of it, spraying tungsten carbide cobalt, a powder that coats an aircraft part," explained Courtney McNeill, a mechanical engineer with the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Support Squadron.

The sprayer's flame is intense at 1,500 degrees. Powder is shot from within the flame and is liquefied as it coats or sticks to a part. Its flow rate is 45 grams per minute, which is fast, she added.

The new HVOF is a welcome addition to the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.

"If we have the capability to do HVOF, then we are matching the other air logistics complexes," said McNeill. "We want to be able to supply parts to any aircraft, and to be able to handle anything that comes through our doors."

A capability demonstration on the new spray system is scheduled for later this fall.